1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Watch you, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.…
I. THE EXHORTATION: "Be strong."
1. It is not natural, but moral strength that is here intended. A man may be as strong as Goliath, and at the same time quite as wicked. He may have the courage and magnanimity of an Alexander or a Caesar, and yet be a slave to his own lusts. The strength which Paul speaks of, like wisdom, it "cometh from above," and consists in our being strengthened with all might by God's Spirit in the inner man (Proverbs 16:32; James 3:17; Ephesians 3:16).
2. The exhortation is addressed to all Christians, whatever be their circumstances or situation, whether in a public or private capacity (Isaiah 35:4; Zechariah 10:6).
3. We need to be reminded that our strength lies not in ourselves, but in Christ our head (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10).
II. THE PARTICULAR CASES TO WHICH THE EXHORTATION IS APPLICABLE. We must be strong —
1. To labour. The Christian's work is constant and complicated; "it is not the work of a day or two," as Ezra said respecting the reformation to be wrought in Israel, but of a whole life. As to the things of this life, he is not to be slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. But the labours of the spiritual life are still more arduous, and require greater efforts and greater self-denial (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 1:8).
2. To conquer. Christians are not only labourers, but soldiers; and as such they are called to endure hardness. Seeing that so many forces are combined against us, it is necessary that great strength be exerted. We must not indulge a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (Ephesians 6:11, 12).
3. To suffer (Romans 5:3; Colossians 1:11). God's grace is sufficient for us, though nothing else is. If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
4. To die. In order to obtain the victory and to die happy, we shall need —
(1) A strong and lively faith, well founded and brought into vigorous exercise (Genesis 49:18; Psalm 23:4; Psalm 73:26; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).
(2) A well-founded and animating hope.
(3) Great strength of affection, desiring to depart and be with Christ, which is far better (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Peter 3:12).
(4) Strong consolation, and a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.