Steadfastness is defined as: “fast in place, firmly established, fixed, firm, unchanging; not fickle or wavering.” With these definitions the Bible agrees. Paul in writing to the church at Corinth admonished the brethren: ”
. . . be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). To the Galatians he said, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5: 1). “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).
A study of each epistle of the New Testament will clearly reveal to us that the problem of lack of steadfastness has plagued the church ever since it was established. It is a major problem today in far too many places as we seek to restore New Testament Christianity.
In Jude 3 the writer exhorts: ” . . . earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Members of the church are saints (Phil. 1:1). Christ makes every Christian a trustee of the truth, a custodian of the faith. He who would not contend for the faith or be steadfast in contending for the faith is an untrustworthy member of the church. Paul told Timothy to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and has professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:12). The Lord did not tell us to fight, then fail to equip us for the great battle. To the Ephesians, Paul, the battle weary soldier of Jesus Christ, wrote, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord “put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. We are to have our loins girt about with truth, and have on the breastplate of righteousness, have our “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” We are to take the “shield of faith,” put on the “helmet of salvation,” then take “the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God,” and fight against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:10-17).
To the Corinthians the apostle said: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). Here is the imagery of battle where opposing armies are gathered for battle, the enemies are camouflaged and the commander does not know from what quarter the attack will come, so he calls out to his troops “watch” be on the look-out for the enemies of the Truth. As both armies form in lines of attack the commander exhorts his men to “stand fast in the faith!’ a call for courage. When the assault has begun and they are locked in a fight to the death, the leader calls to his men “be brave” be valorous, act like men and perform like soldiers worthy of your rank, be worthy of the name. As the battle rages and the lines bend from the onslaught of the opposing army the commander cries out again to exhort his men to “be strong” hold the line, do not waver! These things should thrill us and cause us to resolve to stand steadfast for the Truth.
James in writing to Christians who were undergoing persecutions because of their faith, said these trials were the means of developing patience or steadfastness. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations (trials); knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience (steadfastness). But let patience (steadfastness) have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Jam 1:2-4). Peter, writing to Christians admonishes that we are to add patience or steadfastness as one of the Christian graces (2 Pet. 1:6). Instead of letting persecutions that we have to undergo in our stand for the truth of the gospel and the purity of the church cause us to become weary and weak, let us use these trials to develop steadfastness in the Faith. Let us resolve to be steadfast to the truth and in so doing we shall receive a crown of life (Rev. 2:10), which is reserved in heaven for us (1 Pet. 1:4). “BE STEADFAST!”