THE GOSPEL MESSAGE: The Gospel Held Fast


The theme of the previous main point "The Gospel Received" was salvation by faith. As we consider the third part of Pauls statement in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 "if you hold fast the word which I preached to you" more should be said about the nature and importance of holding fast the gospel with genuine faith.


Care must be taken not to mistake the mere acknowledgment of certain facts of history with genuine saving faith. A person may say they agree with the statement "Jesus is the Son of God who died for the sins of the world and who now reigns as Lord of all" and yet they have never put their trust in Jesus as their Savior or never repented of sin receiving Jesus by faith as their Lord.

James writes that the person with this type of "faith" will not be saved. Genuine faith according to James is demonstrated by some type of outward response on the part of the person exercising this faith which results in obedience to God and good works.

(James 2:14-20; 26) What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? {15} If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, {16} and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? {17} Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. {18} But someone may well say, "You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." {19} You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. {20} But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? ... {26} For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

If a person claims to put their faith in Jesus receiving Him as their Lord and Savior and then continues to practice sin can this type of faith save them? The words of the Lord Jesus as recorded by Matthew will suffice to answer the question:

(Matthew 7:21-23) "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. {22} "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' {23} "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

So then while salvation comes through faith and not works it is important to recognize that genuine faith is characterized by good works and obedience to God. Consider the words of the apostle Paul once again as he explains salvation by grace through faith and take note of the statement he makes about being saved unto good works.

(Ephesians 2:8-10) For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; {9} not as a result of works, that no one should boast. {10} For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


Another subtle form of unbelief much like the "faith" that has no works is the "faith" that has no sense of personal assurance or conviction. While the person may once again give mental accent to the facts there is no claiming of the reality of the object of faith for self and therefore no sense of assurance. At the heart of the issue it seems is the inability or unwillingness to trust in God and the promises found in His word. Consider these scripture which describe faith:

{1} Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. {2} For by it the men of old gained approval. (Hebrews 11:1-2)

{6}And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

According to these two verses faith has the capacity to believe with a measure of assurance and conviction in God's ability and willingness to reward the one seeking Him even when there is no tangible evidence to verify the result other than the promise of God in His word. Therefore as applied to one's salvation the one seeking forgiveness must come to God believing He will forgive their sins when they trust in Jesus as their savior. There is first a conviction that God exits and second an assurance that He will do as He promised in His word.

This is not to say that our faith must be perfect and that we will never doubt or waver. However as doubts arise they must be overcome by renewed faith in the promises of God knowing that they are made by the one who is faithful and trustworthy.

(Hebrews 10:23) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

Every person of faith at one time or another finds himself asking God to help bolster their faith along with this person who was seeking Jesus help in this regard:

(Mark 9:24) Immediately the boy's father cried out and began saying, "I do believe; help my unbelief."