Saturday, April 14, 2007

Colossians 1:21-23 -- If You Continue!

21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel…

We were enemies of Christ because of our evil behavior. But when we became reconciled to God through Christ, we were made clean, our past sins were cleared, and we became empowered to stop our evil behavior. Why, because we are now in Christ. However, there is a big “if” statement. Verse 23 states that we are able to be presented holy, without blemish, and free from accusation IF we continue in our faith, established and firm – not moved. What does it mean to continue in our faith? One thing I notice from this passage is the possibility of not continuing in our faith. Paul was writing to a Colossian church that was besieged with heretical teachings that was apparently causing some to not "continue" in the faith.

The use of the phrase “if you continue” indicates that our faith is a daily decision, not a one-time event or proclamation. We must daily take up our cross and follow Christ. We must remain and abide in him. We must continue in our faith! Let's always remember that it is only by the grace of God and because of Christ that we are reconciled and that we can continue. It is all Jesus, but requires our responding to him.

It is when we continue in our faith that we can continue to put (keep) our evil behavior to death. Daily submitting to him is the only way we can be sanctified. Paul is again presenting the importance that both justification (being reconciled to Christ, v.21-22) and sanctification (continuing in our faith, v.23) play in our salvation.

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