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 Corinthians 15:58
That word, “therefore,” which starts this verse that you’ve set your heart to memorize—that word, every time you see it, deserves the same question: “What’s it there for?” That word points to the summation of a logical argument, the gathering of thoughts to a conclusion, the crystallization of what has come before into a diamond of truth to adorn the soul.
Paul writes, Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing your labor is not in vain. There is in these words affection, admonition, and affirmation and it is all undergirded by what precedes the “therefore.”
So what comes first? What nourishes Paul’s affection for his readers that he would call them “Beloved brethren?” What drives Paul’s confidence to set before them such admonitions to unshakeable, determined service? What girds Paul’s heart with such clarity that he can affirm with such faith that their works of service in and to the Lord will not be empty, pointless, and without result?
Go back and read all of 1 Corinthians 15. Stop and do it now. It will only take a few moments. Unless you take your time and savor what Paul has in his heart and so eloquently offers you.
What is the basis for Paul’s affection, admonitions, and affirmations of verse fifty-eight? You’ve just read it if you reread chapter fifteen. Let me give you the five graces that empower the “therefore” of verse fifty-eight: The life-changing, hope-producing, witnessed and valid gospel of Jesus Christ; the certain, incontestable post-death resurrection of those who put their faith in Jesus of the aforementioned gospel; the awe-inspiring, promise fulfilling glorification of the mortal bodies of those who put their faith in Jesus of the gospel; and the triumph-shouting, sin-stomping, death-defying victory over death and sin of those who put their trust in Jesus of the gospel.
“Therefore!” Because Jesus truly came to save through His death on the cross on our behalf, and because our faith is in Him we will see a future resurrection even if our bodies die, and these bodies that we cherish so much will be raised and perfected just as His is, and death, the worst enemy of all, WILL NOT PREVAIL, therefore … therefore! … THEREFORE! my beloved brethren, (on account of all this), be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing your labor is not in vain.
“Therefore” beckons us to look at what God has done for us in the past in Christ, to consider what He is doing in us in the present in Christ, to marvel at what He will do for us in the future through Christ and to press on full of faith, full of hope, full of joy relying on Christ who lives, who triumphed over death, who cannot fail.
*This blog post first appeared on the Children Desiring God Fighter Verse blog. It appears here with their permission, blessing, and prayer for your encouragement and instruction in the faith.
Children Desiring God (CDG) publishes Fighter Verses and offers products to support you in your Bible memorization efforts. CDG also publishes God-centered Sunday School curriculum for children and youth, parenting booklets to equip parents to spiritually shepherd their children, the My Church Notebook to help children participate in the worship service, and the Making Him Known series of books for family devotions.