"Be Ye Steadfast"
When the apostle Paul wrote to the saints in Corinth, he said, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Paul exhorted the saints to stand firm (steadfast) and to be unmovable. The word “steadfast” is from the Greek word hedraios. According to Strong, it means “sedentary, i.e., (by impl.) immovable: settled, steadfast.” Every saint, from the first to the twenty-first century, needs to heed this exhortation. But, what should be the nature of a Christian’s standing or steadfastness? Please consider the following:
Christians must stand fast in the faith! Paul wrote, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). In order to “stand fast,” one must “stand,” or be stationary and firmly fixed in the proper location. The location of our stand (abode) is of utmost importance; we must stand in THE FAITH, God’s revealed truth. John taught that we are to abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11). Paul wrote, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (1 Cor. 15:1-2).
Many are deceived and, when faced with trial and persecutions, they do not firmly stand. Thus, evil men, the devil, and his forces toss them “to and fro.” Paul gives the remedy to this problem, that being– edification in truth–when he wrote, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14).
Paul also said, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:13). Paul emphasized the necessity of putting on “the whole armor of God” in order to stand against the devil and his wiles.
Christians must stand fast in the liberty of Christ! Paul exhorted the Galatians to, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1). In this passage, Paul referred specifically to the fact that the Galatians were going back to the Old Law’s circumcision ordinance.
Acts 15 records the trouble caused by Judaizing teachers who said, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). As a result, there was much contention and disputing; nevertheless, Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas came to Antioch and set the matter straight. The text says, “And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment” (Acts 15:23, 24).
In like manner, some brethren who were once free from sin, had returned to sin, or as Paul put it, they had “fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). They were no longer standing fast in the gospel, that which keeps one free from sin. They believed false teachers!
Further, Peter spoke of those who were “again entangled” when he wrote, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (2 Pet. 2:20).
Christians must stand fast in one spirit, and be of one mind! Paul wrote, “Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). For many brethren, strife and compromise are the order. This is the product of disregard for the truth of the gospel.
The apostles Paul and Peter commanded brethren to be of “one mind” or the “same mind” (Rom. 12:16; 15:6; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 2:2; 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:8; 4:1).
On the other hand, Paul told first-century brethren NOT to fellowship sin and error (1 Cor. 10:20, 21; 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:11). Therefore, “unity in diversity” or “agreeing to disagree” to keep “peace,” which many brethren teach and practice, is the product of a weak faith and compromising spirit, and souls will be lost! Those involved in hateful strife and compromising truth are NOT standing fast with one mind and one spirit!
Christians must stand fast in the traditions of the gospel! Paul wrote, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15) “Traditions” refer to the doctrine or precepts received from Christ’s inspired apostles, as opposed to men’s traditions.
Of traditions or commandments of men, Jesus said, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:7-9).
In 1 Timothy 1:9-10, Paul warned Timothy of those who would practice things contrary to “sound doctrine.” Paul said that “sound doctrine” was “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust” (vs. 11).
Paul, in writing to Timothy and Titus mentioned “sound doctrine,” which was to be spoken and which some would reject (2 Tim. 4:3; Tit. 1:9; 2:1). Paul told Titus, “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine, showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Tit. 2:7, 8). Therefore, when one remains in the gospel’s “traditions,” he is living by the “pattern” of truth, according to “sound words” or “sound doctrine.”
Friend, are you standing according to the truth of the gospel? Have you “done all to stand” (Eph. 6:13)? If not, remember the Apostle John’s words– it is spiritually fatal to be on the wrong side of this issue (Rev. 20:12-15). Are you steadfast?