If You Continue in the Faith

He has Delivered Us
Colossians 1:13-14 ESV

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

The reason that Jesus Christ gave his life for us on that cross was to rescue (deliver) us out from the power, authority, influence, and control of darkness (sin, wickedness, evil, immorality) over our lives. And it was to transfer us (to change our place) to the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

For, Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. With his blood he bought us back for God (he redeemed us) so that we would now be God’s possession and we would now honor God with our bodies (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; 1 Co 6:19-20).

By God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we die with Christ to sin, and we are raised with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We are to no longer continue living in sin, for Jesus delivered us from the dominion of sin. For our old self was crucified with him so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to righteousness.

But this is not a one-time experience. This is a lifetime experience. For, we don’t just die with Christ to sin once, but daily. By the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh and we are walking (in practice, in conduct) no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 3:4-10]

You Were Once Alienated
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.”

Our salvation from sin is not just forgiveness of sins, removal of punishment for sin, and the promise of heaven when we die. It is deliverance from our enslavement to sin, so we now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. We were going one direction (to sin), now we have made a U-turn, and we are going the opposite direction (to Christ).

We were living in sin, now we are living to God. This is all about change. We were alienated from God and doing evil deeds, but now we are reconciled to God, and we are doing what is righteous and holy, by God’s power and strength, and because of his grace to us. Salvation from sin changes us. It doesn’t leave us where we were still in bondage to sin.

But we have to continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that we heard (or should have heard). And what we should have heard is that we are to put off our old self with its deceitful desires, and we are to be changed in heart and mind, and we are to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

If we didn’t do that, by God’s grace, and in his power, and/or if we have not continued in that, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the (full) gospel (the whole counsel of God), then we don’t have the promises of salvation from sin and eternal life with God. Not my words! This is what the Scriptures teach. We have to continue in Christ until the very end.

[Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 1 Jn 2:24-25]

Shifting from the Hope

To shift from the hope of the gospel which we should have heard, which has been described in this writing, is to change, to move away from, to turn from. It is to go back to or to continue living like we did before we professed faith in Jesus Christ. It is to walk by the flesh and by our feelings rather than to walk by faith in Jesus Christ in his righteousness and holiness.

It is to return to or to remain living for self, for sinful desire and pleasure, and for the lusts of the flesh, not to please the Spirit of God. It is to become enthralled once again with intoxication to sin, to following one’s feelings, and what feels good, even if it is bad, and even if it has the potential of bad consequences. For, it is all about the pleasure of the moment.

It involves living foolishly, doing what one wants to do, without regard for how that impacts other people, and even without regard for who gets hurt in the process. For, it is the exhilaration of the moment that one lives for, like falling in love with someone or having a romantic affair. It is stupid, but when intoxicated with lust, people do stupid things.

So, the encouragement here is to continue in the true faith and the true gospel, to die with Christ daily to sin and to self, to deny self, and to walk in obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant). It is to no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, in sin, but it is to walk according to the Spirit in his righteousness and holiness.

We don’t do any of this in our own power and strength, though. We can’t! It is impossible to please God through works of our own flesh. But we are called of God to do good works, but they are the works of God that he planned for us to walk in them by his Spirit, in his power and strength, and under his guidance and direction. This is what we must do (Eph 2:10).

My Sheep

An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV

My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.

So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.

Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…

They know my voice, so they follow me.

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