STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT)
When it was time for the children of Israel to cross over the Jordan River to possess their inheritance, the Promised Land, the LORD gave Joshua some specific instructions.
Joshua 3:7-8 – NKJV
7 “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
8 “You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.'”
According to God’s instructions, the children of Israel set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan with the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant before them.
As soon as the feet of the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant dipped in the edge of the water, the Scripture records that “the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho.” (Josh. 3:16 NKJV).
However, for all Israel to cross completely over the Jordan, the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD had to stand firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan.
Joshua 3:17 – NKJV
17 Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.
Apparently, it was God’s mighty presence which rested upon the Jordan that parted the Jordan River for God’s people to cross over on dry ground into their inheritance, the Promised Land.
The Psalmist testifies to this truth.
Psalms 114:1-3 – NKJV
1 When Israel went out of Egypt, The house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became His sanctuary, And Israel His dominion.
3 The sea saw it and fled; Jordan turned back.
Besides the priests bearing or carrying God’s presence (symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant) into the Jordan to divide it, the priests were also expected to stand firm in what God had already done, on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, so that all the children of Israel might cross over on dry ground to inherit their Promised Land.
This is what is expected of God’s servants today!
Just as the priests of old bearing God’s presence did nothing else other than standing firm in the finished work of God for the children of Israel to cross over Jordan on dry ground to their inheritance, so must the New Testaments priests stand firm in the finished work of Jesus Christ so that God’s people might cross over into their inheritance in Christ.
Unfortunately, many believers and servants of God today are not standing firm in what the Lord Jesus Christ has already done or accomplished by His sacrificial death on the cross and His triumphant resurrection from the dead.
You cannot cross over completely from sin to holiness, from curse to blessing, from sickness to good health, from defeat to victory, from failure to success, or from poverty to prosperity if you fail to repose your faith in Jesus Christ and stand firm in His finished work.
Many believers today are not enjoying and experiencing the benefits of the finished work of Jesus Christ because they have not been properly taught the true Gospel of the Grace of God so that they might put their faith only in the finished work of Jesus Christ, thereby appropriating and enjoying God’s blessings in Christ Jesus (Acts 20:24).
Many believers today are missing out on God’s blessings because they have embraced and imbibed “the gospel of works” which is according to the works of the law and not according to the finished work of Jesus Christ, thereby falling from grace and becoming estranged from Christ.
Paul warns, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Gal. 5:4 NKJV).
You cannot inherit or obtain all your inheritance in Christ by standing firm or trusting in your own self-righteousness, performance or good works.
It is only by standing firm or trusting completely in the Grace of God, Jesus Christ and His finished work, that you can cross over any obstacle in life to obtain what God has promised and prepared for you.
Undoubtedly, we shall see many nations cross over the Jordan of sin to obtain the salvation God has prepared for all men if the servants of God today will clearly present to the people the truth that God has singlehandedly accomplished our work of salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection, and that God does not require or expect any work from anyone in order to receive His mercy, forgiveness, redemption or salvation.
Paul amply explains this truth in his epistles.
Romans 5:8-9 – NKJV
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Galatians 2:16 – NKJV
16 “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
John also affirms this truth.
1 John 4:9-10 – NKJV
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Having accomplished the work of our salvation all by Himself, all that God requires and expects of anyone to receive His salvation and blessing in life is to wholly trust in Christ and His finished work (Heb. 4:1-3).
Sadly, many pastors or preachers today are putting the burden of salvation on the people, thereby shifting people’s focus and faith from Christ to themselves and from the finished work of Christ to their imperfect works of the law.
Apostle Paul sternly warns against this.
Galatians 3:10 – NKJV
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”
Beloved, if the Gospel you are hearing does not present, stress or emphasize faith in Christ and His finished work as the only sure and solid foundation for your Christian faith, and as the only means to having a right standing with God, to having a loving and intimate relationship with God, to receiving God’s blessings, and to living an overcoming, victorious or triumphant life; you are certainly not hearing and imbibing the true Gospel of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
You will never experience true, perfect, lasting or eternal rest if you are seeking to earn, merit, or deserve God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing by your self-righteousness, performance or good works.
It is only those who trust completely in the perfect and finished work of Jesus Christ that will find true and perfect rest for their souls.
This is why Apostle Paul stated that his resolution was to be found always in Christ, “not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” (Philip. 3:9 NKJV).
This also should be your resolution or determination as a believer in Christ!
Apostle Paul admonishes, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13 NLT).
“Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.” (Phil. 4:1 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for not putting the burden of my salvation on my shoulders. My Dear Holy Spirit, help and strengthen me to always stand firm in the finished work of Jesus Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.