If You Continue

Colossians 1:21-23 ESV

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Now Reconciled

As believers in Jesus Christ, we were once (past tense) alienated from God, hostile in mind towards him, doing evil deeds. This means that, as believers in Christ, we should no longer be alienated (indifferent, withdrawn, separated) from God in our hearts, minds and behaviors. We should no longer be hostile (unreceptive, unwelcoming, unaccepting) of him and of his words to us, in our minds (thinking, believing, and attitudes). And, we should no longer be engaged in evil deeds (in sinful and wicked practices).

The reason for this transformation of heart and mind and behavior is because Jesus Christ, God the Son, gave his life up for us on a cross so that we could be freed from our slavery to sin, which is what had separated us from God. Thus, through genuine faith in Jesus Christ, in which we are divinely persuaded to leave our lives of sin behind us and to follow Christ in obedience, we are restored back to God as though we had never sinned against him. But, this means that we no longer live in that sinful state.

For, the purpose of this restoration was not just so that positionally we could claim that we are now saved and righteous before God. The purpose of this restoration was also not just so that we could be assured of heaven as our eternal destiny once we leave this earth. The purpose of this restoration is so that he may present us holy and blameless and above reproach before him. And, again, this is not just positionally, but this is reflected in our attitudes, our values, our thinking, our believing and our behaving.

Holy and Blameless

To be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. And, all throughout the New Testament we are commanded of God to do just that.

We are to come out from the world and be separate. We are not to participate in fruitless deeds of darkness. And, we are not supposed to embrace the world’s philosophies, values, thinking, attitudes and behaviors. But, we are to be like Jesus Christ in all that we are and think and do and say. And, we are to live godly lives, holy and pleasing to God.

We are not to walk in sin or according to our flesh, to fulfill the lusts of our flesh. We should not be seekers after the flesh, but after the Spirit. And, we should walk in integrity, purity, faithfulness, truthfulness and in honor.

We should be those who make it our practice to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s soon return. And, we should do this not only because God commands that we live like this, but because we love him, and because we are so thankful for his salvation and the freedom he has given to us from the power of sin and Satan over our lives.

Therefore, sin should no longer be what we practice, but instead we should be those who practice holiness and righteousness. This is not saying that we will never sin, but that sin should no longer be what is controlling our lives. It should no longer be our habit, our go-to point when we are feeling sad or lonely or depressed or discouraged. Instead, we should be turning to God, to Jesus Christ, to follow him in his ways and in his truth.

If You Continue

And, this is the clincher. We have to continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope we profess. And, that hope truly is that we have deliverance from our slavery (addictions) to sin by faith in Jesus Christ, and because of what he did for us on that cross. Not only are we set free from the control sin once had over our lives, but now we are free to walk in his righteousness and holiness and to live godly lives, pleasing to God. And, because of that we have the hope of eternal life with God.

Basically, what this is saying to us is that our salvation is not a one-time event or experience in our lives that took place sometime in our pasts. We are not saved (past), then we live however we want, and then when we die we get to go to heaven because of some decision we once made to believe in Jesus Christ, or because we invited him into our hearts, or because we once prayed the sinner’s prayer, and so we think we are good to go.

All throughout the New Testament the writers of the gospel make it clear to us that true faith in Jesus Christ is continuous, it is committed, it is faithful, it endures, and it is steadfast in hope, in purity, in holiness and in righteousness. This doesn’t mean we will never sin, but when we do sin we repent of those sins, and we turn back to following our Lord in faithful surrender to his will for our lives. For, we are not only saved (past), but we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Christ returns.

Yet, so many people have this idea that belief in Jesus Christ is nothing more than some one-time decision to invite him into their hearts or to acknowledge who he is and what he did for us on that cross. They think that repeating some words in a prayer guarantees them eternal life with God no matter how they live their lives from that moment on. And, this is just wrong!

They may make a profession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives, but by their actions they deny him. Or, they may profess him as Lord of their lives only as a show, as a performance to make others think that they are righteous and holy while they are as “crooked as a dog’s hind legs,” i.e. very deceptive and dishonest. While they are involved in all kinds of sin, wickedness, deception, trickery and the like, they pretend to be righteous in order to fool others and to cover-up their sinful and wicked deeds, too.

So, they devise a gospel which appeases their consciences and their flesh, and which gives them permission to still live in their sins, and to cover-up their sins, and to lie about them. And, this gospel is a shift from the true gospel, because rather than demanding death to sin, it coddles people’s sins, instead. It tells them that they can “believe” in Jesus and still live sinful lifestyles. So, instead of forsaking their sins, they retain them. They hold on to them and then they say that God’s grace covers them all.

But, the truth of the gospel is that we must die with Christ to sin and self, not just once, but daily. We must daily, by the Spirit, be putting to death the fruitless deeds of darkness, and we must be walking in the Light of Christ and of his truth and in his righteousness. We must walk in holiness and purity and uprightness, in the power of God’s Spirit living within us. And, we must no longer practice what is unholy, ungodly, immoral, impure and wicked.

For, if we live to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have the hope of eternal life with God, no matter what we confess with our mouths or say we believe in our hearts. But, if we walk according to the Spirit, and daily we are dying to sin and self, and if we continue in this lifestyle of trusting in Jesus Christ with our lives, and submitting to his Lordship over our lives until he returns or until we die and go home to be with him, then we have the hope of eternal life with God.

This is not my thinking. This is the Word of God which says this. So, check it out for yourself. Study the Word. Read the scriptures in context, too, for context is everything. And, let the Holy Spirit of God reveal to you the truth of what his word says with regard to our salvation and our eternal life with God. And, then live what his Word teaches, and continue in it until Jesus returns or until he takes you home. You will be eternally thankful you did.

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Monday, November 12, 2018 – Additional Scriptures on this subject: Jn. 8:31-32; Rom. 11:17-24; I Co. 15:2; II Tim 2:10-13; Heb. 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; I Jn. 2:24-25; Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 6:35-66; Jn. 10:27-30; Ac. 26:16-18; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; and 1 Jn. 1:5-9.

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