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Volume 22 - Page 7 of 214 Index | Zoom | |
Returning, therefore, to Col. 1: 23, we find that we are not dealing with a doubt, but
with a strong affirmative. When the Lord said, "If I go away, I will come again", it was
not the expression of a doubt; and Colossians is equally certain. The continuing in the
faith, having been grounded and settled (for so the perfect tense should be translated), is
the fruit that gives sure evidence of the root beneath the soil. Much the same teaching is
repeated in Col. 2: 5-7. The apostle is rejoicing in their order and in the steadfastness of
their faith, and says: "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in
Him, having been rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith."
Walk is a manifestation of life as Col. 3: 7 shows: "In the which ye also walked
some time when ye lived in them."
A special prominence is given to the hope of the gospel here in Col. 1: 23. As the
epistle to the Hebrews shows, hope is an anchor, and when fellow-believers become
uncertain of their hope, or lose the apprehension of its distinctive character by merging it
with the hope of the epistles written during the Acts, there is need for prayer and
watchfulness, for this is often the beginning of more serious delusion. The statement of
verse 23 should be read in conjunction with verses 5 and 6:--
"For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word
of the truth of the gospel which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth
forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard it, and knew the grace of God in
truth" (Col. 1: 5, 6).
"The hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every
creature which is under heaven" (Col. 1: 23).
It is hardly necessary to point out that these verses do not affirm that every creature
under heaven actually heard this message. What it does convey is that all barriers are
gone. This gospel knows no limits under heaven; its parish is "all the world".
In connection with Col. 1: 23, and its emphasis upon the evidences of faith, we add
the following which may be of service to any who have been concerned by the question
there raised: Does membership of the Body depend upon knowledge?
Those readers who have read the articles dealing with the dispensational place of
John's Gospel, or who are well acquainted with the witness of The Berean Expositor, will
be aware that we do not consider membership of the Body of Christ to be co-extensive
with salvation. We believe that it is not true to say that every believer to-day, whatever
his attitude to the revelation of the mystery, is necessarily a member of the Body of
Christ. When we instance those who not only do not believe the truth of the prison
epistles, but who actively oppose it, we are sometimes met with the objection: "You
make membership of the Body depend upon knowledge." It may be of service to
consider the validity of this objection.
Suppose for a moment we leave the question of the Body, and turn our attention to the
matter of salvation in its broader issues. Let us take the declaration of Acts 16::
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16: 31). It would be