“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you are also saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.”1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Some time ago, I had to finally admit that my ring finger had grown too large for my wedding band. It now resides on a chain next to my heart, along with a brass coin medallion, on which are stamped the words, “HOLD FAST”. I deliberately chose it as a reminder of the need to remain faithful in all areas of my life. It is most familiar as a nautical term, which makes sense as I bought my medallion from a company named Maritime Supply.
To ‘hold fast’ means to tighten down the lines of a ship and hold on tight because things are about to get rough. The term is attributed to Dutch origins, although I would suggest it dates back much further, as the term appears frequently throughout scripture. It conveys the idea of protecting the ship and your shipmates as a means of insuring your own survival. (For my friends and readers who have been in the Navy, Coast Guard, or have worked on ships, my apologies if I’m using the term improperly)
For the rest of us, HOLD FAST means to hang on to your beliefs, to stand in the face of opposition, or as the formal definition reads, “continue to believe in or adhere to an idea or principle.” What’s important to determine, however, is whether the idea or principle is worth keeping. Are they going to carry you through the storms of this life? For the Christian, the Bible is a rock-solid foundation which can be trusted under any and all circumstances.
Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, reminds them the message he preached to them is their foundation upon which they stand, and by which they are saved, if they ‘hold fast’ to it. What he is really encouraging them to do is to hold fast to the person behind the message, the One who is trustworthy, Jesus Christ, He who will never desert them. If they will hold fast to Jesus, He will hold fast to them, and no one or nothing will be able to break that grip.
It is the same message that God proclaimed throughout both Old and New Testaments. In Deuteronomy 11:22-23, where Moses is instructing the nation of Israel, it says:
“For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and your will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you.”
God even gives assurances to non-Israelites who would commit themselves to obeying Him in Isaiah 56:3-5:
Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The LORD will surely separate me from His people.” Nor let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry twig.” For thus says the LORD, “To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, to them I will give in My house and within my walls a memorial, I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.”
So, my brothers and sisters, let me encourage you to HOLD FAST. We are in the middle of a hurricane, and the world would love nothing more than to have us be blown away. Are you having financial difficulties? HOLD FAST. Are you struggling with disease, depression, addiction, or family problems? HOLD FAST. Are you overwhelmed with anxiety? HOLD FAST. Hold fast to the One who is faithful, who tells you, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” The storm may seem as though it will never end, but we have a Savior who will protect us, guide us through it, and who tells us, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you a crown of life (Revelation 2:10).” Don’t miss it-HOLD FAST.