And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard.
Right in the heart of this majestic statement about the reconciling work of Jesus Christ, Paul inserts two little letters (in English translations) that might form the most significant word in all the New Testament as it pertains to the Christian life. He says we were enemies but are now reconciled by the body and blood of Jesus if we continue in the faith.
This pretty big if is not a qualification, but rather an indication of a life reconciled to God. The thought is much like Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians when he urged them to examine themselves to see if they were really of the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume, then, that we might need to know what to look for and what questions to ask to determine if we are really of the faith?
The answer is, those really of the faith will continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not move away from the hope of the gospel and follow other religions or gods. This is what we examine ourselves for. Of course, that does not mean that we will never have momentary lapses of faith or perhaps even a season of prodigal living (I had a long one). But even in those times, the grieved Spirit within will remind us of our conversion, and that too is evidence of a reconciled life to God. (Note: I highly discourage prodigal living at all costs!)
Jesus purchased us with His own blood and gave us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14). So what will the Spirit do in us? He will cause us to continue in the faith, keeping us grounded and steadfast and never moving from the hope of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ.
To follow Jesus Christ and have our sins forgiven is the most important decision we will ever make. Paul says here there will be supporting evidence that will show us and others that our conversion is real.
Excerpt from Body Builders – February 5