"And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach- 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 1:21-23 NASB It's definitely true, there's an app for everything. I had recently bought a new phone and in my curiosity, I set out to discover its many secrets. So I went to Google. I knew I was just a search away from an article, a YouTube video or some user forum that would reveal the treasures I sought. Out of the many tips, and tricks, and apps I discovered one seemed to really pique my interest. It was called IFTTT. Don't try to say it, it's an acronym. It stands for "if this, then that". In the English language, this is called a conditional sentence and in particular a "zero conditional" sentence. Like its namesake the app tells my phone "if" this condition occurs, "then" this action must happen. In our text today the apostle Paul reminds the people of Colossae of the glory of Jesus Christ, both who He is and what He has done for them. Paul reminds them of their place in God's story. He tells them that they were once alienated from, hostile in mind toward and engaging in deeds contrary to God, but that through the bloody death of Jesus on the cross they were being reconciled to that very same God. God's goal; to present each one of them before Himself holy, blameless and beyond reproach. Now the church at Colossae had heard the same gospel message that had transformed the rest of the ancient world. (1:6) At the heart of that message was a phrase Paul wrote to another church not even 100 miles away; Ephesus. Paul wrote, "we are saved by grace through faith." That is to say that nothing we do could save us nor warrant God wanting to save us. The action and desire belong to God alone. Our responsibility, however, is to believe this truth in faith! There's no doubt the people of Colossae are genuine Christians either. After all, Paul says of them that they were "formerly alienated from God" implying that now they are not. With this issue clear, Paul issues his IFTTT (if this, then that). Paul says, "IF you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast and not moved away from the hope of the gospel you have heard", THEN everything that he had declared before would remain true: reconciliation, holiness, blamelessness and an irreproachable character before God. This is where you and I come in. God has called us in salvation to the beginning of a journey not the end of one. His saving grace demands the response of faith. And over, and over again the scripture declares that we are to "continue in", "stand firm" upon and "hold fast" to this faith.
Let us always remember church to run well the race that is set before us and not to sit idly by and allow the finish line to fade from view.
Questions to consider: How do you continue in your faith? Have you ever stalled out in your faith? If so, what did you do once you felt God's conviction?