Never give in!
The phrase "Never give in" isn't hard to understand and even though it is indeterminate it isn't vague. That is, its meaning is clear even if it doesn't specify a particular setting in which we should "never give in." The phrase while it always means the same thing, means more or less depending on what the speaker has in mind and what the stakes are. I've heard the phrase used to inspire someone who wished to achieve success in his/her chosen sport or endeavor (like boxing, running or writing). In the course of a complete 1941 speech at Harrow, Winston Churchill used the phrase that became famous: "Never give in!" In the middle of WWII with England taking an awful beating and the word was that German troops were preparing for a full scale invasion, the words, "Never give in!" (he didn't say, "Never give up!") have added significance. They had the response to the surrounding events imbedded in them.
It was usual for Paul to open his letters by saying he was an apostle of Jesus Christ but we're not to suppose that the opening was always a matter of convention like our "Dear Sir". In light of the Galatian heresy that offered Jewish national righteousness as the true gospel, Paul's announcement that he was no man's apostle, no church's apostle—that announcement had added significance.
His apostleship is being attacked, he is accused of not teaching what the Jerusalem church authorized him to teach and that what he was teaching (salvation for all people apart from the Jewish Torah and Torah-keeping) was false. He makes it clear that no man or group of men commissioned him—God himself in Jesus called him to the task and it made no difference to him what church leaders did or did not say; he knew whose servant and apostle he was and he knew what gospel was committed to him by the Lord; all that he goes on to establish.
In light of passages such as 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, F.F. Bruce said of Paul that he was the most accommodating of men but that when it came to the gospel he was absolutely inflexible—he wouldn't budge an inch or "give in" for a moment (see Galatians 2:5).
There's enough insecurity in most of us (not to claim humility) that if we're pressed hard by the esteemed or acclaimed we begin to doubt what we were sure of earlier.
There's something truly healthy in that—up to a point. To ignore or dismiss in cavalier fashion the thinking of the centuries will say more about our stubbornness and/or ignorance than about our courage. It isn't the first time I've toiled for weeks in research only to come up with "a discovery" that several hours in a history of theology would have shown was not only well known but so well developed that no reasonable person would doubt it (if it was true) or teach it (if it was false). For more than one reason P.T Forsyth, in his usual uncompromising way, insisted that nobody should be allowed to mount the pulpit that hadn't become very familiar with the writings of those who've gone before. We can become too full of ourselves to allow anyone to rule over us and our love affair with democracy and individualism can seduce us into thinking we don't need the stabilizing effect of many others.
Just the same, the Lord of our conscience is not the Church or the popular vote or the opinion of those with a reputation and there are some truths that are so deeply imbedded in us that we can do no other than say, "Here I stand. God help me!" In light of his meeting with the resurrected Jesus, in light of the truth revealed to him, the commission thrust upon him and the experience of the gospel he had preached among the Gentiles, Paul told the Galatians, "You didn't call me!" He told the Jerusalem church and its esteemed leaders, "You didn't call me!" He told the whole big round teeming world, "You didn't call me!"
He said, "I may be the least of all saints and I may not be worthy to be called an apostle and I may be the chief of sinners but if it pleased Him to save me and call me to this place of service it doesn't matter to me or Him what you think or say!"
There is one God and Father, one Holy Spirit and there is one Lord Jesus Christ. That being the case, all others are relativized.
If in deed and in truth we cling to that one true God what does it matter if the popular and the powerful curl their lips and whisper what they "know" or know about us? What does it matter how great the crowd the bandwagon has attracted? The crowd didn't save us, forgive us, sustain us or bless us with our places of service; the esteemed leaders didn't hang on the cross for us or burst through the gates of Death into immortality for us and they didn't call us on to the stage of life to do service for the King.
It's not about us but it's not about them either! It's all about Him!