“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.”
Instability in the faith is a core problem in today’s Christianity because Christians make experience the determiner of what they believe rather than the Word of God.
“if indeed you continue in the faith”
Does this “if” indicate that our salvation depends upon us? What if our faith fails? If faith fails, it is an indication that it was not valid saving faith (1 John 2:19). The genuine believer will persevere by the reality of God in his life. It is the perseverance of the Savior that preserves the perseverance of the saints!
In Greek, the “if” indicates an assumption of truth. Paul assumes that the Colossians will continue in the faith. This “if” is not an “if” of the future; it is an “if” of the past. We can translate this “if” as “since.” “Since indeed you continue in the faith.” Our reconciliation is an accomplished fact. Continuance is a test of reality. There is no uncertainty about the believer’s reconciliation. The believer will be uncharged and without blemish when he stands before God (v. 22). Salvation was an accomplished event at the moment of faith.
The word “continue” means to persist in or adhere to the faith. The Colossian heretics were trying to dislodge them from their faith to involve them in asceticism.
Christians are preserved by the perseverance of the Savior.
Some Christians are so conscious of their defects that they are never quite sure they are a Christian. Sometimes they feel they are, and other times they believe they are not a Christian. God does not give us eternal life and proclaims, “Oh, I meant that it was only temporary, and it was only until you sinned enough to lose it.” He does not give you eternal life this year and take it away next year.
Having said that, it does not mean that we are to ignore this verse, which is a flashing red light of warning. Continuance is proof of conversion. If a person says, “I am a Christian” and shows no change in their life, they may not be a Christian. Well, we will wait and see if it is real. We can say that we are Alexander the Great too, but that does not mean it is real. A genuine Christian is preserved by the perseverance of the Savior.