Saturday, February 11, 2017

Colossians 1:23

Paul brings this section on the preeminence of Christ’s objective work – redemption to a close by giving assurance to the believers at Colossae. The “if” we have to start this verse is not a conditional clause built upon the future. The “if” used here is an argumentative clause. The redemption of Christ is not contingent upon our doing anything, our assurance is built upon what He has already accomplished. We could use the word “since” in this place. Paul’s point is that they had been reconciled, it was an accomplished fact.

The Greek word epimeno translated as continue carries the image of staying at or with, tarrying still, or remaining[1], in this case “in the faith.” The faith can mean the creedal system that brings about the moral conviction or a firm conviction based upon what they had heard. Basically, it is speaking of the Gospel message that the Colossian believers had heard and placed their firm trust and reliance upon.

Paul builds upon this precept with some building metaphors. Firmly established (Greek themelioo) and steadfast (hedraios) pictures the firm foundation upon which a building is established. The church and the believer’s trust were firmly settled in Jesus Christ. The idea that the truth of the Gospel was not an evolving or changing ideology, but was stable built o the foundation of Jesus Christ.[2]

Hope (a confident expectation) is exposed in the Gospel. “We read of: the hope of righteousness (Gal. 5:50; the hope of His calling (Eph. 1:180; the hope of eternal life (Tit. 3:7); the living hope (1 Pet. 1:3 – 4); and the hope that we have (Heb. 6:19)[3] Paul gives three arguments against their being moved away from the Gospel. First, they had heard it when it was preached, second, the universal presentation of the Gospel, and finally, Paul’s ministry in the Gospel.[4]

Paul’s point in this passage is that they had been reconciled and it was an accomplished fact. So, if one is a child of God, they will continue in the faith grounded and settled. You will not move away from what you have heard and trusted. The test of the reality of a person’s faith is the steadfastness of that faith.

Prayer: Precious Savior, may I live a life that shows that the reality of your redemption and reconciliation lives in me. Amen.

[1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 127. 
[2] Consider the statement made by Jesus to Peter in Matt. 16:18. 
[3] Falwell, Jerry, ed. Liberty Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. Page 2458. 
[4] [4] Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset and David Brown. A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments - Volume 3. Vol. 3. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 2008. Page 444.

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