Charlie Albright wrote an excellent post titled "Continue in the Gospel" that I was very blessed by and wanted to pass on to you. Charlie has a great blog that I read all the time (and have added to this blogroll) that is aptly titled "Renewing Thoughts". Be sure to check Renewing Thoughts out!
"Continue in the Gospel
"He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister." (Colossians 1:22-23)
The gospel is such a treasure. We who were at one time far off have now been reconciled to God. Not because we tried really hard to get to God and finally did, but because God came to get us while we were still ungodly and wicked. And he came to get us by sacrificing himself upon the cross. Jesus, the Son of God, reconciled us by His death. And this death is “in order” to present us holy, blameless, and above reproach before him.
But this faith is not a stagnate claim of fire insurance. We must “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast” to retain the benefits of it. That is the call, to “continue.” To keep going on and on along the same path, not stopping to some other distraction. We are to continue “stable and steadfast.” Not tripping over thoughts of “maybe I should try another road of beliefs.” No, our eyes are fixated in completing what we have set out to do. But what is this journey we are to remain stable and steadfast on? The answer for Paul is simple, “the hope of the gospel.” The gospel message of Christ’s reconciling ministry is to be the road of their faith which they continue in, stable and steadfast, without shifting.
So to the gospel is the root of our assurance. The hope of what is ours in Christ is the rock of our salvation. When our sins and failures amass before our eyes and other gospels present themselves before us, we are to continue in the hope! I don’t know about you but when I start to think God is distant because of my sins other gospels come to me. “read the word more. pray more. make sure to reduce the amount of sin your life by 5% in the coming month. etc” But these are not the one gospel which I heard. The gospel of Christ’s work, reconciling me to God as a blameless, holy son, is the message that I am to remain steadfast.
So when doubts and questions about my salvation and standing with God come, I am to continue. Continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the gospel. Because the gospel is the source of my assurance."
I made the following comment on Charlies blog (in response to the above post): "Well put, Charlie. Philippians 2:12-13 came to mind as I was reading your post. “12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
Some people interpret “working out your salvation” to mean we should not have assurance of our salvation, but I believe it goes with what you are saying…that the Gospel is alive and active within us (verse 13) and no matter what happens we must cling to it, grow in it and pursue the promises of the Gospel through it without shifting to strange and false religions and perversions of the true Gospel. All of Philippians 2 speaks to that issue richly…as does Hebrews 4 (particularly verse 12)."