(Colossians 1:23 ESV)
This is a connection and continuation from the previous verse: “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 . . .” (Colossians 1:22).
At first glance, it appears that the future promise of verse 22 is conditioned upon a believer’s continuing in the faith. This has led some to believe that one’s salvation can be lost. However, that’s not the point Paul was trying to make.
The word “if” in this type of conditional statement is sometimes translated “since.” But here it leans more towards an assumption for the sake of argument. The writer assumes that the condition he’s describing is the reality. In other words, when verse 22 promises, “you will be presented holy and blameless,” and verse 23 says, “if you continue,” this means: “I’m assuming you will continue in the faith.” While this is a statement of affirmation, it is also a statement of evaluation. Are we continuing in the faith?
Paul described continuing in the faith as being stable and unshifting with a locked-on focus on the hope of the gospel. This gospel was not only heard by the Colossians but also proclaimed “in all creation under heaven.” This last statement used hyperbole to refer to the whole region, particularly the Roman empire at the time.
Our situation is not unlike that of the Colossians. We who follow Jesus were reconciled to God through his blood on the cross. This reconciliation came when we heard and believed the gospel. Praise God, this is our present hope too. But while the gospel continues to be proclaimed in all creation, there are still billions who have never heard, and billions who have heard but have not believed.
Billions is not hyperbole. The need is great.
This week, let’s pray:
“Lord, help me to continue in the faith. Keep me stable, steadfast, and unshifting. Enable me to live out the hope to which I cling. Empower me to proclaim the gospel to those who have never heard and to those who have heard but still don’t believe.”
Prayer requests for reaching the unreached:
- Pray for new workers to be burdened and committed to reaching unreached people groups.
- Pray for methods of access to regions of the world currently restricted and closed to the gospel.
- Pray that national believers throughout the world will become burdened for unreached groups in their own nations and in others.
Set a daily reminder at 9:38 to pray, and receive weekly encouragement to guide your prayers.