THE GOSPEL MESSAGE: The Gospel Held Fast


The apostle Paul when speaking of his calling by God to preach the gospel said, "...we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles" (Romans 1:5) Paul recognized that the end result of true faith is a commitment to obedience to God that endures the test of time. Just as the scripture warns of a shallow and temporary faith it also warns of a shallow and temporary commitment to obedience to God. Those who hold fast the word preached to them continue in obedience to God as a result of their faith.

Consider the teaching of scripture in this regard. Peter explains that God had chosen them in order that they might obey Jesus Christ.

(1 Peter 1:1-2) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen {2} according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.

Paul exhorts his people to continue to work out their salvation by consistent obedience to God:

(Philippians 2:12) So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

The writer of Hebrews warns his readers of the very real possibility of falling short of God's blessing through unbelief and disobedience:

(Hebrews 4:1-2; 6; 11) Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. {2} For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. .....{6} Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, .....{11} Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.

Finally Peter describes certain people who had made some initial commitment to obedience to God which resulted in some degree of measurable change in their lives. However these same people allowed themselves to become entangled in sin once again. Instead of repenting of this sin they were overcome and returned once again to live in persistent and willful sin, turning away from a life of obedience to God.

(2 Peter 2:20-22) For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. {21} For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. {22} It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."

It becomes evident then that the one who holds fast to the gospel message is also the one who perseveres in obedience to God as a result of genuine saving faith.