Stand or Fall

By Lewis Willis

Alright, I admit it: I listen to country music. A few weeks ago I wrote an article about a line in a country song which said, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” Well, by now you have guessed it, I heard another line in another song and I think it deserves our consideration in this article.

A performer has a song out with this line: “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything. ” That is certainly a truism! However, it is true, not because a country song says so, but because the Bible says so.

There are many passages which teach us the importance of “taking a stand” for God, and against the Devil and error. Let me cite some of these. Paul told the Ephesians to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. . . Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. . . Stand therefore” (Eph. 6:11-14). He also reminded the Corinthians of the meaning of being a Christian. He said, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand” (1 Cor. 15:1). As he was closing his first epistle to Corinth, Paul admonished, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Cor 16:13). Paul said to the Philippians that he wanted to hear “that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). He also told these brethren to “stand fast in the Lord” (Phil. 4:1). Several other New Testament passages require that Christians take a stand for Truth, against error (Rom.5:2; Col. 4:12; 1 Thess. 3:8; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 Pet. 5:12). The responsibility is clearly and emphatically appointed to us – Take a stand with and for God, for truth, and against sin.

One would suppose that a faithful Christian would look at this evidence and take a stand. Many do! But, many others don’t! When Paul wrote to Timothy, he said, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me” (2 Tim. 4:16). Most of us would like to think we would have stood firmly with him for the truth. But just “thinking” it is not “doing” it. Thus, he warned, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). There is an ever present danger that we will not carry through with our convictions and stand for right, against evil. The road of time is littered with the remains of those who knew that they should have stood for Christ and the gospel, but failed to do so. “The cause of truth has suffered immeasurably because God’s people did not find the courage at the hour of trial to stand for that cause.” Too many fell for error!

The Apostle Paul addressed the question of “falling for anything” when he talked about the edification of God’s people. He wrote, “That we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14). When Jesus warned of the danger which false teachers present, he said, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:14). Note Peter’s warning: “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness” (2 Pet. 3:17).

It is evident that a failure to stand for Truth, subjects us to the possibility that we will fall for error. God’s people have not been diligent in guarding against this danger. Practically every generation has had “issues” of right and wrong with which to grapple, and each time these questions arise, scores “fall for” error. There is no way to measure what the strength of the church today would be if we had not lost these people through apostasy. Had they stood for the truth of God’s word, they would not have fallen for such errors as instrumental music, missionary societies, benevolent societies, church supported colleges and fellowship halls.

I trust that by now you are aware that a major problem is developing in the church regarding the truth about marriage, divorce and remarriage. I thought we knew the basic truth about this subject, but evidently we don’t. Those who are teaching error regarding the matter are men who should know better. History and the Scriptures say that they will teach their error and many will fall for it (Acts 20:29-30). It is not yet possible to determine what the effect of their heresy will be. It is rather obvious that it will not be good for the cause of our Lord. So, the warning that “you’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything, ” is an appropriate warning again. We had better make up our minds to stand for the Truth about God’s teaching on marriage or we will fall for anything that false teachers might say on the subject, depending upon the confidence we happen to have in the false teacher. Does history always have to repeat itself, or will God’s people finally learn to stand for truth?

Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 15, p. 458
August 6, 1992