Hebrews 4:12-13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

“Hold Fast What Is Good!”

Opening Thought – God is Light and in Him is no Darkness!

1 John 1:5-7 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Light is the most fundamental and essential form of energy in the universe and is part of the building blocks of virtually every known phenomenon in the universe.

It is also the scriptural description of truth in all intellectual and moral realms. Note the expectation of all of us who wish to abide with God:

1 John 2:3-6 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 

We were created in Christ Jesus for good works – Ephesians 2:10.

God is Holy, thus we must be holy – 1 Peter 1:16.

God is Light, thus we; His children must cling to what is good! Good has been revealed and given to us (a literal system of provision):

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

This system of provision for all that is good, light, and truth establishes the child of God with a foundation of righteousness which protects, chastises, and encourages them in hope. This foundation is everything to life and godliness – 2 Peter 1:3.

The Truth of Entropy – This is an English word that has its roots in the Greek, ‘Entrophe’; which is from two root words: ‘En’ – inward, and ‘Trope’ – transformation. In the New Testament, the word is used to describe, “To turn one upon himself and so produce a feeling of shame”.

1 Corinthians 6:5 – Paul said, “I say this to your entrophe – shame”.

1 Corinthians 15:34 – Paul again said, “I speak this to your entrophe – shame”.

The English word describes disorder in any given system!

The universal law of increasing entropy states, every system tends to disintegrate into disorder or confusion if left to itself, or without a true, reproducible guide!

Without an established order, there is chaos!

James 3:16 “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

This establishes the vital importance of an established order, a universal guide which prevents turning in upon oneself and or universally the entire body (which we are each individual members of – Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:16; Colossians 2:19).

Hold Fast What is Good – Now we are ready to talk about the importance of holding fast what is good!

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 “Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.”

This being the first letter of the Apostle Paul to Christians, would for the first time in writing offer a series of exhortations (charges to do their duty). After they had engaged in proving what is good or not, the simple instruction tells these Christians to hold on to the good, and eject the bad.

The words “Hold fast” actually come from a single Greek word, “Katecho”, which in many other cases is translated, “Hold Firmly”, or “Keep”.

Paul gave these instructions knowing the hearts of most of these brethren:

  1. That their love would soon wax feeble, as ours does from time to time.
  2. That their faith would waiver, as ours does from time to time.
  3. That their zeal would soon fail to keep pace, as ours does from time to time.
  4. That none of these members of this body of Christ, being fallible, were beyond decay and the influence of the evil one, just as we are today!
  5. Paul knew that these Christians were under siege from persecutors (1:6; 2:14; 3:3), just we are today!
  6. Paul knew that they would be betrayed by false friends from within (4:3-6; 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14), just as we are today!

Yet, Paul also knew that through incessant prayer (Vs. 17), a continuing stream of Spirit guidance (Vs. 19), testing everything against the established good of truth (Vs. 21), they could hold onto the good! This was a trust in the order, wisdom, and power that comes from God to us, through the doctrine of Christ, which Paul speaks of often:

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”

Note: The English translation in this particular passage is interesting. Instead of “holding fast” or “keep”, the translators in this passage based on the context have chosen to use two words “Hold Fast”.

What is the significance of these terms? Well “Hold Fast” is also a title for a wood working tool used on a wood working bench. It was used to fix a work piece to another, until permanence is established!

Hold Fasts looked like shepherd hooks, and fastened a piece of wood to a master piece tightly, until it was firmly secured. It has been replaced by C-Clamps today. Now based on the translators understanding of the purpose of this tool, and the context of Paul’s instruction; now you know the rest of the story!

Concluding Thoughts – The source of all good is the revealed word of God!

  1. We were created in Christ for good works – Ephesians 2:10.
  2. We are to be zealous for good works – Titus 2:14.
  3. We are to be purified and transformed by the word – Romans 12:1-2.
  4. We cannot be children of God keep anything other than His word – 1 John 2:3-6.

Scripture speaks of works in this fashion:

  1. Works of the flesh, born of the lusts of the flesh, eyes, and pride of life; always condemned in scripture – Galatians 5:19-21; 1 John 2:15-17.
  2. Works of the Law, always referring to the works of the Law of Moses; emphasized by circumcision and the traditions of Moses that were trying to be introduced into the church and the doctrine of Christ by Judaizing teachers – Acts 15:5; Galatians 2:16. The complete abrogation (doing away with power) of the Old Law is emphasized in the New Testament as a system of righteousness – Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 7:12, 18-19; 8:13; 10:9. It remains to us a teacher of the character of God, and a school of types and shadows that enhance our understanding of the Christian dispensation – Romans 15:4; Galatians 3:24; Hebrews 3:7-4:1.
  3. Meritorious Works, born in the minds of the Gentiles and idolaters that often thought that by some great victory in battle, or saving a city or village, etc… they could achieve a greater place in the after-life (by their own hands). The salvation of man is the soul prevue of God through Jesus Christ; the only name by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). The method of our salvation, which only God could provide and accept, is not ours to create –Ephesians 2:8-9; however, not to be confused with the expected obedience that God has rendered necessary on our part to access the gift of our redemption – Acts 2:38, 42, 3:19; 8:12-13, 36-38; 9:6, 18; etc… 
  4. Good Works – These are defined in the doctrine of Christ as the commands of God –

Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”                 

James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”                                                                                    

1 John 2:29 “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

With the testing process concluded, we can draw the clear conclusion that it is the “Good Works” revealed in God’s word that we are to be affixed to, until permanence is achieved!!!

The universal truth of this lesson is that if we are so busy testing and doing what is right, we have far less time and energy for what is wrong!!!