I Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
A walk with God is not a passive thing. Notice the intensity when Paul says, Be steadfast! Be unmovable! Always abounding in the work of the Lord! Being unmovable and always abounding is not a contradiction. We set a course of action and we’re determined to not be moved from it. The Lord told Ezekiel, As an adamant harder than flint have I made your forehead (Ezekiel 3:9). The Lord had given Ezekiel the responsibility of speaking the Word to a people who didn’t want to hear it. Under those circumstances it was necessary for Ezekiel to have a focus and a drive as hard as flint. He was set on a course and he would not be moved from it.
Luke tells us that when the time came for Jesus to be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). Nothing was going to hinder Him from accomplishing the will of God. In like manner, we should be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
In the work of the Lord is the key phrase, for it is then that our labor will not be in vain. It is possible to abound in works and the results to be only futility. Our course of action must be in the work of the Lord.
The Lord has been emphasizing that it is not what we do for Him, but what we do with Him that is important. Works, regardless of how good, are in vain if done apart from Him. It is now time to take the responsibility to find out what God is doing and enter into His works with Him. Even Jesus did nothing of Himself, but only what He saw the Father doing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for whatever He does, these things also does the Son likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does: and He will show Him greater works than these that you may marvel. John 5:19-20. As long as we are thinking in terms of doing for the Lord, our lives are separate from Him. We must begin living in His presence continually. We are shifting gears. Instead of doing works for the Lord, we are going to let Him work through us. This is the sabbath rest of the Kingdom of God. What we do will not be produced by human energy. Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6.
When we put on His yoke and enter into His labors, we will find the true rest. Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30.
This may not be as easy as it seems. We are too accustomed to doing things by our own abilities. But that will not work anymore. We must now learn to submit to His abilities, to allow Him to work through us. This is what His Lordship really means.
Paul began verse 58 saying, Therefore, my beloved brethren…. The word “therefore” indicates that this verse is a result of what precedes it. The preceding verses speak of the resurrection and the glorified bodies we will receive. However, it will take more than a futuristic resurrection to motivate people to the aggressive action of verse 58. History tells us that Christians, in general, have never responded very well to teachings that only concern the past or the future. The Word must be alive now! There must be a present reality that comes through the Scriptures. Therefore, the preceding verses must contain something for us now, a kind of resurrection for the present.
I Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
The old Adam has been trying to function by doing works for the Lord, but God is creating a new Adam. The many-membered Body of Christ is being quickened. It is coming alive that it may abound in the work of the Lord. When the church ceases to work for the Lord and becomes a channel for Him to do His works, then it will come alive with His presence.
I Corinthians 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
Our first actions in the things of the Lord were done in a natural way. We tried to serve the Lord by using our own natural abilities. Now we are learning to be spiritual. We’re learning to flow with the Spirit of the Lord.
I Corinthians 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
The first man, regardless of how good our works seemed to be, was earthy and natural. The second man, the one who is coming now to move through us, is the Lord from heaven. He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe… II Thessalonians 1:10. The Church will be glorified when the Lord is glorified in it. When the Body of Christ becomes steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, it will be because the resurrected life of the Lord Jesus Christ is flowing through it.
I Corinthians 15:48-49 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and
as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
This is not pie-in-the-sky. This is for us now! We get to choose. We can continue to bear the image of the earthy, or we can bear the image of the heavenly.
I Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. That is, works by our own energies and natural abilities will not produce results on a Kingdom level. The flesh and blood realm must give way to the realm of the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is time for the Lord to rule and reign through a people (Revelation 2:26-27).
Neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Works that we do for God are corruptible. They are the wood, hay, and stubble burned by the fire of God (I Corinthians 3:12-15). Works accomplished by the Lord through us are incorruptible. They are the works revealed by fire as gold, silver, and precious stones (I Corinthians 3:12-15).
I Corinthians 15:51-55 Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but
we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The trumpet represents the prophetic living Word (Revelation 1:10). The Lord will speak through the Body of Christ. If those who are dead to the Lord will receive His Word, then they will come alive unto God. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My Word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the Voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father has life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. John 5:24-26. Then shall the corruptible put on incorruption. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which lives and abides for ever. I Peter 1:23. The divine nature is transferred to man by the living Word (II Peter 1:4).
I Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
Functioning separately from the presence of the Lord, doing works for Him instead of with Him is the law realm. Works in the law realm cannot justify anyone. The young rich ruler was aware of that when he said to Jesus, I have kept the commandments from my youth up. What do I still lack that I may have eternal life? (Matthew 19:16-20). It would be sin to continue in the law realm, for it is the realm of corruption and death. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. Paul said to the Galatians, For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse…That no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith. Galatians 3:10-12.
I Corinthians 15:57-58 But thanks be to God, which
gives us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Only the Lord Jesus Christ can deliver us from the earthy realm of corruption. How is it done? Allowing Him to accomplish His works through us does it. Are you tired of performing religious duties? Can you sense the futility surrounding them? Are you ready to experience the risen Lord ministering through you? Then set your course - Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Copyright © 1999 by Henry DuBose