The challenge Paul was issuing the Colossians and us is our ability to stay faithful in Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. An easy task on the surface and every Christian will say that they do, but do you completely. The Colossians had begun to slip back into a “works” mentality by incorporating segments of the Law into their daily actions of their walk of faith. This is no different than holding on to one of man’s doctrines or misguided scriptures from the Old Testament as an action item for proof of one’s own righteousness. We are to walk by faith, not by sight (actions). Does this mean we are not to do anything? On the contrary, there is much for Christians to do while here on earth. The difference we are to do these actions to help spread the gospel, not develop our own standard of righteousness.
Colossians 1:23, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
I want to focus on this verse by itself because it is often preached by itself as if it is an “either or” statement from God. Paul of all people is not saying if you don’t walk in faith God is going to come and take away your salvation. You are not going to backslide into Hell if you have allowed sin to overtake you. Verse 23 is not a negative implication that if you don’t walk in faith that you will lose your salvation. I have even heard it preached that if you fall back into sin after becoming “Born Again” that to come back to Jesus is to put Him up on the cross again just for you. The “one and only” scripture that supports this is Hebrews 6:6 “if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame”. KJV used the words “fall away”, but the Greek word for “fall away” is PARAPIPTO means to become apostate. An apostate is a person who forsakes his religion, cause, or party (Dictionary .com unabridged). Forsaking is not just slipping away or stumbling and loosing ones fervor, forsaking is outright rejection of what was once believed in. How can a person totally forsake what they do not fully understand? Hebrews 6:6 is clarified by requirements of a person having great personal understanding in verses 4 & 5 and then forsaking what they know. I have heard the argument that “Adam fell from grace and so can we”. This is another misunderstanding of the word of God. True Adam was a man that was created without a sin nature both pure and holy and he did fall, but he was a man that had to stand on his own before God. Adam did not have the blood of Jesus, the price paid for his sins, to stand on like Christians today have. No human can ever live a perfect, flawless, and holy life; only God can do that. That is why it is so important to understand that Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. That is the only way His sacrifice could pay for every sin past, present, and future.
I am not saying that every person that runs down the aisle and accepts Jesus as their Lord and savior is truly “born again” and guaranteed to go to heaven. You have to know and understand what your salvation is. Romans 10:9 states to believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, not be whipped up in your emotions to go run down the aisle and shake the preacher’s hand, making a fearful halfhearted declaration. People can have an emotional stirring during a powerful sermon and make a quick decision without understanding what they just received. And they could have been touched by the Lord and were sincere in their proclamation of Jesus as their Lord and savior. Only God knows for sure at that moment. If born again people continue in their search and study of the gospel of Jesus Christ they can solidify their understanding of salvation. If they never learn what they have they cannot live in it. There is an old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I believe it is possible for a person to run down the aisle and shake the preachers hand, make some confession of their sins, and never actually have fulfilled Romans 10:8-10 which says if “you believe in your heart” and “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord”. True understanding is the only way to believe in your heart. Confession without belief may leave you short. And there is no way a baby sprinkled by a priest can understand what they just did.
Example: Say you own a house and buy an insurance policy, but you never read that policy and understand what it covers or how to enforce it? Then if your house floods and all is destroyed leaving you poor and destitute without anything, and you never invoke that policy or call the insurance company to file a claim to rebuild your house and life. Is it the policy’s fault you are now poor and on the streets? NO! Yet people every Sunday will make such a decision with their salvation and never follow up on understanding it. I am not sure this type of person is truly saved in the first place. That is between them and God, but the word is clear in that you have to understand what you have and make a conscience decision to reject it to lose your salvation. This is possible for a true believer that allows sin to control them for an extended period of time to reach a point in their thinking where the sin hardens their heart paving the way for them to knowingly reject their salvation. Remember that complete rejection, PARAPIPTO, is not stumbling and according to Jesus there is only one unforgivable sin, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31). Verse 23 is not saying that backsliders who do not know what they have are guaranteed to lose their salvation.
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