THE GOSPEL MESSAGE: The Gospel Held Fast


Genuine faith has the capacity to continue to trust in God and the promises of His word not just for a short period of time but for the duration of ones life through all the trials and tribulations that this life will bring. Jesus spoke of certain people who initially received the Gospel message with gladness but in time wavered to the point of abandoning their new faith.

(Matthew 13:3-9) And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; {4} and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. {5} "And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. {6} "But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. {7} "And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. {8} "And others fell on the good soil, and yielded^ a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. {9} "He who has ears, let him hear."

(Matthew 13:18-23) "Hear then the parable of the sower. {19} "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. {20} "And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; {21} yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. {22} "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. {23} "And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."

In this parable there is a man who's "faith" is only temporary (vs 20-21) and who after receiving the gospel message with joy in time wavers and falls away. It is important then for a person to realize his faith will be tested and to be ready for that time not allowing doubts or any other hindrance to derail his faith. James encourages believers to consider such tests a joy as they can ultimately be the means of producing much needed endurance.

(James 1:2-4) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, {3} knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. {4} And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The apostle Peter also encourages his readers to realize that the proof of genuine faith which becomes evident only in the midst of trial and test is to be considered more precious than gold.

(1 Peter 1:6-7) In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, {7} that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

The author of the book of Hebrews also recognizes how essential endurance in genuine faith is and instructs his readers in this way:

(Hebrews 3:13-14) But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. {14} For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end;

(Hebrews 10:36-39) For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. {37} FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. {38} BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. {39} But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.