What Does Colossians 1:23 Mean?

if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

Colossians 1:23(NASB)

Verse of the Day

The good news of the glorious gospel of grace should give every believer a joy and assurance in our eternal security in Christ, and the many precious promises that God Himself has proclaimed are 'yes' and 'amen' in Him. Christ's finished work on the Cross, paid the full price for our sins and has already been fully accepted on our behalf by our Heavenly Father: "For there is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."

As forgiven sinners we ALL became members of the Body of Christ at salvation. We were placed in eternal union with Him and positioned in Christ through time and into eternity. We have been forever redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, reconciled to God, and returned into fellowship with the Father Who has removed our sin as far as the east is from the west and has given us His unchanging assurance that He will remember our sins no more. And one day we shall all be confirmed blameless, for we have been reconciled by the merit of Christ alone, not because of our own merit. We can be confident this is true because God's Word is steadfast and sure, and God's truth stands fast forever and ever.

But in a wonderful chapter that describes with unspeakable joy the glorious expectation of the Body of Christ, and the wonderful inheritance of the saints that is kept for us in heaven by the power of God, this single verse has often become a stumbling block. This verse has caused many Christians to question whether Christ's finished work on the Cross is sufficiently powerful to keep them saved. And this same verse has also been used by some unscrupulous and legalistic church leaders as a threat against the eternal security of the Body of Christ, in order to gain control over the members of their congregations.

And yet, we are informed in earlier verses that we, who in times past were once alienated from God and without hope in the world, have now been reconciled to Him. And Scripture repeatedly states elsewhere that this union with Christ can never be broken. In HIM we have redemption through His blood which in and of itself has already qualified us to be partakes of the inheritance of the saints. Our eternal security is not dependent upon what we DO but on what Christ has already DONE for us. It is through His sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection that He Himself will present the whole Church holy, unblamable, and unreprovable in His sight.

How sad that such confusion within the Church has arisen over that little word 'if'. But how important to recognise that the meaning of this first class conditional clause is: 'IF' - and I know that you will, for then there is no conflict, but rather continued assurance that Christ has accomplished ALL on our behalf. Paul writes: "But 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 - if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel." Because Paul is writing this from the standpoint of I know that you will do this because it depends of Christ, not on you - then this little word 'IF' carries with it the understanding I know that you will continue in the faith....

It is the collective Body of Christ that is being called to continue in the faith in this verse: "If you (ALL) continue in the faith...And it is Christ Himself who has promised to build His Church and to sustain all members of His Body to the end so that together we will all be found blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are one in Him, sanctified and set apart for God once for all, through the offering of the blood of Christ Jesus our Saviour. And God has pronounced it sufficient.

A day is coming when the Church, which is the Body of Christ, will be presented holy and without blame to God the Father in heaven, and Christ's death on the Cross qualifies Him to fulfil all that He has promised to the members of His Body. Praise God that this truth is confirmed over and again in Scripture: Our initial salvation did not depend on our abilities. Our current sanctification does not depend on our merit. Our future glorification is not contingent upon what we do but on what Christ did for us all, on Calvary's Cross. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that my salvation, sanctification, and glorification, does not depend on what I do but on what Christ has already done for me. Thank You that You have promised to build Your Church and will one day present us all to the Father in heaven as a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that we will all be holy and without blemish before You. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

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