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Friday - Never Give Up

We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

Galatians 2:5

Giving up was something that was just never accepted in my family. As immigrants who came with nothing but the cloths on their backs and a name of someone they never met, you had only one option. Never give up. Work hard and never give up.

My dad volunteered to join the Navy and fight in World War 2. It wasn’t just to stop the enemy, to hold them off so they couldn’t get to America. No, it was to fight them until they surrendered. Only then could we have victory and peace. Until then, we we’re never going to give up.

In the movie, Darkest Hour, Winston Churchill asks people on a subway when it’s OK to give up. And with one voice they say “Never.[1]” They will never give up, no matter how terrible the battle, no matter what the cost may be.

That’s exactly where Paul found himself. He was being pressured to keep the young, struggling Christian faith alive. There were a lot of people, in powerful positions, within leadership that wanted to open up the doors of Christianity to lots of other people

It seems like keeping people and ideas out isn’t a very nice or loving thing to do. It’s not very inclusive. It’s not very modern. Not very 21st century. After all, you want as many people and ideas as possible. Keeping people and ideas out will be seen negatively. You’ll lose all sorts of followers on social media.

Now, there are things that are not all that important. Beliefs and ideas that are on the fringes of faith. Whether doing certain things or not are on the edges of Christianity. Paul talks about one such topic in 1 Corinthians 8[2].

But this isn’t one of those ideas. This was whether or not Jesus’ death on the cross paid for 100% of all our sins. If not, then we had to do somethings to help pay for our salvation. We had to do certain things to make us acceptable to God.

If we had to do anything, then salvation was based on our works and not the grace of God. And Paul wasn’t going to give in to them for a minute. He wasn’t going to bend to them and their ideas. He wasn’t going to cave in or go along with them at all. He wasn’t going to cry uncle or throw in the towel either.

On this most important belief, faith in Christ and his death on the cross to pay for our sins, he was not going to change. He would be unmovable. He was going to be inflexible. He wasn’t going to be accommodating about this at all.

But what was the “this” that Paul wasn’t going to give in for even a minute? He wasn’t digging in his heals for some small, insignificant point that didn’t matter. No. He was willing to stand up and fight for something that made all the difference in the world.

  • First – The truth of the gospel. Everything that Jesus ever did and said was on the line. Especially that he died for all our sins and that we could not add to it in any way.

  • Second – It would be preserved. Jesus and Christianity were unique from every other religion and way of thinking. This was to protect it, keep it that way.

Either Jesus paid it all, and we are made right with God through faith, or it was just going to be an offshoot of Judaism. Christianity says that we are forgiven 100% by the grace of God, or the whole thing is false. If salvation, being reunited with God, requires us to do something, then Jesus was just another teacher the deserts of the Middle East that should have been forgotten.

Paul was not going to be moved. Faith in Jesus’ death for our salvation was worth fighting for. Without it we’d never know the grace of God. We’d only be worrying whether or not we’d done enough or not.

How would we ever have confidence and assurance in our relationship with God? How could we rest in his love for us if it was dependent on us? Did we do it right? Did we say the right things? Were our hearts and thoughts pure enough?

Standing firm for important things requires faith and conviction. Confidence in God. In who he is. How he’s made us and the universe. What he has said. And what he expects of us. What could be more important than these questions? When it comes to giving up when it’s important, Winston Churchill said it best.

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never[3].

Are you willing to never give up? Never give in, when it comes to who Jesus is and his death on the cross?

Noodling Questions

  • Why did God never give up on us?

  • How do you act when someone tries to get you to give up on something?

  • What do we need to do to have the assurance to never give up on Jesus?

[1] [2] [3] October 29, 1941, Harrow School

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