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Hold Forth

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Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
(Philippians 2:14-16 ESV)

Born-again believers are God’s adopted children [John 1:12] and He calls on us to not cling to our own rights and opinions but to instead be united in our actions and thoughts so that the rest of the world will come to know Jesus through us. To that end, there are things we should not do – grumble and dispute – and there is something we must do – hold fast to the word of life.

By “holding fast” to God’s word – the Bible – we will be able to live effectively for Him. We must stay rooted in God’s truth in order to adequately display the Gospel to a world that desperately needs Jesus.

Another translation of “holding fast” is “holding forth”. The Greek can mean either, and its likely that Paul intended both interpretations to apply. Not only should Christians hold fast to the Gospel, we must also hold it forth – present it to others.

The Gospel – that Christ died for our sins, conquered death by rising from the dead, and now offers total forgiveness from the penalty of sin to those who believe – is the antidote for a “crooked and twisted” world. The Gospel is not just a nice story. The Gospel gives life. It is as important to us as oxygen. People who don’t have the Gospel in their lives are dying an eternal death and don’t even know it.

The world has no idea what sin is [Romans 7:7]. They do as they wish, thinking that anything that brings pleasure must be good. They don’t realize it, but they are setting themselves up for an eternal disaster. God’s children, on the other hand, know that not everything is beneficial for us [1 Corinthians 12:23]. We know this because God has told us in His word. The rest of the world needs to know this too. And we need to tell them.

The context of this verse is unity among believers through humility. God works through believers to reach non-believers. Our behavior is being watched. People will not be inclined to believe if they see believers not getting along.

We must lose all pride and concern for self. We are already saved. There is therefore nothing else worth pursuing in this life. Once saved our goal is to hold to the word of life – grow in our knowledge of God – so we can hold it forth to those who need it.

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