The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Cor 15:56-58
This passage is striking to me and very applicable to us as we seek to grow in unity to maturity in Christ. By this point in his letter, the apostle Paul has addressed divisions, sexual immorality, legal disputes within the church, feminism, abuse of the Lord's supper and more. He then calls them to "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord". Of all of the things that he could have instructed this church to do, why did he focus on being steadfast and immovable? What does he mean by that?
Paul is calling them to be steadfast and immovable in their doctrine and application of the word because the Corinthian church was being tossed to and fro by worldly thinking. They brought many ideas from their culture with them and had developed a very liberal acceptance of sinful practices such as sexual immorality and a disregard for headship. Their vast struggles were a direct result of their liberal thinking. When the church loses sight of clear doctrine her practice will follow and she will lose her way.
Notice that Paul anchors the command with knowledge. Our works of faith are to flow from the knowledge that we have in Jesus Christ. We know that He has defeated sin and death and therefore are to stand firm on the word of God. This is where doctrine comes in. We hold to sound doctrine as it represents clear and authoritative truth taken from scripture. Our doctrine acts as a standard that we can hold to. We are to be unified in Christ around the truth of His word. If we stray from the clear teachings of the bible for any reason we will head down the same path that the Corinthians were on.
The Corinthian church lost track of doctrinal teaching and found themselves following the world in their practice. We see this today in much of mainstream Christianity when the church changes their doctrine in order to be accepting of the world's practices. This should not be. The church is to be a pillar and buttress of truth (1 Tim 3:15), so let us stand firm to the truths taught in scripture no matter how unappealing they are to the world. God's truth is not something that will change with the times. As Paul tells us:
All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17
Let us all as a church be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. For we know the truth of God, that we will not labor in vain.