Grace Family Bible Church

If We Continue

By: Scott Morton

Colossians 1:21-23

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled [22] In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: [23] If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;


As we come to the next section of this epistle, we see how the Apostle Paul is going to deal with some more things of who we are as the members of the Body of Christ. This is going to occur related to our position and also the practical outworking of our identity in Christ.


The best place to start in a conversation along these lines is to look at who we were. This allows us to be able to make that contrast and be able to see what has been accomplished for us by what the Lord Jesus Christ did on our behalf.


Ephesians 2:1-3

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.


There are several things which Paul says we were. The first of these is we were dead in the issue of sin. We did not have life that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23) and our identity was we were seen as being a sinner (Romans 5:8). This is not a place where anyone wants to be if they are going to have a relationship with God.


Paul also talks about how we walked according to the course of this world. The things which we were doing were fully influenced by Satan, who is the prince of the power of the air. He is the one who has the influence over all of the things which we see in the world today. This is why we are not to be entangled in these things, as this is what he is doing. Too often the members of the Body of Christ are entangled in these things still and end up frustrating the grace of God as a result of the things they are doing.


The Apostle Paul continues in this same epistle laying out further things of who we were:


Ephesians 4:17-18

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:


The description of the individual relates to the lack of understanding they have related to the things of the Word of God. There is no way an unsaved individual can have this understanding, as they do not have the Holy Ghost in them to compare spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:6-16). Without the Word of God, an individual's understanding could only be described as being darkened. When this is the case, the person is alienated from God.


There is only one way someone can get the Holy Ghost in them. They have to put their trust in the gospel message for today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). It is at the moment of belief the Holy Ghost dwells in them and then there can begin the process of enlightenment so they can gain the understanding of what the Word of God actually says.


Titus 1:15-16

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. [16] They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.


Unfortunately there are many who fall into this category. They think they know God and are part of what He is doing. They are not saved and what they are doing is not pleasing unto Him. Everything can only be labeled in the manner which verse 16 describes above.


Paul then goes on to speak about the fact that even these individuals are now reconciled unto God. This happens because of their belief in the gospel message and there are some important truths of what has been accomplished related to this:


2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


The reconciliation being spoken of is something Paul was hoping each individual would be able to receive. This reconciliation involves the individual receiving the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, which happens at the moment of salvation. This is what allows for us to be acceptable unto God and how there can be the restoration of fellowship with God.


Romans 6:3-6

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.


We become identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. The old man has been taken out of the way so we can have the new identity in Christ. This is a glorious truth and is true even if someone has no understanding of what has been accomplished for them. This is truly a miraculous thing and something which the Apostle Paul keeps mentioning throughout his epistles:


Romans 3:23-28

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.


This is a passage that some have tried to state is the gospel message for today. It is very clear from the Apostle Paul has written that the gospel message for today is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. He could not have made it any clearer!


The above passage is actually speaking of some things which are true of individuals. The issue of sin has been dealt with through what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. Paul speaks here about the satisfactory payment for the issue of sin, which is what allows for him to speak later in the epistle about how we have been made free from sin. No other writer could have said these things, as this was the message which was given to Paul.


Paul speaks about the believers are justified (made right) which happens immediately at salvation. This is never taken away from a believer, as Paul identifies in Philippians 1:6 how the good work done is in place until the day of Christ, which is the catching out of the saints. That is why it is the Spirit which functions as a seal to keep us in this state (Ephesians 1:13-14), as we would never have been able to keep ourselves in the state which has been promised.


As a result of this position we have, there is going to be a presentation of the Body of Christ in the heavenly places. We are going to be presented to God the Father at the day of Christ. The following passage speaks of some things related to our being in the heavenly places:


Philippians 3:20-21

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.


The word conversation is used here. This word is looked at by many to just mean talking to someone. There is a different meaning to this word than that:




1. General course of manners; behavior; deportment; especially as it respects morals.


Let your conversation be as becometh the gospel. Phil 1.


Be ye holy in all manner of conversation. 1 Pet 1.


2. A keeping company; familiar intercourse; intimate fellowship or association; commerce in social life. Knowledge of men and manners is best acquired by conversation with the best company.


3. Intimate and familiar acquaintance; as a conversation with books, or other object.


4. Familiar discourse; general intercourse of sentiments; chat; unrestrained talk; opposed to a formal conference.


What I mentioned in conversation was not a new thought.


[This is now the most general use of the word.]


While these definitions from Webster's 1828 Dictionary show the most common use of the word today (number 4), we see how the first definition is what the Apostle Paul was speaking about here. This is our lifestyle. We are a heavenly people and the Lord Jesus Christ is going to present us as such in the heavenly places. This is why we are referred to as His inheritance (Ephesians 1:18). Just as He has an inheritance in us, we also have an inheritance in Him:


Ephesians 1:9-11

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:


The members of the Body of Christ are going to be in the heavenly places with Him. This has been the will of God since before the foundation of the world. God knew what was going to happen and had a plan from the beginning to reconcile the heaven and the earth back to him. This is a guarantee that is tied in with our hope. The promise which has been made to the members of the Body of Christ is different than what has been given to Israel, as they were promised a kingdom on the earth.


The Apostle Paul lists several different things of what we are to be when we are seen as in the heavenly places. The first of these is we are seen as being holy. This is something which can be confusing to people. The following comes from Webster's 1828 Dictionary (only the first two are definitions are listed):




1. Properly, whole, entire or perfect, in a moral sense. Hence, pure in heart, temper or dispositions; free from sin and sinful affections. Applied to the Supreme Being, holy signifies perfectly pure, immaculate and complete in moral character; and man is more or less holy, as his heart is more or less sanctified, or purified from evil dispositions. We call a man holy, when his heart is conformed in some degree to the image of God, and his life is regulated by the divine precepts. Hence, holy is used as nearly synonymous with good, pious, godly.


Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Pet 1.


2. Hallowed; consecrated or set apart to a sacred use, or to the service or worship of God; a sense frequent in Scripture; as the holy Sabbath; holy oil; holy vessels; a holy nation; the holy temple; a holy priesthood.


It is clear this is a special thing for us, as we are being set apart for use in the heavenly places. This is why Paul states several times this is how we are to be described:


Ephesians 1:4

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


Ephesians 5:27

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.


1 Thessalonians 4:7

For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.


These verses show how the Body of Christ is to be viewed. We are considered to be holy in the eyes of God. This was determined before the foundation of the world. The only reason we can be seen this way is because of what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross. This is stated in the following verse:


Colossians 2:13

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;


The next thing which is being said of us is that we will be presented as being unblameable. We have had the issue of sin taken care of and now this is how we can be seen. The reason for this is:


2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


The members of the Body of Christ have the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. This has become a possession of ours the moment we put our trust in the gospel message. Because we have this righteousness, the only way we can be seen is to be considered as unblameable. Nothing can be put to our account, as we have been made free from sin. This is why Paul can talk about the victory we already have in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).


Since we have this position in Christ there should be an impact on who we are and how we are living our life now. This is what the Apostle Paul gets into in the following passage:


Philippians 2:14-15

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: [15] That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;


The members of the Body of Christ are to be an example to the world of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. Just because we have been made free from sin does not mean we are to live a life where we do whatever we want. We are to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to live through us (Galatians 2:20) which means we are to be living according to the doctrine which is laid out in Romans through Philemon. This is the pattern which has been laid out by the Apostle Paul and will allow us to shine as lights in the world. Individuals who do not have salvation should be able to see what the Word has done in us, allowing us to be seen as blameless and harmless in their eyes as well.


This tie in with the next statement of how we are to be presented. We are to be seen as unreproveable. The meaning of this is that there can be no reproof or blame put towards the individual. This results from the issue of sin being taken care of and reflects in how we will be presented in the heavenly places.


Philippians 1:9-10

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; [10] That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;


This statement shows how the members of the Body of Christ are going to be seen. This event being spoken of is often referred to as the rapture by individuals. Paul makes this same statement in 1 Corinthians 1:8, showing this is not something which was just mentioned in a haphazard manner.


We can only be seen this way in our identity in Christ. This is why the Apostle Paul speaks about being purified in Him (Titus 2:14). It is also why he talks about him being seen this way and those who are in eldership positions are seen in this manner as well.


As the Apostle Paul continues in this discussion we come to the statement of if ye continue. This is used by individuals as a statement of how someone can lose their salvation and standing in Christ. We know this is not possible:


Ephesians 1:13-14

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.


It is the Spirit, one part of the Godhead, which functions as the seal which keeps us as a member of the Body of Christ. There is nothing which can break this seal, which means there is nothing which we can do which would destroy our salvation. This is important to note, as so many people would want to try to take this away from you.


Romans 8:1-4

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


We see again a statement related to the position we have. We are identified in the Spirit, which means there can be no condemnation for us. This passage is not talking about practical things. Paul is speaking here about the identification of the believer. We are in the Lord Jesus Christ, which means we cannot have condemnation. The condemnation which is being spoken of here would be the things which would separate us from God for all of eternity.


Since it is not speaking about the position we have, Paul is speaking about how the member of the Body of Christ is functioning. We have clear doctrinal information which would tell us what we are to do.


The use of the word if here is used a challenge to the believer of what they are supposed to do. This is something which is also seen in the beginning of chapter 3, showing the way Paul spoke to these individuals. He would give them a truth they should have already understood and challenges them with deciding if this is actually true. Their knowledge of the Word of God would allow them to see that Paul was giving them the information they needed.


In order to live the life God intends we need to understand the issue of being made free from the law. We are not under the doctrine given to Israel. We cannot attempt to apply those things to our lives. If we do so, we are not pleasing unto God. We are pleasing when we allow this to happen:


Galatians 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


It is the Lord Jesus Christ living out of us when we are following the doctrine laid out in Romans through Philemon. This means we are not trying to do things independently of the doctrine. God does want us to do the right thing, which includes doing good works:


Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


Titus 2:14

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.


These two passages show how good works are intended. This is how we are going to receive rewards in the heavenly places, which we already discussed earlier in this book. They had the example of Paul to look at and they had the written Word to give them the information needed on how to function. We only have the Word of God to use to be able to see how to function. Our functioning is to be according to who we are in Christ.