As Paul draws this epistle to a close, he gives some five final words of exhortation before he signed off. These are good reminders for all of us to bear in mind.
“Watch” – Literally, to stay awake. Be vigilant! This word appears 22 times in the New Testament. In the 13 gospel appearances, it was used by the Lord himself with direct reference to watching with the intent to be ready for His coming. Peter used it in connection with sobriety to be on guard against the devil (1 Peter 5:8). Jesus also used it three times in Revelation, all in connection with watching to be prepared for His coming (cf 3:2, 3; 16:15).
“Stand fast in the faith” – Be firm in your commitment to the system of faith given once and for all to the saints (cf Jude 3). “The faith,” meaning the one true system of faith, appears nearly 40 times in the New Testament, ALL of them after the establishment of the church. Other places “the faith” is in the original text but not rendered in the English (cf Gal 3:26).
“Be brave” – I love the King James rendering here, “quit you like men.” The original word contains the Greek andras, meaning specifically “a man or men” (cf 1 Tim 2:8). It’s not that women can’t be brave, but there is (or should be) an inherent bravery in males. Society is trying to shame bravery and chivalry out of our boys and young men. May it never be so! The church needs brave men!
“Be strong” – From a root meaning to be powerful, but here rendered in such a way so as to command continued growth of inner strength and empowerment. The original root is found only once in the New Testament, “Humble yourselves under the MIGHTY hand of God (1 Peter 5:6). This word appears four times, once concerning the growing John the Baptist (Luke 1:80) and once concerning the growing Jesus of Nazareth (Luke 2:40).
“Let all you do be done in love” – What a beautiful sentiment with which to regulate all these things. Lest we think that bravado is bravery or contending for the faith requires incivility, Paul reminds us that all is to be done in love. It wasn’t very far back in this epistle where Paul told us of love’s value and virtues.
The last line of this epistle is particularly moving. Though the entire letter was written to correct serious errors, Paul confirms his love to the brethren. Just because they were doing wrong had no effect on his love for this church.