1 Corinthians 15:55-58
O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?…
Next to sincerity, and indeed as very closely connected with it, fixedness or steadiness may properly be considered as a general qualification, which ought to run through every branch of the Christian temper.
I. EXPLAIN THIS QUALIFICATION.
1. The Christian temper and course must be habitual and constant, in opposition to that which is merely occasional, or by fits and starts. It is not enough that now and then we attend to religion; but the ordinary bent of our spirits must run this way, and customary practice correspond with it.
(1) Our design and purpose should be for a constant adherence to God and our duty at all times.
(2) Religion must be made our stated and ordinary business, to denominate us with any propriety constant in it.
(3) Deliberate and presumptuous sins must be carefully avoided; or a breach will be made upon our constancy and steadfastness in the work of the Lord, in the mild and favourable sense of the gospel.
(4) Upon any known falls there should be a speedy and proportionable repentance.
2. The Christian temper and course must be persisted in to the end of life. This is to be steadfast and unmovable in it.
(1) That we be not wearied out by the length of our way.
(2) That we suffer not ourselves to give over our work in despondency, because of the slow progress and small success we discern.
(3) That we are not affrighted from our steadfastness by the approach of sufferings, but resolutely adhere to God and a good conscience, "withstanding in an evil day, that having done all we may stand."(4) That we suffer not ourselves to be drawn aside from the faith or practice of the gospel by giving heed to them that lie in wait to deceive; but "beware, lest being led away by the error of the wicked, we fall from our own steadfastness" (2 Peter 3:17).
(5) That we be not insensibly drawn on to apostacy by the importunate allurements of present temptations.
II. THE NECESSITY OF THIS QUALIFICATION OF STEADFASTNESS IN THE WHOLE CHRISTIAN TEMPER AND WORK.
1. It is necessary to our acceptance with God and our final happiness by Divine constitution.
2. It is necessary to the credit of our holy profession. Nothing is so great a disparagement to religion, and so freely opens the mouths of its enemies, as any scandalous falls, and especially the open apostasy of those who have made a distinguishing pretence to it.
3. It is necessary, in conformity to our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may prevailingly bear His resemblance, though we cannot in this world do it perfectly.By way of reflection —
1. We have here a rule for trying the goodness of our state, as far as we are advanced in life, by inquiring into the evangelical constancy of the Christian temper and course, since we have given up our names to be the Lord's. Whether it has been the daily settled bent of our souls to please God and avoid every known sin?
2. The best have room to censure themselves for the lesser unevennesses of their frames and course.
3. We have all reason to be excited to the greatest concern and care that we may always be steadfast and unmovable in the work of the Lord.
(J. Evans, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?