Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)
1 Corinthians 15 is Paul’s signature treatise on the doctrine of the resurrection – the resurrection of believers that is assured because of the resurrection of Jesus. Some of the first Christians may have been inclined to be so focused on when Jesus would return that they neglected the important tasks of evangelism (sharing the good news of Jesus) and ministry (caring for the needs of those around them). Others of the first Christians may have been discouraged because of the persecution they faced at the hands of the Jewish “establishment” and the Roman Empire. To both groups Paul gave a strong word of both admonition and encouragement.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV).
God has assured believers of ultimate victory. That is really what the resurrection is all about – victory over death and over the enslaving power of sin. First was Christ’s resurrection. His death on the cross was in our place and because of our sin. When he was raised on the third day, death was “swallowed up in victory” (15:54).
To the Christians in Corinth who were fearful and discouraged, Paul’s word was to stand fast in the hope that comes from Jesus’ resurrection. “Be steadfast, immovable . . .” (1 Corinthians 15:58). There is nothing a persecutor can do which will be greater than the hope of eternal life that Christ gives. “The Gospel therefore combats hopelessness and gives purpose to our daily endeavors.”[i]
To the Christians in Corinth who were so focused on Christ’s return that they were neglecting his command to “go and make disciples,” Paul’s word was to “keep on keeping on.” Be “always abounding in the work of the Lord” because “in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
- What causes our thinking to focus more on self than on helping others and sharing our faith in Jesus?
- What do you think when you read “be steadfast, immovable . . .?”
- How do you respond to Paul’s admonition to be “always abounding in the work of the Lord?”