The book I am using
Scripture: Colossians 1:21-23
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
From the ESV
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 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, 23 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.
He then describes who I NOW am: a person reconciled to God by the death of Christ. I am now presented holy and blameless before God.
He then adds this caveat: This will be so AS LONG AS I continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not being someone who shifts around, unable to make up my own mind. I need to hold fast to the hope of the gospel. If I do so, I will continue to be presented before God as holy and blameless. This gospel that has been proclaimed in all creation. The gospel to which Paul is a minister of.
Ooh... I just have to think about that for a while. The hope of the gospel that has been proclaimed n ALL OF CREATION under heaven. Think about that for a minute. Creation proclaims the hope of the gospel.
How many times have I heard from others, and even said myself, that if people truly look at the world around us, they can see God. All this around us wasn't some big cosmic accident. It's God at work, proclaiming who he is. All we have to do is look and see.
So here I am, a person who once was filled with nastiness, changed by the death of Christ to be able to presented before God as holy and blameless. A fact that will hold true as long as I hold true to the gospel. I am helped in this by the world around me that proclaims the hope of the gospel as well. Isn't that just too cool? Seriously. Think about it for a while.
Think of what that means as we witness to those around us. How we can point to things in nature that proclaim who God is. How we can point out how we've been changed by the death of Christ. We can hold out this hope of the gospel to them. I have to admit, I get a bit "ach! how do I do that?" but I needn't be like that. Proclaiming the greatness and wonder of God should be a natural for me. I am a part of his created work, and ALL of creation shouts out the hope of the gospel. My mind is feeling full. :)
I need to see myself as God sees me. I need to be more aware of what I was created to do. To be a person who proclaims God.
Paul shows people their past (doers of evil), and he shows people their present. Our present is that we are seen by God as holy and blameless. We need to keep these things in mind as it points us to the saving work of Christ.
2. Why does Paul qualify what he has just stated by saying 'if indeed you continue in the faith' and why does he link this specifically to the 'the gospel that you heard' on the one hand and the fact that he was a 'minister' of the gospel on the other?
Yes, Christ has redeemed us. But our faith is not a static one. We need to hold on to what we've been given. The realness of our faith is shown in how we are not sidetracked by things that aren't of God. The hope of the gospel is what we do not shift from and needs no adding to.