IF Indeed We 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.”

When we come into this world as infants, we are born with sin natures in the image of Adam, the first man God created, and the first man to sin against God. We are separate from God, unable in our flesh to be approved by God and to share in his righteousness and holiness. So God the Father sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to the earth to take on human form and eventually to die on a cross. When he died, our sins died with him, so that by faith in him we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. By his grace, through God-given faith, we are saved.

[Rom 3:9-26; Rom 5:12-19; 1 Co 15:21-22,42-49; 2 Co 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24]

Now, by faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin. Therefore, we are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For if sin is what we obey, and not obedience, it will end in death, not life eternal (See Romans 6:1-23).

But where does this faith come from? Not from us (Ephesians 2:8-10), because it is not of our own doing. Jesus Christ is the author and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2), and God is the one who gifts us such faith, so this faith is of God and it is gifted to us by God, and so it will align with God’s moral character and with his expressed will for our lives.

Also, we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ. And the word “faith” means to be persuaded. And since this faith comes from God he is the one who persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience (John 6:44; Luke 9:23-26).

So, we can’t make up in our own minds what it means to believe in Jesus. The Scriptures have to define that for us, and oh boy do they ever! For the Scriptures make it clear that the faith that saves dies with Christ to sin and lives to him and to his righteousness. It walks in obedience to our Lord’s commands (New Covenant) and it no longer walks in (practices) sin. And it daily dies to sin and to self and follows the Lord in obedience in walks of holiness and righteousness, true to the end.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

But all this is of God and not of our own doing. Yet, by faith in Jesus Christ we must surrender our lives to the will of God and walk in that faith that has been gifted to us. And that means following our Lord’s instructions to us and the teachings of the New Testament apostles on what it means to be true followers of Jesus Christ and to be “in Christ.” For we don’t “get saved” (past) and now heaven is secured us regardless of how we live our lives.

For, to be reconciled of God to God means that I change, exchange; properly, decisively change, as when two parties reconcile when changing to the same position; usually used in a redemptive sense of a sinner reconciling to the Lord; to change from enmity with God to friendship, fellowship, partnership with God. It is about exchanging the old life for the new life in Christ Jesus (source: biblehub.com).

And the old life was a life of sin where we were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds. But the new life is a life that has been delivered from slavery to sin and now, by the Spirit, is walking in holiness and in righteousness in obedience to our Lord, in the power of God, by his Spirit. For the purpose of our reconciliation to God is so he can present us holy and blameless and above approach before him.

But this is not automatic just because we made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Notice the “If” clause, which is a conditional clause. If indeed we continue in the faith (in practice), stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which we should have heard (Ephesians 4:17-24), then he will present us as holy and blameless and above reproach before him.

And these conditional clauses are all throughout the New Testament. For if we walk in sin, making sin our practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God, regardless of what our lips have professed (see verses noted above).

Leap for Joy

An Original Work / August 2, 2011
Based off of Luke 6:20-36

Leap for joy in that day.
Great is your reward in heaven.
Blessed are you who are poor;
Blessed are you who hunger now.
You will be satisfied and
You will laugh if you weep now.
Blessed are you when men hate you
And exclude you because of Christ.

Leap for joy in that day.
Love your enemies who hate you.
Do them good; say kind things;
Pray for those who treat you wrong.
If you love those who love you
What reward is there for you?
Love your enemies and your
Reward will be great in heaven.

Leap for joy in that day.
You will be sons of the Most High.
Be ye kind; merciful
To the ungrateful always.
If you love those who love you
What reward is there for you?
Do to others as you would have
Them do to you every day.

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