1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
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(58) Therefore.—Because all this is so—because there is a life hereafter—let this life here be worthy of it. You might grow weak and faint-hearted if you could think that all your work for God and truth here might be wasted; but it is not so. It cannot be “in vain if it be “in the Lord.” It is very striking and very expressive of the real spirit of the gospel that a chapter which leads us step by step through the calm process of logic, and through glowing passages of resistless eloquence to the sublimest thoughts of immortality, should at last thus close with words of plain and practical duty. Christianity never separates, in precept or in promise, “the life that now is” and “that which is to come.”

15:51-58 All the saints should not die, but all would be changed. In the gospel, many truths, before hidden in mystery, are made known. Death never shall appear in the regions to which our Lord will bear his risen saints. Therefore let us seek the full assurance of faith and hope, that in the midst of pain, and in the prospect of death, we may think calmly on the horrors of the tomb; assured that our bodies will there sleep, and in the mean time our souls will be present with the Redeemer. Sin gives death all its hurtful power. The sting of death is sin; but Christ, by dying, has taken out this sting; he has made atonement for sin, he has obtained remission of it. The strength of sin is the law. None can answer its demands, endure its curse, or do away his own transgressions. Hence terror and anguish. And hence death is terrible to the unbelieving and the impenitent. Death may seize a believer, but it cannot hold him in its power. How many springs of joy to the saints, and of thanksgiving to God, are opened by the death and resurrection, the sufferings and conquests of the Redeemer! In verse 58, we have an exhortation, that believers should be stedfast, firm in the faith of that gospel which the apostle preached, and they received. Also, to be unmovable in their hope and expectation of this great privilege, of being raised incorruptible and immortal. And to abound in the work of the Lord, always doing the Lord's service, and obeying the Lord's commands. May Christ give us faith, and increase our faith, that we may not only be safe, but joyful and triumphant.Therefore, my beloved brethren - In view of the great and glorious truths which have been revealed to us respecting the resurrection, Paul closes the whole of this important discussion with an exhortation to that firmness in the faith which ought to result from truths so glorious, and from hopes so elevated as these truths are suited to impart. The exhortation is so plain, that it needs little explanation; it so obviously follows from the argument which Paul had pursued, that there is little need to attempt to enforce it.

Be ye steadfast - ἑδραῖοι hedraioi, from ἕδρα hedra. Seated, sedentary (Robinson); perhaps with an allusion to a statue (Bloomfield); or perhaps to wrestling, and to standing one's ground (Wolf). Whatever may be the allusion, the sense is clear. Be firm, strong, confident in the faith, in view of the truth that you will be raised up. Be not shaken or agitated with the strifes, the temptations, and the cares of life. Be fixed in the faith, and let not the power of sin, or the sophistry of pretended philosophy, or the arts of the enemy of the soul seduce you from the faith of the gospel.

Unmovable - Firm, fixed, stable, unmoved. This is probably a stronger expression than the former, though meaning substantially the same thing - that we are to be firm and unshaken in our Christian hopes, and in our faith in the gospel.

Always abounding in the work of the Lord - Always engaged in doing the will of God; in promoting his glory, and advancing his kingdom. The phrase means not only to be engaged in this, but to be engaged diligently, laboriously; excelling in this. The "work of the Lord" here means that which the Lord requires; all the appropriate duties of Christians. Paul exhorts them to practice every Christian virtue, and to do all that they could do to further the gospel among people.

Forasmuch as ye know - Greek "Knowing." You know it by the arguments which have been urged for the truth of the gospel; by your deep conviction that that gospel is true.

Your labour is not in vain - It will be rewarded. It is not as if you were to die and never live again. There will be a resurrection, and you will be suitably recompensed then What you do for the honor of God will not only be attended with an approving conscience, and with happiness here, but will be met with the glorious and eternal rewards of heaven.

In the Lord - This probably means, "Your labor or work in the Lord, that is, in the cause of the Lord, will not be in vain." And the sentiment of the whole verse is, that the hope of the resurrection and of future glory should stimulate us to great and self-denying efforts in honor of Him who has revealed that doctrine, and who purposes graciously to reward us there. Other people are influenced and excited to great efforts by the hope of honor, pleasure, or wealth. Christians should be excited to toil and self-denial by the prospect of immortal glory; and by the assurance that their hopes are not in vain, and will not deceive them.

Thus, closes this chapter of inimitable beauty, and of unequalled power of argumentation. Such is the prospect which is before the Christian. He shall indeed die like other people. But his death is a sleep - a calm, gentle, undisturbed sleep, in the expectation of being again awaked to a brighter Day, 1 Corinthians 15:6. He has the assurance that his Saviour rose, and that his people shall therefore also rise, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. He encounters peril, and privation, and persecution he may be ridiculed and despised; he may be subjected to danger, or doomed to fight with wild beasts, or to contend with people who resemble wild beasts; he may be doomed to the pains and terrors of a martyrdom at the stake, but he has the assurance that all these are of short continuance, and that before him there is a world of eternal glory; 1 Corinthians 15:29-32. He may be poor, unhonored, and apparently without an earthly friend or protector; but his Saviour and Redeemer reigns; 1 Corinthians 15:25.

He may be opposed by wicked people, and his name slandered, and body tortured, and his peace marred, but his enemies shall all be subdued; 1 Corinthians 15:26-27. He will himself die, and sleep in his grave, but he shall live again; 1 Corinthians 15:22-23. He has painful proof that his body is corruptible, but it will be incorruptible; that it is now vile, but it will be glorious; that it is weak, frail, feeble, but it will yet be strong, and no more subject to disease or decay; 1 Corinthians 15:42-43. And he will be brought under the power of death. but death shall be robbed of its honors, and despoiled of its triumph. Its sting from the saint is taken away. and it is changed to a blessing. It is now not the dreaded monster, the king of terrors it is a friend that comes to remove him from a world of toil to a world of rest; from a life of sin to a life of glory. The grave is not to him the gloomy abode, the permanent resting-place of his body; it is a place of rest for a little time; grateful like the bed of down to a wearied frame, where he may lie down and repose after the fatigues of the day, and gently wait for the morning.

He has nothing to fear in death; nothing to fear in the dying pang, the gloom, the chill, the sweat, the paleness, the fixedness of death; nothing to fear in the chilliness, the darkness, the silence, the corruption of the grave. All this is in the way to immortality, and is closely and indissolubly connected with immortality; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57. And in view of all this, we should be patient, faithful, laborious, self-denying; we should engage with zeal in the work of the Lord; we should calmly wait till our change come; 1 Corinthians 15:58. No other system of religion has any such hopes as this; no other system does anything to dispel the gloom, or drive away the horrors of the grave. How foolish is the man who rejects the gospel - the only system which brings life and immortality to light! How foolish to reject the doctrine of the resurrection, and to lie down in the grave without peace, without hope, without any belief that there will be a world of glory; living without God, and dying like the brute.

And yet infidelity seeks and claims its chief triumphs in the attempt to convince poor dying man that he has no solid ground of hope; that the universe is "without a Father and without a God;" that the grave terminates the career of man forever; and that in the grave he sinks away to eternal annihilation. Strange that man should seek such degradation! Strange that all people, conscious that they must die, do not at once greet Christianity as their best friend, and hail the doctrine of the future state, and of the resurrection, as that which is adapted to meet the deeply-felt evils of this world; to fill the desponding mind with peace; and to sustain the soul in the temptations and trials of life, and in the gloom and agony of death!

58. beloved—Sound doctrine kindles Christian love.

steadfast—not turning aside from the faith of the resurrection of yourselves.

unmovable—not turned aside by others (1Co 15:12; Col 1:23).

the work of the Lord—the promotion of Christ's kingdom (Php 2:30).

not in vain—as the deniers of the resurrection would make it (1Co 15:14, 17).

in the Lord—applying to the whole sentence and its several clauses: Ye, as being in the Lord by faith, know that your labor in the Lord (that is, labor according to His will) is not to be without its reward in the Lord (through His merits and according to His gracious appointment).

The apostle concludeth his discourse, proving the resurrection of the body from the dead, founding upon it an exhortation to holiness, which is here called

the work of the Lord, because it is made up of works done by us at the command of Christ, and with direct respect to his glory in obedience to his will. He mindeth them not only to do these things, but to do them

stedfastly, not by fits, but never turning aside from them either one way or another; and unmovably, so as no temptations, either from dangers, or rewards, or false teachers, should shake their faith, as to the principles that lead unto such a holy life, this especially of the resurrection from the dead.

For as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord; because they knew, that through the grace of God, and the merits of Christ, such works as these should not want their reward; for though the work of God be wages to itself, and Christians should not serve God merely for wages, yet it is lawful for them (as for Moses) to have an eye to the recompence of reward; and a greater reward than this of the resurrection of the body to eternal life, and that in a state of immortality and incorruption, in a spiritual and honourable estate, could not be. Therefore my beloved brethren,.... This is the conclusion of the whole, and contains the use the apostle makes of the above doctrine, addressing the saints at Corinth in the most tender and affectionate manner; owning the spiritual relation they stood in to him, and expressing the great love he had for them, which filled him with a concern for them, that they might be both sound in principle, and right in practice, and continue so:

be ye steadfast, unmoveable; in all the doctrines of the Gospel, and particularly in this of the resurrection of the dead, which he had been labouring throughout the whole chapter:

always abounding in the work of the Lord; going on in it, being more and more in the practice of it; either in the work of the ministry, which some of them were in, to which the Lord had called them, and for which he had fitted and qualified them, and in which his glory was greatly concerned, and therefore called his work; or any other work, even all good works, which the Lord commands, requires, calls his people to, and strengthens them to perform: which when they do they may be said to abound, and to be fruitful in every good work: and for their encouragement it is added,

forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord; the labour of such who were in the ministry was not in vain, but was by the Lord made useful for the conversion of sinners, and the edification of saints, who would be their joy, and crown of rejoicing another day; and which must be no small encouragement to labour; and labour in any kind of good work has here its usefulness: it is profitable unto men, and though not meritorious of eternal life, yet the good works of the saints will follow them; Christ will not forget their work and labour of love which they have shown to his name and people, but will take notice of them as fruits of his own grace, and bestow his rewards upon them, though not in a way of debt, but of grace; which the doctrine of the resurrection assures of, and encourages to hope for; and so must he a friend to the practice of good works, as the contrary doctrine must be an obstruction to them.

{30} Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the {f} Lord.

(30) An exhortation taken from the profit that ensues, that seeing they understand that the glory of the other life is laid up for faithful workmen, they continue and stand fast in the truth of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead.

(f) Through the Lord's help and goodness working in us.

1 Corinthians 15:58. Closing admonition, drawn in the way of inference by ὥστε from τῷ διδόντι ἡμῖν τὸ νῖκος διὰ κ.τ.λ. “Therefore—because you are sure of the victory—be stedfast,” etc. The εἰδότες κ.τ.λ., which glances back upon that sure νῖκος, testifies in favour of this reference of ὥστε; hence we have no adequate ground for referring ὥστε to the whole section (de Wette, van Hengel, al.), nay, even for making it extend to the whole Epistle (Hofmann).

ἑδραῖοι, ἀμετακίν.] Comp. Colossians 1:23. To conceive of the readers as ethical athletes (Beza), is not suggested by the context. What is expressed is Christian perseverance in general, under the figure of standing firm, comp. 1 Corinthians 7:37 (opposite: σαλεύεσθαι, comp. Theodoret), in connection with which, again, ἀμετακίν. presents the perseverance more precisely as unseduceableness, both being in opposition to the possible seductions through the deniers of the resurrection. Comp. on ἀμετακίν., Plato, Ep. vii. p. 343 A; Dion. Hal. i. p. 520; and on both words, Arist. Eth. ii. 4. 3.

περισσεύοντες ἐν τῷ ἔργῳ τ. κ. πάντ.] abounding in the work of the Lord, i.e. exceedingly active and energetic therein, always. This more precise definition of περισσ. is confirmed by the correlative ὁ κόπος ὑμῶν (your pains and labour); ἐν, again, denotes the definite sphere, wherein, etc. Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:7; Php 1:26; Colossians 2:7; Romans 15:13. The ἔργον τοῦ κυρίου is the work which is carried on in the service of Christ. Comp. 1 Corinthians 16:10. His is the work, in which His people labour. And they labour therein, each according to his different calling, by the active fulfilment of His will as servants of the Lord (1 Corinthians 12:5). The three points, ἑδραῖοι, ἀμετακ., περισσ. κ.τ.λ., form a climax.

εἰδότες] since ye know (comp. Romans 5:3; 2 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Corinthians 4:14); it introduces the motive, so significant in this connection, to follow the περισσ. ἐν τ. . τ. κ.; ὁ κόπος ὑμῶν, your painstaking labour, which is devoted to the ἔργον τ. κυρίου.

κενός] in vain, i.e. without result. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:5. So would the labour be, if there were no resurrection and no victorious consummation of eternal life, because then the blessed reward of the labour would remain unattained, namely, the salvation of the Messianic kingdom which is destined for the labourer. Romans 2:7; 2 Timothy 2:12; Jam 1:12, al.

ἐν κυρίῳ] is not to be connected with ὁ κόπος ὑμ., but with οὐκ ἔστι κενός. It depends upon Christ, that your labour is not fruitless; for in Him the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:22) and the Messianic σωτηρία have their causal basis, 1 Corinthians 15:17-19; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:9 f., Romans 6:22-23, Romans 10:9, al.1 Corinthians 15:58 briefly directs the previous teaching against the unsettlement caused by Cor[2587] doubts. This unbelief was taxed in 1 Corinthians 15:32 ff. with sensualism and ignorance of God; its enervating effect on Christian work is here indicated. For ὥστε with impv[2588], cf. 1 Corinthians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 4:5, etc.—ἑδραῖοι γίνεσθε, “show yourselves steadfast”: see note on 1 Corinthians 7:23, also 1 Corinthians 10:32, 1 Corinthians 11:1; for the adj[2589], see parls. In Colossians 1:23 the combination ἑδραῖοι, ἀμετακίνητοι (“not-to-be-moved”) is almost identically repeated; similarly in Aristotle, Nic. Eth., ii., iv., 3, τὸ βεβαίως καὶ ἀμετακινήτως ἔχειν is specified as a condition of all right and virtuous doing.—περισσεύοντες κ.τ.λ. adds the positive to the foregoing negative side of the injunction: “abounding (overflowing: see parls.) in the work of the Lord always”. τ. ἔργον τ. Κυρίου (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1; Colossians 3:23 f., Matthew 21:28, Mark 13:34) is “the work” which “the Lord” prescribes, while “the work of God” (Romans 14:20 : cf. Romans 3:9 above) is “the work” which “God” does: contrast 1 Corinthians 12:5-6 above.—“Knowing (as you do) that your toil is not empty in the Lord.” εἰδότες implies assured knowledge, such as springs from the confirmation of faith given in this chap. On κόπος, see note to 1 Corinthians 3:8; and on κενός, 1 Corinthians 15:14 : the “toil” is “empty” which is spent on illusion; “ce n’est pas là une activité d’apparat, accomplie dans le néant, comme si souvent le travail terrestre, mais un sérieux labeur, accompli dans la sphère de l’éternelle réalité” (Gd[2590]); hence the pr[2591] ἐστὶν rather than ἔσται.—ἐν Κυρίῳ: in the sphere of Christ’s authority, wrought under His headship, which supplies the basis of all Christian relations and duties; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:36, 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 7:22, etc.

[2587] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[2588] imperative mood.

[2589] adjective.

[2590] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[2591] present tense.58. Therefore, my beloved brethren] The aim of St Paul is always practical. Even this magnificent passage comes to what from a merely oratorical point of view is a somewhat tame conclusion, a conclusion however which, regarded from the point of view of Christian edification, is full of beauty. “Be not weary in welldoing,” the Apostle would say. “Labour on in faith and courage till life comes to an end. For your life is hid with Christ in God; and therefore your efforts and struggles here are not thrown away. Not one of them shall be lost sight of before the Eternal Throne.”1 Corinthians 15:58.[152] Ἀγαπητοὶ, beloved) The true consideration of the things, the last of all, kindles his love towards the brethren.—ἑδραῖοι, [steadfast] stable) do not ye yourselves turn aside from the faith of the resurrection.—ἀμετακίνητοι, immoveable) be not led away by others, 1 Corinthians 15:12. So Colossians 1:23.—ἐν τῷ ἔργῳ τοῦ Κυρίου, in the work of the Lord) Christ, Php 2:30. It is called generally, the work which is carried on for the sake of the Lord. Its more particular definition depends on the circumstances of each particular text.—εἰδότες, knowing) He is now sure of the assent of the Corinthians.—οὐκ ἔστι κενὸς, is not vain) i.e., is most profitable. They were trying to make it in vain, who denied the resurrection. Paul mildly refutes these men even in the conclusion [as well as before].

[152] Ὥστε, therefore) A grave error had to be refuted in this passage: and yet he does not neglect to subjoin the exhortation.—V. g.Verse 58. - Therefore. Seeing that you ought not to despair, but to share in this confidence of triumph. Steadfast. Firmly fixed in your own conviction (Colossians 1:23 2John 9). Unmoveable. By others (Ephesians 4:14). Abounding in the work of the Lord. Doing diligently and ungrudgingly the work of your lives, which is his work. That your labour is not in vain. The thought of the verse is the same as that of Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Some general facts are very observable in this glorious chapter. 1. One is that St. Paul does not meet doubt by angry denunciation, or by crushing it with the iron mace of impatient authority. What would now be thought of Christians who denied the resurrection? Doubtless they were net mere speculative deniers of the resurrection, like Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Timothy 2:17), but recent Gentile converts, who could not get over their pagan difficulties. Yet St. Paul meets them by personal appeals, by helpful analogies, by lofty reasoning, by the glowing force of inspiring convictions. Instead of taking refuge - more ecclesiastico - in anathema and excommunication, he meets error by the counter presentation of ennobling truth. 2. Another noteworthy fact is that St. Paul's hope of the resurrection rests, like all his theology, on the thought that the life of the Christian is a life "in Christ." 3. A third is his superiority to false analogies - like those of the butterfly and the phoenix - which sufficed many ancient reasoners. Even Christian writers like St. Clement of Rome continued to appeal to the phoenix as a proof of the resurrection. The greatest ancient thinkers - like Tacitus - believed in the existence of that fabulous bird, and even in the genuineness of a specimen of it which had been exhibited at Rome. Was there no "grace of superintendency" at work which prevented the sacred writers from adopting the universal error of their day? Had St. Paul appealed to the phoenix, centuries of Christian writers would have continued to maintain the existence of that creature; and science, laughing the belief to scorn, would (most unjustly) have made any allusion to it a proof of mental weakness, and of the falsity of the doctrine which it was supposed to prove. 4. A fourth point to be observed is the wisdom with which St. Paul holds himself aloof from speculative fancies, he does not, like Plato, appeal to the doctrine of "reminiscence" (anamnesis), or of unfulfilled ideas. He does not, like Kant, build any argument on man's failure to obey "the categorical imperative" of duty. He points to the sinless Man - to the fulfilled idea of Christ. His argument, which all could understand, is summed up in the words, "Ye are Christ's, and Christ is risen." Your resurrection from the death of sin to the life of righteousness is a pledge of your participation in Christ's resurrection from the grave.

Steadfast, unmovable

The former refers to their firm establishment in the faith; the latter to that establishment as related to assault from temptation or persecution. Fixedness is a condition of abounding in work. All activity has its center in rest.

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