Key Verse: “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
—II Timothy 1:13
II Timothy 1:3-14
THE APOSTLE PAUL explained that the basis for holding fast in faith and love is to realize that “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) We must have growth in knowledge in order for mature faith and love to be developed. The source of knowledge concerning our salvation and the hopes attached to it is the Word of God, the Bible.
Paul gave us further insight into the meaning of faith in his words, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1, New American Standard Bible) We see from these words that faith is more than having assurance of our hopes; it also must include a conviction of things we cannot see with the natural eye. Hope’s assurance comes from the Word of God, and a conviction of things not seen emanates in large measure from our experiences, which, when we view them, provide powerful evidence to us that God is directing our every step in life. Thus, we are enabled to “hold fast the profession of our faith.”—Heb. 10:23
As we grow up into Christ, we should recall life’s experiences, including its joys and sorrows. Doing such strengthens the convictions of our faith, and we become stronger in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Eph. 6:10) This leads to greater communion with our Heavenly Father and with his Son, Christ Jesus, and an increasing desire to serve them, which then results in a depth of faith and fervent love that will “hold fast” in every experience.
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith.” (I Pet. 5:7-9) Those in the school of Christ can appreciate that the testing and trials which come upon them are actually manifestations of divine favor. For this reason, they will see the value of these experiences in their lives as stepping stones in the development of faith and a love which is unmovable and steadfast.
Knowing that we will have many tests of our degree of faith and love towards God, we must also learn to hold to the glorious truths of the Scriptures not merely in “letter,” but also in “spirit;” that is, in a disposition of love for doing the Father’s will. (Rom. 2:29; II Cor. 3:6) To do this takes much in the way of daily perseverance. Thus, Paul expressed concerning himself: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”—Phil. 3:13,14
Holding fast in faith and love, and the daily efforts to do such, will only result in victory if we keep our hearts and minds continually focused on God’s holy word. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”—Phil. 4:8, NASB