Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity1 Cor. 16:13, 14
Herein lies the key to victorious and fruitful service. What was needful for the Corinthians to serve the Lord aright is also required of us. We should give careful heed to these brief, yet blessed, commands.
‘Watch ye”–Be circumspect in your walk and watchful of whatever would cause offense. The Corinthians were admonished to be on the alert lest the spiritual error which had so plagued them in the past should once again gain the upper hand. Believers who have come to grips with the devastating effect of sin, as was brought to the attention of the Corinthians in this Epistle, must be especially careful of falling prey to further deception. A wariness of sin is an essential fruit of repentance (2 Cor. 7:11). The philosophy of our day is to overlook error; God says to watch out for it.
“Stand fast in the faith”–Do not consider doctrine an open matter of consideration. What is clearly stated in Scripture is to be believed and obeyed, not debated or circumvented. “Hold fast the form of sound words… keep [sound doctrine] by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (2 Tim. 1:13,14). This Spirit-wrought conviction is essential-mere holy resolve won’t do. We also must withstand the enticement to pursue the course of least resistance where a higher priority is given to supposed “love,” “unity” and “tolerance” than to earnestly contending for the Faith.
“Quit you like men”–They had to face the scorn of the learned and the wrath of the devil’s “angels of light” who sought to draw away disciples after themselves. It takes courage from on High to stand against the proud religionist and the self-righteous heretic, yet that was exactly what was needed then and what is required now! We must not fear the faces of men, but fear instead compromise of Truth. We must be alive unto righteousness!
“Be strong”–Not only courage, but also strength was needed to withstand those who opposed the Truth. God has given us the Standard of His eternal, inerrant Word to rally around, and He has also promised the strength to channel that courage into correct and forceful action against Satan’s devices. In our strength we will certainly fail, but with God’s mighty power, a stalwart defense of the Faith can and shall be unflinchingly held.
“Let all your things be done with charity”–God’s love at work in the heart will bring to pass the proper performance of all the things spoken of here. The indwelling Spirit will reveal a spirit of compassion and integrity in whatever the believer does for his Lord and for others. Let’s be careful that our love does not cool in the midst of the battle. It happened to the Ephesians (Rev. 2:1-5); it can certainly happen to us. — Dennis W. Costella (1948-2011)