Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Paul mentioned in verse 57 that God gives victory not only over the guilt of sin but also over the power of sin. We turn now from doctrine to directive. The doctrine of the resurrection of Christ impels us to action.
my beloved brethren,
The resurrection has a great effect on believers. The phrase “my beloved brethren” is particularly affectionate. Paul uses this phrase only here and in Philippians 4:1. He uses just the word “brethren” 28 times in First Corinthians, but here he calls them “beloved brethren.” It must have been difficult for Paul to call that carnal crowd at Corinth “beloved.” They were carnal because they carped about their situation and were critical of each other. We have an obligation to love the born-again crowd around us. We do not have to agree with them or back their policies, but we must love them.
Paul asks the Corinthian church to do three things: (1) be steadfast, (2) be immovable, and (3) always abound in the work of the Lord.
The word “be” is become; they were to become something that they were not previously – stable. Christians can be stable in faith because of the resurrection. We can be confident in what we know about the resurrection. “Steadfast” refers to being seated and thus settled; it is a fixed purpose of heart against error. The skeptical attitude of the city of Corinth against bodily resurrection should not shake Christians in Corinth.
Co 1:23, if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
“Immovable” is another term of stability. No denial of the resurrection should move Christians from the reality of the resurrection in light of the overwhelming argument of chapter 15. The word “immovable” carries more force than “steadfast,” giving the idea of being well situated in the will of God. An immovable believer adheres to essential doctrines of the faith; he is not fickle.
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
The resurrection motivates believers to do the work of the Lord. The word “abounding” means overflowing. People who come to grips with the resurrection do more than is required in serving the Lord. There is no waning of this service by the word “always.” We need to distinguish between the work “of” the Lord and work “for” the Lord. The work “of” the Lord is the work God gives us to do. Work that does not conform to His will is not His work. People may have sincere motives but not be doing His work.
Note the comparison between this verse and verse 10:
1 Co 15:10, But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Fixedness is a catalyst to ministry.
Confidence in the resurrection moves us to stability and service. It is amazing that many Christians give so little service in the light of what they have in the resurrection. No one says that Christian ministry is easy or that it is a rosy bed of ease. It is difficult and subject to criticism. It is not play; it’s work. Ministry is labor to the point of toil. Are you discouraged in ministry? Are you about to give up? Are you ready to change from a spiritual farmer to a religious dude rancher?
Some people always change their minds about things, but there is a place for settled conviction.
Eph 4:14, that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
2 Ti 1:12-13, For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.