“Hold the line!” It’s a statement that calls for immediate strength and action. It even carries the idea of a command, a strong command. One might think of a football team being exhorted by its coach or captain to “Hold the line!” on a given play. If the opposing team breaks through the line, it could mean the ballgame.
In a more serious context, one might think of a battle scene between units of opposing armies. The officers of one side issue the command to their soldiers to “Hold the line!” In this case, if the line is not held people will die or be captured by the enemy. Not holding the line could mean loss of the battle, maybe even the war.
Even more serious is the call to “Hold the line!” in reference to the need for the Lord’s church to uphold the doctrinal truth of the gospel. If a football team doesn’t hold the line, they might lose a football game. In the bigger picture of life, that’s not really a big deal. In the case of war it’s a more serious matter; a battle or a war lost if the line is not held. Even so, that has to do with the physical, the temporal realm. This world, and all life in it, will ultimately come to an end anyway.
But when it comes to the church holding the line on true doctrine, that has to do with eternity! The church’s identity is based upon what it believes and teaches and practices. Its purity hinges on its faithful adherence to the truth of God’s word. The word “doctrine” simply means “teaching.” What the church teaches means everything as to maintaining its faithfulness to God. If the church does not teach and uphold the truth of God’s word, it could lose its identity as His true church (Rev. 1:20, 2:5).
The church is responsible for teaching the gospel of salvation to those throughout the world who are lost in sin (Eph. 3:11; Mk. 16:15). If the church does not teach the truth, if it changes the truth, if it waters down the truth, souls that might be saved could be lost for eternity.
This congregation must remain determined to “Hold the line!” As Christians, we need never be embarrassed for firmly believing in God and living by His word. Indeed, we need to stand tall and hold forth the truth when it is contradicted by some in the world who think they know better. Our faith is not blind; it is based upon objective truth (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:1).
Our identity as His church is dependant upon our holding the line doctrinally. Our salvation and the salvation of souls we can reach with the gospel is dependant upon it. We must never waver, we must never compromise, we must remain always determined to “Hold the line!” of truth…
Gary L. Hutchens