1 Corinthians 16:13
Watch you, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.…
Now and again we meet with passages in the New Testament which remind us that Christianity does not lose sight of the sterner virtues. Certainly our religion has brought the softer and more amiable virtues into honour and prominence; but we should make a mistake did we suppose that for the severer excellences of character it finds no place.
I. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A SCENE OF WARFARE. It is an opportunity for bearing witness to the grace of God, an opportunity for faithful and diligent service. But this is not all. Who can, in any station of life, sincerely endeavor to live as a Christian, without finding out that life is a campaign, a scene of discipline, of conflict? Surely the language of the New Testament in which we are addressed as soldiers of the cross, is not mere poetry, the utterance of imagination!
II. THE FOES WHOM THE CHRISTIAN IS CALLED TO ENCOUNTER ARE SPIRITUAL. As the apostle, expresses it elsewhere, "We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers," etc. Whether at Corinth or at Ephesus, or in modern London, or far away beyond the seas, he who is bent upon doing the will of God must needs make up his mind to face the adversary. Many are the forms assumed by the foe of souls, many his devices, great his craft and power. In his temptation, our Divine Lord and Leader, the Captain of our salvation, himself faced the enemy, and withstood his repeated and various assaults.
III. OUR POSITION OF DANGER CALLS FOR THE EXERCISE OF THE SOLDIER LIKE VIRTUES OF COURAGE AND ENDURANCE.
1. Watchfulness; lest the soldier be surprised at his post, and fall a victim to his foe. What stress our Lord and his apostles have laid upon this attitude of vigilance! If we know ourselves, our weakness, our liability to sin; if we know the resources of our enemies - we shall feel the necessity of watching, lest we enter into temptation.
2. Steadfastness in the faith; lest we be tossed to and fro by our indecision and vacillation. Persecution and prosperity are alike in this, that they expose us to this danger.
3. Manliness is, no doubt, in contrast to the spirit of effeminacy and sloth. "Quit you like men!" is the ringing battle cry of one whose own life illustrated the precept.
4. Strength is needed in such a combat, in which only the weapons of warfare which are not carnal are mighty through God to the pulling down of the strongholds.
IV. DIVINE GRACE ALONE CAN EQUIP AND UPHOLD THE SOLDIERS IN THIS HOLY WAR. This great truth is always, when not expressed, in the background, when admonitions to vigilance and courage are addressed to Christians. It is not to be supposed that in our own strength we can comply with requirements so stringent and conduct a warfare so perilous. But "if God be for us, who can be against us?" The warfare is not ours, but God's, and his are the weapons and his the might, even as his is the glory of the victory. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.