In this verse Paul speaks to us about the need we have as Christians to continue in the faith until the end of our lives. We are required by God to not turn from the hope we have in Christ and to be committed to him above all. The Christian must walk through many tribulations, temptations, deceptive teachings of men, oppression from men and devils and such before they are through with this world.

To be holy does not begin with moral behavior; it begins with an affection and loyalty to Christ flowing out of knowing him and the salvation he wrought on your behalf. To be holy is to prefer his fellowship to anything else. It is in this mindset that we set our hope on things above and persevere in the faith.

Paul has given the foundation of perseverance in the two previous verses. He reviewed the depths of sin Christians have been delivered from (verse 21). Then he reminded us of the only way to be reconciled to God, which is Christ’s death on our behalf (verse 22a). To emphasize this, he tells us the future of those in Christ is to be presented to God, “Holy and blameless and above reproach (verse 22b).” This is the vision that enables perseverance in the faith.

In verse 23 Paul tells you a requirement to be presented to God this way: “If 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.”

By saying “If you” Paul is not telling you that your persevering in the faith is dependent upon your resolve or strength; rather, he is saying that you must rely on Christ for the rest of your life the way you did at first. There will be storms that blow in from providence; there will be allurements from the world, temptations from the devil, and all manner of troubles in this world, all seeking to shipwreck your faith. Charles Spurgeon said: “Perseverance is the target of all our enemies.”

Paul says the gospel you embraced “…has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven.” He did not mean all men on earth had heard it. He meant that this is God’s declaration of the only way for men to be reconciled to God. It has been declared by God. Anyone who rejects Christ will be cut off from God’s people. Any who fall away from the faith will also be cut off. 

There is no other name under heaven by which men may be saved than Jesus Christ. If you have not Christ, you have no hope. This is an anchor to your faith when in despair, doubts, or any desperate feeling condition. Remember, there is nowhere else to go but Christ. He has the words of eternal life. The committal of your soul to him is not in vain. Hold on to him. Call upon him.

This is also a warning to you when you are tempted by self-confidence, vanity, greed, idolatry or to indulge fleshly lusts of any type. The life of the Christian is faith that involves dying to your sinful nature and honoring the Lord. It involves correction, repentance, confession of sin; humbling ourselves before the Lord when we are under his Word. If you harden your heart when God speaks to you in His word, you are distancing yourself from the Lord. Call upon Him for help in this condition.

Though Paul warns us in this way to be watchful over our souls, he does not mean that one who genuinely knows Christ can be separated from the love of Christ. The Lord Jesus said this about his sheep: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me… I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

Those connected to the head (the Lord Jesus) cannot be severed. Nevertheless, God uses means to promote their preservation and perseverance. Warnings from his word are one such means. Paul knew nothing could separate him from the love of Christ, but who ever walked more holy and watchful than Paul?

Therefore apply these words of the apostle to yourself as they were intended; to help you in your walk with Christ. They remind you that you belong to the Lord. Your destiny is to be presented holy and blameless before him. But you have a race to run, you have journey left through his world. So continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel.