“Hold the Line”
We have probably heard the phrase “Hold the Line” in war and sports movies. I can’t help but think of the scene in “Braveheart” where William Wallace (Mel Gibson) is shouting “Hold” to the other Scots lined up to face battle with Longshanks army. He urges them to hold until it is the right time to deploy the long wooden spears on the charging cavalry. Definitely one of my favorite movies.
It seems I have heard that line in sports movies or maybe it was during the time I played high school football. Urging the defense to hold that line at the goal line, etc.
But “Hold the Line” has an application for followers of Christ as well.
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Proverbs 30: 5 & 6 (NIV).
Alistair Begg is a Pastor, also a Scot, who does the Truth for Life radio program. During one of his sermons he recounted an experience he had in seminary. One day, Dick Lucas a seminary professor walked into the room and made a line across the blackboard. The professor stood there for a little while and then asked what everyone thought. The students, not quite knowing what to say, finally said that it was a nice line. He then proceeded to draw two arrows, one pointing above the line and the other pointing below the line.
The professor proceeded to tell them that the line drawn on the board represented the Gospel. It would be their job to “hold the line” by staying true to the Gospel. Any representation of the Gospel below the line would be “Liberalism” and anything adding to the Gospel, or over the line, would be “Fanaticism.”
We face this on many issues. One is homosexuality. I have heard many people who claim to be Christian state that homosexuals aren’t welcome in their church. Clearly this would be “fanaticism.” As the church, shouldn’t all sinners be welcome? After all, aren’t we all sinners?
Then you have those that say homosexuality isn’t a sin and that we should not just welcome them in to the church but allow them to serve and lead. This would be “liberalism.” Are we called to just accept our sin? Doesn’t Jesus call us to “confess, repent and forsake” our sin?
“It is time that Christians were judged more by their likeness to Christ than their notions of Christ.” Lucretia Mott.
It is not easy to “Hold the Line” when it comes to the Gospel. As humans we will naturally tend to fall one way or the other. We are so incapable of holding the line in our own power, we can be liberal on some issues and fanatics on others. Holding the line, when it comes to the Gospel, can only be done with the power of Christ.
The Pharisees were textbook examples of fanatics.
“While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the Pharisees saw him eating with the ‘sinners’ and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?’ On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.‘” Mark 2: 15-17 (NIV).
The Westboro Baptist Church among others would be modern day fanatics.
Cultural Christians are among the liberals of today. This is a quote from Joel Osteen on his Twitter account on May 14: “Struggle and lack are not your destiny. That’s temporary. The rain of abundance is coming.” It would be entertaining to hear him say that to the Apostle Paul.
Here is what Jesus had to say:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5: 17-20 (NIV).
As followers of Christ we should never have the “Us four and no more” attitude. Jesus came and gave His life for ALL of us. The Gospel is for anyone who would believe. At the same time, we are not called to be comfortable with our sin. If we are not open to being convicted of our sin, we are not qualified to call ourselves followers of Christ.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11 (NIV).
As followers of Christ, as believers in this Gospel, we are called to “Hold the Line.”
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” Galatians 1:6-9 (NIV).
Hold the Line and run to the Cross!