Gospel Life Today

“If you DECLARE the gospel and don’t LIVE IT – you will confuse people.
If you LIVE the gospel and don’t DECLARE IT – you will condemn people.”
— Steve Wilson

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Steadfastness

Steadfast…one of my favorite words. It means to be fast fixed, firm, resolute, constant or immovable…not fickle or wavering. Doesn’t that describe the kind of people we want to have around, especially when life gets stormy?

Our English word steadfast appears seven times in the New Testament and is usually connected with how or why we are to be that way, like Paul’s exhortation to the church at Corinth…

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor 15:58)

Truth is that way…steadfast, immovable. It never changes. It is solid like a rock…just like the Author of truth…the Solid Rock who never changes…

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13:8)

Christians are called to be this way…steadfast. It means we know who we are and whose we are. It means constantly living in the identity we have in Christ, never forgetting….

“…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Pet 1:3)

This includes the promises He has given us…

“For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2 Pet 1:4)

And because of this Peter goes on to say we need to be diligent about our faith…

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.” (2 Pet 1:5–7)

If we are faithful to do this we will not be “useless or unfruitful.” On the other hand if we are not diligent it shows we are “blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.” (2 Pet 1:9)

“Having forgotten…” It could be said this way. He’s forgotten his identity. One of my favorite authors, Paul Tripp, calls this “identity amnesia” which is always followed by “identity replacement.” What is this “identity replacement?” It means when my identity is no longer in Christ, I will try to find it in other things…that is to say…things that are not steadfast.

That’s the world we live in…fickle and wavering…operating on top of sand that is constantly shifting, all the while oblivious to the fact that their “house” could collapse at any time.

Now here is an interesting thing…

We live and work right beside these “unbelieving sand dwellers” every day. They live like there is no God; they ignore or even mock the One True Faith. So what do they do when their “house” is crumbling and being swept away by the torrential floods of trial and calamity? They frantically start grasping for the first thing that’s not moving…something steadfast…like maybe a Christian. And here is the privilege we have if we are being faithful to live the gospel. It could very well be one of us who they “grab onto” as they desperately search for answers.

Peter exhorts us to always be ready to declare the gospel

“…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (1 Pet 3:15)

This means we always need to have a heart like the Psalm 1 man whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)

And this is the result…

“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psa 1:3)

That sounds like someone who is steadfast! And then one last note on this word…

As Peter was writing the last of what God would inspired him to write, he was warning about the last days and how we should be ready and watching…

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless…” (2 Pet 3:14)

And then, knowing there would be many who are unstable, distorters of the truth he gives this last warning and exhortation…

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Pet 3:17–18)

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