Lord keep us Steadfast
by Seattle ALC
The time of Lent inspires reflection. The work of our God is on full display. Whether we look to the past, present, or future we have a God that is steadfast in His promises, His love toward us, and His assurance for what is yet to come. What a blessing to have this steadfastness in our lives! It is only because of the work that Jesus accomplished 2,000 years ago, in fulfilling all things for us.
Apostle Paul put is so well: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. ” Colossians 2: 9-15
We can only be complete in Christ, and can only find rest, in His steadfastness. My thoughts have been going back to those steadfast believers, that were part of this congregation in Seattle, and have passed from time to eternity. They weren’t perfect in themselves. They confessed being sinners in need of God’s grace. It was in Jesus Christ that they found their steadfastness; John 1: 14 ” And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ” I want to share from the archived writing of the late Pastor Alvin Holmgren.
LORD, KEEP US STEADFAST
From the Archived writings
of Pastor Alvin Holmgren
Steadfastness plays an important part in the life of a Christian. Not only is it essential for our own individual spiritual health and development, but for the growth and health of the body of believers as a whole. Steadfastness implies the quality of being faithful—firmly established and unwavering. There are many Biblical exhortations to steadfastness. The verse that I will use for this mediation is found in chapter 15 of Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. This chapter emphasizes the Gospel revelation of the resurrection and of the life to come, and it is concluded by a word of counsel that is as important for us today as it was for the early New Testament Christians to whom the letter was written. This is what Paul said: Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (I Cor. 15:58).
In order for us to be steadfast, it is necessary that we are nourished and strengthened by the Bread of Life, and that we are refreshed by the Water of Life. Jesus is both the Bread of Life and the Water of Life. As believers, our delight is to be in the law of the Lord, and in it we are to meditate both day and night (Psalm 1:2). Since the Word is our food, it is the source of our strength. We draw on this life-giving source in our private meditations. Our faith is increased and strengthened through the hearing of the preached Word, and we share our living hope with others in the fellowship where we worship.
Even then, were we to be wholly responsible for our steadfastness, we would doubtless soon fail the test. Recognizing this, the reformer, Martin Luther, placed this important responsibility in more secure hands than his own when he wrote a hymn on the subject:
Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word.
Curb those who fain by craft and sword.
Would wrest the kingdom from Thy Son,
And set at naught all He has done.
Lord Jesus Christ. Thy power make known:
For Thou art Lord of lords alone:
Defend Thy Christendom, that we
May evermore sing praise to Thee.
O Comforter, of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth;
Support us in our final strife,
And lead us out of death to life.
(Martin Luther, 1541)
In this work, to which the Lord has called us, we are to be steadfast and unmoveable, using the gifts we have been given for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12). We are in subjection to Christ because He is the Head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence since it has pleased God that all fullness should dwell in Him (Col.1:18-19).
There is another Bible passage that I want to use as a conclusion to our subject of steadfastness. It is found in the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 13, verses 7,8, and 9: Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation (their life). Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart is established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
The Bible verse — Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever — is not to be isolated from the verses that precede and follow it. Jesus Christ is changeless. Let us endeavor to follow the example of those who have gone before us, remembering that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). Let us pray that God will continue to impart the guidance of His Spirit so that it may be said of the twenty first century believers as it was of the first century Christians: They all continued in one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren (Acts 1:14).
DEAR CHRISTIANS, ONE AND ALL REJOICE
Martin Luther, 1523
We thank Thee, Lord, for boundless grace
And sing Thy praise forever,
For granting us in dire distress
Thine everlasting favor.
Both death and hell were stricken down
When Thou didst for our sins atone,
O Jesus, blessed Saviour.
May your eyes be focused on the only begotten Son of God this Easter season. Look to the Author and Finisher of faith. It is in Jesus we find perfect rest, and a peace that brings joy! Thank Him for his boundless grace and favor, and His steadfast love!