“Hold Fast to What is Good…”
There are days when we have more questions than answers; more doubts than assurances.
- Wondering why the wicked prosper and the righteous struggle through the day.
- Wondering how God will provide when there’s more month than money.
- Wondering if that prayer for healing, for peace, for assurance will ever be answered.
- Wondering what meaning could possibly be found in the midst of this trial and suffering.
Questions and doubts like these have the potential to rob us of our comfort and peace in believing. We struggle in that “dark night of the soul,” grasping to something, anything, that will bring us through.
This is why the Spirit teaches us to “Hold fast to what is good” (Rom 12:9). Like a survivor of a shipwreck who clings to the life preserver, we must hold fast to that which is certain to bring us through to salvation. This term “hold fast” is the same term that Scripture uses in describing marriage, “He shall leave his father and mother, and hold fast to his wife” (Gen 2:24). It’s not simply a desperate grasping at straws, hoping to find something to hold on to, but rather it is coming back to the assurance that comes with God’s covenant promise. Hold fast, rest in, the goodness of the promise.
So, briefly, what is this good to which we are to hold fast in the midst of our doubts and troubles? Let me offer three “goods” that Scripture calls us to hold on to.
Hold fast to the truth.
One of my favorite passages from the preliminary statements of the Book of Church Order in the PCA (I know, that phrase scores high on the geek scale), is this:
“That truth is in order to goodness; and a great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote holiness; according to our Savior’s rule, “by their fruits ye shall know them.” And that no opinion can be either more pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and falsehood upon a level, and represents it as of no consequence what a man’s opinions are. On the contrary, we are persuaded that there is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise it would be of no consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it.”
Can we not say that we live in a day when truth and falsehood are presented as equal? When we are unable to say which bathroom a person ought to use without being labeled a “hate-monger,” and a Harvard law professor tells his students that Evangelical Christians should be treated like Nazi criminals; I’d say its time for us to hold fast to the truth.
Where do we find that truth? In the word of God. Jesus said that those who are the good soil are those who, “hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). Paul says we are to “hold fast to the word of life (Philippians 2:16). 1 Thessalonians 5:21 teaches us to test everything and hold fast to the truth. When someone comes along claiming to know the truth, test it against the Word of God. When troubles come and cause you to doubt, test them against the Word of God. Hold fast to the truth of God’s Word.
Hold fast to hope.
Not only are we to hold on to the truth, but we must remain in that truth with hopefulness. Holding fast to truth without hope can result in a rather dour and pessimistic outlook on life. But faith is both truth and hopefulness. I remember reading somewhere that Biblical hope is not an uncertain desire, it is a confident expectation. When we are established in the truth of God’s Word, and rest in His promises, we have a confident expectation that His Word and His promise are true and will be fulfilled.
This is what Hebrews 10:23 teaches, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” So hold fast to the hopeful expectation of God’s goodness and mercy, for this hope “does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
Hold fast to Christ.
Ultimately, the truth and the hope to which we must hold fast is found in Jesus Christ. In Him alone is the truth, and in Him alone is the fulfillment of every promise of God. Christ is the Word of God incarnate, the living embodiment of God’s truth. He is God’s “Yes” and “Amen,” the faithful and true witness. He is the “hope of the world” (Matt. 12:21), and in Him “will the Gentiles put their hope” (Rom 5:12).
In the midst of the doubts and questions, the troubles and the fears, hold fast to that which is good; hold fast to Christ.