“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:1–2

Newton’s third law of motion is “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” But experience seems to prove that the longer you “stay the course” the more difficult the going is because opposition seems to build up against you with growing force, not equal force. In the Christian realm, opposition can only be countered with growing faith.

1 Corinthians 15 is often called the Resurrection Chapter. It is a wonderfully uplifting chapter, filled with hope, looking forward to the rapture of the Church and the glorification of our bodies. Of course, there is no hope for resurrection if there is no truth in the Gospel. Without the factual events of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection there is no possibility that any man will ever live again.

Jesus’ saving work is the core of Gospel truth. Paul begins the chapter by challenging the Corinthian converts to hold firmly to the Gospel. Verses 3ff detail the miraculous event of Jesus resurrection: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.”

There, in a nutshell, is the content of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ! He died as my substitute, paying God’s just penalty against my sin. He was buried, and He rose again on the third day! Personal appropriation of this saving work of Christ is what makes Jesus Christ your personal Savior. There is no other savior to rescue you from eternal death in Hell. In Him we live, and move, and have our being!

This is the Gospel that Paul believed, it is the Gospel he preached to the Corinthians, the Gospel which they received, the Gospel in which they stand, and it is the Gospel by which they were saved. This same Gospel truth is what has been preached throughout the Church age and by faith it has been firmly planted in the heart of every believer. Romans 5:10 reads, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Being saved is the greatest blessing to be found in the world this side of eternity!

The telltale key to an individual’s salvation is that if he is truly born again he will “stay the course” of the Christian life. The doctrinal name for this truth is the “Perseverance of the Saints.” Once a man believes, he continues to believe in the Gospel and his life continues to act on that belief by obeying God’s Word. In verse 2 Paul states it this way: “…by which also you are saved if you hold fast that word which I preached to you.” This is not being saved by works, it is showing you are saved through your works.

“Hold fast” translates one Greek word, the word katecho. It is a combination of the word kata (down) and echo (hold). It is similar to our expression “hold down a job.” When you are hired there are certain expectations if you want to continue to be employed. By fulfilling those expectations you hold down your job.

The word appears in several contexts in the Bible. One that is quite illuminating is found in Acts 27:40 concerning Paul’s shipwreck at Malta: “And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.” Hold firm, or staying the course, is what the sailors did in the teeth of the storm and the tempestuous sea. They made for the shore, fighting the wind, the current, the rudder and everything that sought to drive them off course. With an eye on the shore and their muscles straining against the forces of nature, they gave it their all to “drive” the ship to the shore. In the same way, the believer is to drive his life home to glory!

Another context for our word appears in Luke 14:8f where our Lord is instructing on humility: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take [hold down] the lowest place.” Here the word means to possess, hold as your property, retain.

In Romans 1:18 the word appears with the meaning of possess, arrest, bind, detain, and restrain. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress [repress] the truth in unrighteousness.” This meaning of restraining is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:6f where the Holy Spirit exerts His influence during the Church age to restrain evil, and the evil one who is to come.

With a tenacity that is Spirit-engendered you are to hold fast to your Christian course in light of the Gospel (1 Thessalonians 5:21; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 10:23). Seize on the truth tirelessly, possess it, defend it, and live it all the way to glory! Trust and obey.