The apostle Paul wrote, “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” (1Co 15:1-2, NIV).
He said, “By this gospel you are saved.” (1 Cor 15:2a). So we are saved by the gospel, but look at the condition for being saved, which he states in the same verse. The condition is, “If you hold firmly to the Word I preached to you,” or as the NASB states, “If you hold fast the word which I preached to you.” Paul also wrote to Titus saying, “Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching...” (Tit 1:9a). You see, we must hold on to the Word. It’s the basic condition for being saved by the gospel. Someone will say that sounds like a gospel of works. But that is the true gospel, which Paul preached. Those are God’s Words, not mine.
The Lord Jesus gave a parable about the seed scattered on four types of soil. The seed represented the Word of God. Only the seed that fell on one of the four soils ended up bearing fruit. These are the ones who retain the Word. He said, "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the Word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." (Luk 8:15).
All three of the other types of soil received the same seed, the same Word of God, but failed to bear fruit. One type will not believe the Word and be saved, because the devil comes and takes the Word out of their hearts. The second type hears the Word and receives it with joy, but since they have no firm root; they believe for a while, and fall away in time of temptation. The third type are the ones who have heard the Word, but as they go on their way, they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life. Those worries, riches, and pleasures are like thorns that choke a plant, so these people bring no fruit to maturity. The fourth type are the ones with a good and honest heart, who hold fast the Word that they have heard, and bear fruit with perseverance; these are the only ones who are saved. Therefore, in order to ultimately be saved, we must hold fast the Word, and by continuance in it, bear fruit.
But aren’t we saved by faith alone and not by works? Yes, we are indeed. Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8). Salvation and eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord are a gift of God (Rom 6:23). No man can know the Father unless Christ reveals the Father to him (John 17:25-26). Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father, except through Him (Jn 14:6). No man can come to Christ unless the Father draws him (Jn 6:44), and "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.” (Joh 3:27).
Therefore, God gives each of us, whom He draws to Christ, a measure of faith. Paul said, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Rom 12:3). That verse also says that He gives us each grace, too. James also wrote about the gift of grace, saying, “But He gives a greater grace.” (Jas 4:6a). Both he and Peter said, “He gives grace to the humble” (Jas 4:6b; 1 Pe 5:5b; cf., Pr 3:34). So we are given both the grace and the faith.
Likewise, He has given us a freewill (Joh 7:17; Jam 1:13-16; 1 Co 7:37), so we can decide what to do with the measure of grace and faith we've been given. That “free will” thing is where we run into problems. It is possible to miss the grace of God (Heb 12:15), to resist it (Ac 7:51), to receive it in vain (2 Co 6:1), to abuse it, and to use it as a license to sin (Jude 1:4; Rom 6:1). It is also possible to shipwreck your faith (1 Tim 1:19), throw away your confidence (He 10:35); and abandon your faith (1 Tim 6:21) as well as to believe in vain (1 Cor 15:2). If we do not hold fast to the Word, then according to Paul, we have believed in vain. Moreover, we cannot diminish the fact that the devil hates us and is seeking whom he may devour (1 Pe 5:8). There is a very real spiritual war being waged against us (Eph 6:12).
This is why remaining obedient, alert, sober, watchful, vigilant, and prayerful, are so important (1 Pe 5:8; Lk 21:36). We must remain in His love (Jn 15:10), walk in the Light (1 Jn 1:7), remain on the straight and narrow path (Mt 7:13-14), walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16), walk in love (Eph 5:2), walk in the Truth (3 Jn 1:4), abide in Christ (Jn 15:4), pray without ceasing (1 The 5:17), practice our righteousness (Mt 6:1), run the race with perseverance (He 12:1), keep the faith (2 Tim 4:7), hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (Heb 10:23), hold fast the faithful Word (Tit 1:9), and by continuance in it bear fruit (Lk 8:15). We must guard the trust (1 Tim 6:20), fight the good fight (2 Tim 4:7), work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12), deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23). We must prove faithful with the trust we have been given (Mt 25:21; 1 Cor 4:2), stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24), encourage one another (He 10:24), keep ourselves from being polluted by the world (Jam 1:27), pursue holiness (Heb 12:14), strive to enter the kingdom of God (Lk 13:24) and endure to the end (Mt 10:22; 24:13; Mk 13:13). He who endures to the end shall be saved, so hold on to the faithful Word!
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted.
Author's note: If you enjoyed this article, I also recommend Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Pleasing the Lord, Living a Life Worthy of the Lord, Drifting Away, The Straight and Narrow Path, Ask for the Ancient Paths, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, Practicing Your Righteousness, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Doing What is Right, Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?, Faith Works!, The Judgment Seat of Christ, The Obedience of Faith, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, Remember the Eternal Law of God, Purge the Evil from Among You, James Agboola Revelation of Heaven and Hell, The Role of the Trinity in Drawing People to God, Election and Predestination, Keeping Power of God, and The Righteous Will Shine Forth as the Sun. Other related articles are available on the Home page. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.