The Preeminence of Christ Over the Church – Colossians 1:18-23

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Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

August 22, 2010

The Preeminence of Christ Over the Church

Colossians 1:18-23




Have you ever noticed that language causes confusion? You use a word thinking
you are communicating one concept, but those who hear you think of a different
meaning for the word resulting in your original idea becoming confused. This
kind of miscommunication is often at the root of interpersonal conflicts. You
mean one thing, but they understand it as something else. That is why good
communication and working through conflicts are the key to good relationships
with others. When you add translating from one language into another to the mix,
the potential for confusion rises exponentially.

This also occurs in our understanding of the word of God. Because it was
written down in ancient Hebrew and koine Greek (with a few passages in Aramaic),
it is not uncommon to find that we come to wrong conclusions because of a
failure to understand what God had actually said. This can be because the words
used, and especially cultural idioms, do not translate well into another
language, or the translator did not choose the best word to convey the meaning
of the original, or we have the wrong connotation of the word.

An example of this is the word, “church.” Our English word actually has its
origin in a compound word that means “lord’s house.” Because of that, church is
often used in reference to a building that is set apart for religious services
or for the religious services that take place in such a building. Those are the
meanings when people say they are going to church or they had church at a
particular place or time. The word church is also used in reference to the
people that will meet together for such religious services and for the
particular people that have authority over such a group. Those are what is meant
when people say the church gathered together or the church made a decision.
Putting all these together in one sentence can be very confusing – the church
(authorities) called the church (people)
to meet at the church (building) and hold church

While such semantics can be confusing, the greater difficulty, in fact,
tragedy, is that what God has actually said about the church gets lost in the
confusion and man made ideas replace God’s directions. This morning we are going
to be examining Colossians 1:18-24 and what the Apostle Paul states about Jesus
is supreme over the church. Just as we saw last week that Jesus being preeminent
over Creation, so we will find this week that He is preeminent over the Church.

Last week we looked at the first part of this passage that explains Jesus’
position and nature. Colossians 1:15-17 states, “And He is the image of the
invisible God, the first-born of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were
created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether
thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created by
Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold
Jesus is God in human flesh revealing His nature and character to
man, and so He existed before Creation, is the architect, maker and possessor of
all creation, and He holds all of Creation togetherHTML clipboard(See:

The Preeminence of Jesus Over Creation

This week we will be looking at the remaining part of this section in verses
18-23 which read, 18 “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the
beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have
first place in everything. 19 For it was the [Father’s] good pleasure for all
the fulness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to
Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, [I say],
whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21 And although you were formerly
alienated and hostile in mind, [engaged] in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now
reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before
Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach– 23 if indeed you continue in the
faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the
gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven,
and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
” Jesus existed before the Church.
He is the One that brought it into existence. He directs it and accomplishes His
purposes through it. Without Jesus, there is no Church.


Jesus’ Position – vs. 18

The Head of the Church. In order to understand the importance of
Jesus’ position within the church and its practical ramifications, we must first
understand what Scripture means when it talks about the church. Verse 18 states,
“He is also head of the body, the church.” The word church is the Greek
word ekklhsia / ekklêsia
which is better translated as congregation or assembly. The term was used in
Greek society of the citizens of a community being gathered together in a public
place. The congregation is made up of those who belong to the same community and
hold the same citizenship. All true Christians hold a common citizenship in
heaven (Philippians 3:20) and are therefore part of the
same community. Properly then, the Biblical use of the term “church” refers to
the people that make up the congregation.

Paul gives further description of this congregation as being the “body.” He
uses this same analogy several other places – Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; and
Ephesians 3,4 & 5. The idea is simple enough, yet one often missed by those who
claim to be part of the church. Here are some of the practical ramifications of

First, a body is an organism and not an organization, yet many are those that
work hard to organize the church as in a corporation with all sorts of lines of
authority thinking that will make the church successful. While I am all for an
organized body, I am against corporate structure within the church because it is
not about lines of authority but rather opportunities to serve. In an
organization those at the top tell those below them what they are to do. In a
body, each part works in harmony with the other parts for the benefit of the

If a body needs to move, the legs go to work and carry the rest of the body
with them. When the body needs to pick something up, the back and legs bend so
that the arms can swing down and eye can coordinate the hands grasping the
object. The nose senses the danger of smoke while the eyes assess the cause and
the potential harm of the fire so that the rest of the body can either fight the
fire or flee from it. When the feet ache from over use the arms and legs
coordinate so that the hands touch the feet to massage them to make them feel
better. Then there are all the internal organs that work in harmony so that the
body can live. The digestive system is designed so that the body can get
nutrition. The heart, lungs and blood are designed to deliver oxygen to each
cell. The liver and kidneys are designed to clean out impurities. All the parts
of a body need the other parts in order to function properly.

Second, in this passage and others it is clear that Jesus is the head of the
body and not any person or group of people. Man is the one that has come up with
ecclesiastical titles and placed unauthorized authority in those holding them –
pope, cardinal, bishop, etc. They forget that it is Jesus that directs and
builds His church, not man. Even when we examine the few offices God has given
to men within the church that carry some authority, it is for the purpose of
carrying out God’s directives and not for being authoritarian. The word of God
was written down through the prophets and apostles. The purpose of evangelists
and pastor/teachers is to train the body for the work of the ministry. Deacons
and deaconesses are servants by definition. There is an office of leadership in
a local church which does carry authority. The various titles given to it –
elder, presbyter, bishop, overseer, pastor, shepherd, – describe the
qualifications, nature and function of the office and none of them are
authoritarian for the authority rests in the Scriptures and not in the person
holding the office itself. Even the admonishment in Hebrews 13:17“obey
your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls. Let them
do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you”

– is based on godly wisdom given such a person in order to lead. A pastor may
have to exercise strong authority in protecting the flock God has entrusted to
Him from wolves even as Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, but the
attitude the pastor is to have with the flock is described in 1 Peter 5:1-3
“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as [your] fellow elder and witness of
the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be
revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under
compulsion, but voluntarily, according to [the will of] God; and not for sordid
gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your
charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.”


Jesus is the head of the body, the church. All authority in heaven and earth
has been given to Him, so He has the right to command and the ability to enable
His followers to carry out His will of making disciples by going out, baptizing
those that respond to the gospel and teaching them to obey whatsoever He has
commanded (Matthew 28:18-20). He is the one that directs
how His body is to function, and those serving Him are obligated to do His will
in His way. That is to be especially true of those He has placed in leadership
positions since they are to be models of godliness for the rest of the flock.
Jesus is the one that builds His church (Matthew 16:18),
so all His servants need to be careful to follow the blueprint He has given and
follow His commands. Listening to the wisdom of the world in how to attract
people results in building large religious institutions instead of actual
churches which are part of the body of Christ.

The Beginning. Jesus is head of the church because He is also the
beginning. The term used here (arch / archê
) has a wide range of meaning, but in this context it would be best to
understand this beginning in the sense of being the origin. The church has its
origin in Jesus. The very first use of the term is in Matthew 16:18 when Jesus
tells His disciples that He would build His church. Acts is the record of Him
building the church through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The church begins
with the coming of the spirit on the day of Pentecost and empowering those
present to be His witnesses. The Holy Spirit continues that ministry to this day
in empowering Jesus’ disciples to be bold witnesses of the gospel and
proclaiming the mighty deeds of God.

The First-born of the dead. Jesus is also first born of the dead. The
word used here is the same as we saw in verse 15 last week (prwtotokoV
/ prôtotokos) which can be used in the sense of the first child to open the womb
or the first in a series. Quite a few commentators suggest that usage here, but
Jesus is not actually the first one to physically die and be raised back to
life. Elijah raised the widow’s son (1 Kings 17) and
Elisha raised the Shunammite’s son (2 Kings 4). Jesus
Himself raised several people from the dead including the widow’s son
(Luke 7), the Jairus’ daughter (Matthew 9)
and Lazarus (John 11). Now perhaps this could be a
reference to the first of those who would rise from the dead and receive
glorified, resurrected bodies, but that would seem to be adding something to the

The context better supports that the term first-born here is used in the same
manner as in verse 15 in meaning the foremost in importance of those that had
been and of those that would be resurrected in the future. Since His
resurrection was with a glorified body, He is superior to those who had
previously been raised from the dead because they all eventually did die again.
He is also superior since His resurrection with a glorified body is the type and
means by which all future people who will be resurrected. It is in Christ that
we shall be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22), and whatever
our resurrection bodies will be like, it will be like His (1 John


The First in Everything. All these factors taken together are why
Jesus has become first place in all things. By virtue of being the Creator He
was already supreme in Creation. He became supreme in humanity by becoming a
human, living a sinless life, dying as the sacrificial payment for sin, being
raised from the dead in a glorified body, and ascending to heaven to be at the
Father’s right hand. This statement contradicts the claims of the various
heretics in Colossae that either Jesus was not God, a lessor god, not human or
detached from the physical world in someway. They also show why He is the head
of the body, the church.

Jesus’ Nature – vs. 19

In verse 19 Paul remarks on Jesus’ nature and begins an explanation of how
Jesus brought about the church. 19 “For it was the [Father’s] good pleasure
for all the fulness to dwell in Him.”
In the eternal counsel of the Godhead,
the Father took pleasure in filling the Son with all the attributes of deity so
that He is the image of God who is also the architect, maker and possessor of
all Creation. Paul makes similar statements Ephesians 1:23 and Colossians 2:9
about the fullness of deity dwelling in Jesus. Fullness here (plhrwma
/  plêrôma) is the idea of full
measure, complete, sum total, totality and the context show this is in reference
to attributes of deity and savior. The term dwell here (katoikew
/ katoikeô) is one of permanence rather than a temporary sojourning. Both
of these are contrary to what the Gnostics would teach – that Jesus only had
partial attributes of deity and that the aspects of deity were only upon Him
temporarily. Jesus has all the attributes of God and they are His permanently.
He is also the one that would bring about the church through redemption and
reconciliation which Paul expands on in the verses following.

Jesus’ Work – vs. 20

In order for the church to exist there had to be reconciliation between God
and man. Without reconciliation man continues in his sin and lives under God’s
condemnation and abiding wrath. Because God is longsuffering, the fullness of
that wrath is held in abeyance, but is over man like Damocles sword ready to
fall upon him at anytime. God’s kindness and patience should cause man to repent
(Romans 2:4), but man continues on his way in his own self
righteousness. Man could not do anything to correct the problem himself even if
he wanted to because the penalty of sin is death and that would result in
permanent separation instead of reconciliation.

Two weeks ago I talked about redemption, the price paid to purchase us so
that we could be delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the
kingdom of Christ. The redemption price was the death of Jesus on the cross as
the payment for our sin which satisfied God’s holiness and justice.
Reconciliation is brought about by the same act of Jesus yielding His life as
the payment for sin to bring about the necessary change so that there could be
peace between God and man. The means of reconciliation is referred here as
“the blood of His cross”
signifying the nature of Jesus’ death as a sin
sacrifice, for “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin”
(Hebrews 9:22), and there could not be peace between
God and man until the sin problem was solved. The redemption price allows for
reconciliation. There is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
(Romans 8:1), and “Therefore having been justified
by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”

(Romans 5:1).

However, having the price paid so that reconciliation could take place does
not mean that it will take place because both parties have to be agreeable to
it. God has done His part in removing the barrier erected by sin, but sinners
must still respond to the offer and repent and receive forgiveness. That is why
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 describes the ministry of believers as one of
reconciliation in which we, as ambassadors for Christ, beg people on behalf of
Christ to be reconciled to God. Jesus has already paid the price and done the
work to make possible what is otherwise impossible for men, but men must still
respond to the offer in repentance and belief.

Paul adds here that the blood of the cross has brought about reconciliation
of things in heaven and on earth. We know from Romans 8 that Jesus’ death is
also the means by which the earth, which groans under the curse of sin in the
present, will one day be set free from its slavery to corruption. That is a
common theme in the writings of the prophets about a future restoration of the
nation and land of Israel during the millennial kingdom. In some similar way not
fully explained here, Jesus’ death has also made possible a reconciliation in
heaven. This would not be a redemption and reconciliation of the fallen angels,
for they will remain condemned along with unrepentant men and both will be cast
into the lake of fire at the final judgment (Matthew 25:41,46;
Revelation 20:15)
. Yet there is some reconciliation by which the
defilement of sin on earth and in heaven will be removed so that all will have
peace with God.

Man’s Position & Nature – vs. 21

Paul explains man’s natural position and nature in verse 21. “And although
you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, [engaged] in evil deeds.”

This matches what Paul says in Ephesians 2:1-4 about us walking “according to
the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of
the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience
. . .” living
“in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind,
and were by nature children of wrath
. . .” Apart from Christ man is
alienated, estranged, excluded, shut out from God. This is not due to God
rejecting man, but man rejecting God. Ever since the fall, man has been hostile
in mind toward God because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God
(Romans 8:7), and man does not want his evil deeds
exposed. He loves the darkness instead of the light because his deeds are evil
(John 3:19). Remember that even in the Garden of Eden, it
was man that hid from God, not God hiding from man. It has always been God that
searches man out to bring about reconciliation and not the other way around. Man
wants God as much as a thief wants the police. Man’s religious quest is for a
god that man can handle. The gods formulated by the various religions are ones
that can be appeased by man’s own efforts and which will allow him some means to
still hold on to his sin.

The Purpose of Reconciliation – vs. 22

Man will not seek out God to reconcile, but God has made the provision for it
anyway in order to bring about His purpose as explained in verse 22, “yet He
has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present
you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”
Paul again takes us
back to the cross, but this time He emphasizes that it was through the death of
Jesus’ fleshy body that reconciliation was achieved. Once again showing the
falsehood of the teaching of the heretics that Jesus was somehow separated from
the material world. Paul states clearly that Jesus was part of the material
world because He died in a fleshy body.

But what was the purpose of this reconciliation? Many people treat
Christianity as if it was an intellectual acknowledgment or perhaps just a
cultural identity which has little to do with the way in which they actually
live. Many live in practical Gnosticism in which their mental and spiritual
assents and professed beliefs are separated from the material world in which
they live. They say and claim one thing but live in an opposite fashion. For
some it seems they think they are doing God a great favor by claiming to be
Christians, so God should return the favor by letting them live however they
desire. No wonder so many of the mega-churches have more in common with a theme
park or entertainment center than a house of worship. No wonder so many so
called “Christian” colleges use the same techniques as the secular college to
attract students that want to have a good time with a little bit of academic
education thrown in here and there to justify the huge expense.

God did not reconcile us through the death of His son as “fire insurance” so
that we can peacefully go our way doing whatever our flesh, mind and pride
desire. He reconciled us so that our lives would be changed and we would reflect
Christ in lives that are holy, blameless and above reproach before Him. A holy
life is a life separated unto God. It is characterized by a mind that is set on
things above instead of the things of this world (Colossians 3:2).
It is a life lived for God’s glory and the good of others instead of self.
Blameless (amwmoV /amômos) means to be without
blemish. It is a life lived without disgraceful conduct. Above reproach (anegklhtoV
/ anegklê tos) goes beyond this with
the idea that there is no cause for reproach. A holy, blameless life that is
above reproach is one that is lived for God without cause for accusation and any
accusation made cannot stick. Ephesians 1:4 states that having this kind of
character and life was the very reason that God chose us for Himself. Such a
life is a life lived worthy of His calling of us and pleasing to Him.


The Necessity of Perseverance – vs. 23

Paul ends this section with a warning to continue in the faith. “if indeed
you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away
from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all
creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.”
theology we refer to this idea of continuing in the faith as the perseverance of
the saints. In other words, those that actually belong to Christ, though they
will struggle at times and waver in the strength of their faith, will in the end
persevere in what they believe which in turn will affect the manner in which
they live.

There is a false belief that has risen out of a wrong application of the
doctrine of the security of the believer. It is true that a person who is saved
by Jesus Christ cannot be lose their salvation because Jesus loses none of those
given to Him by the Father (John 6:39). It is not true that every person who
thinks they are saved actually is saved. There have always been tares among the
wheat (Matthew 13:25-40) and those who prove to have false professions because
they actually have false beliefs (1 John 2:19). The emphasis in some circles on
some action as the evidence of belief and salvation – walking the aisle, raising
your hand, praying a prayer – has led people to falsely trust those actions
instead of believing in the person and work of Jesus Christ. I am saved not
because of anything I have done but because of what Jesus did for me at Calvary,
and I am secure in my salvation because of His promises. I live for Him because
that is the only rational response to my beliefs. Since He is God and my
creator, then I have the obligation to obey Him, but that is a joy to do since
He loves me and knows what is best for me.

The true Christian may take three steps forward and two back, but there will
be a progress in their life in a growing faith and trust in God that Paul
describes here as firmly established and steadfast. If someone can move you away
from the hope of the gospel, then your faith does not have these characteristics
and it had probably been in the wrong thing all along. True faith will be
challenged, and it might even waver with doubt, but it will work through such
challenges and doubt and come back stronger from the testing. That is a common
testimony of many strong believers including myself.

When the essential truths of the gospel are believed – man is sinful and
justly condemned by God, God is holy and just but also longsuffering and loving
providing a way of redemption and reconciliation through Jesus Christ who God in
human flesh, lived a sinless life, willingly died as the substitute payment for
our sin, was bodily raised on the third day, and is now at the right hand of the
Father preparing a place in heaven for all who believe and place their trust in
Him for the forgiveness of their sin – then any challenges in these areas and
all secondary issues can be worked through to become a faith that is firmly
established and steadfast.

This is the gospel that the disciples of Jesus were proclaiming wherever they
went. It was to this gospel that Paul was made a minister. If this is not the
gospel that you have heard and believed before today, then today is the day of
salvation by repenting and believing what God has revealed. Talk with myself or
any of our church leaders and we would be glad to take you through the gospel
step by step so that you might believe and know God’s peace.




Parents, you are responsible to apply
God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children
draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your
picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Write down all
the verses mentioned. 2) Count how many times reconciliation is mentioned. 3)
Talk with your parents about what it means to be reconciled with God


Questions to consider in discussing
the sermon with others. What are some of the root causes of misunder-standings?
Why is Jesus preeminent over Creation? What is the church according to the
Bible? How is a body different from a corporate organization? What is the
relationship of the head to the rest of the body? What role does the rest of the
body have toward the head? What authority do Biblical church leaders have and
how are they to exercise that authority? In what sense is Jesus the beginning –
vs. 18? In what sense is Jesus the “first-born from the dead” since others were
resurrected before Him? What does it mean that Jesus is first in everything?
What is Jesus’ nature in reference to God? What is the difference between
redemption and reconciliation? How are each brought about? What role does man
play in becoming reconciled with God? Are you reconciled with God? What is the
nature and position of man apart from Jesus Christ? What should be the result of
reconciliation with God? Why do so few people that profess to be Christian live
lives that are holy, blameless and above reproach? What are some of the
differences between truth faith and false faith? How do you respond to
challenges to your faith? What do you do with doubt?


Sermon Notes – 8/22/2010

The Preeminence of Christ Over the Church – Colossians 1:18-23




Jesus is preeminent over _____________- Colossians 1:15-17

Jesus is the image of God existing before time and the
architect, maker, possessor & sustainer of ______

Jesus’ Position – vs. 18

The Head of the Church“He is also head of the body, the church”


Church, ekklhsia / ekklêsia
, is better translated as congregation or ____________

The congregation is made up of those who belong to the
same community and hold the same __________

The congregation is the “________”of Christ –
Colossians 1:18; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 3,4,5


The body is an __________, not an organization.

Each part of the body works in ____________with the other
parts for the benefit of the whole body

Jesus is the _________of the body, and not any other
person or group of people

Church leaders are to carrying out ___________ directives,
not be authoritarian rulers

Church leaders have authority (Heb. 13:17;
Acts 20:28-31, etc)
, but it is used with _________- 1
Peter 5:1-3


Jesus has the _______to command & power to enable His
followers to carry out His will (Matt. 28:18-20)


Jesus builds His church, His followers simply need to
________ and do things His way.

The Beginning“and He is the beginning,”


/ archê  in this context means
beginning in the sense of being the ___________

The church has its origin in __________(Matthew
through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2)

The First-born of the dead


Others were resurrected __________ Jesus –
(1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 4; Luke 7; Matthew 9; Luke 11)


“First-born” (prwtotokoV /
pr̫totokos) here has same meaning as in vs. 15 Р__________in importance

Our hope of resurrection is bound in His ________________
(1 Cor. 15:22) and to be like Him (1 John


The First in Everything “so that He Himself might come to have
first place in everything.

By virtue of being the Creator He was already supreme in
all ___________

By virtue of His incarnation, sinless life, atonement and
resurrection He became supreme over the _____

Jesus’ Nature – vs. 19 “For it was the [Father’s] good pleasure for
all the fulness to dwell in Him.

Fullness = complete, totality. Context is in reference to
attributes of ________ and savior

Dwell (katoikew
/ katoikeô) is one of __________________rather than a temporary

Jesus has all the attributes of _________ and they are His

Jesus’ Work of Reconciliation – vs. 20

Without reconciliation man continues in his sin and lives
under God’s condemnation and abiding ______

God’s kindness & patience should cause man to _________(Rom.
, but man continues on his own way

__________is the price paid to rescue man from the domain
of darkness and transfer to Christ’s kingdom

_____________ is the restoration of peace after the
payment for the offense is made

    “The blood of His cross” is Christ’s sacrificial
_________ that atoned for sin – Hebrews 9:22

The redemption price __________ for reconciliation –
Romans 8:1; Romans 5:1

God has done His part & paid the price, but man must
_____and believe accepting the gift of forgiveness

Christ’s death will free the ________ from its slavery to
corruption (Romans 8).

Some unspecified reconciliation also happens in
___________ due to Jesus’ atonement

Man’s Position & Nature – vs. 21 (see also Ephesians 2:1-4)

Apart from Christ man is alienated, estranged, excluded,
shut out from God – because ______rejects God

The mind set on the _____is hostile to God
(Rom. 8:7),
He loves the darkness because of his evil (Jn.


Man’s religious quest is for a god he can
_______________to earn his own salvation and continue in sin

The Purpose of Reconciliation – vs. 22

Jesus brings reconciliation in His own _______body through
death – Jesus was part of the material world

_________ Christianity is not an intellectual assent nor a
cultural identity nor a practical Gnosticism

Redemption & reconciliation are not “_____________” that
allows us to live as we desire

We were reconciled so that our lives would be changed to
reflect Christ in ____________.

____________ – set apart unto God – a life lived for God’s
glory instead of self (Col. 3:2).

Blameless – without ___________ – a life lived without
disgraceful conduct

Above reproach – a life lived without cause of
_____________ and acquittal if accused.

The Necessity of Perseverance – vs. 23

Perseverance of the saints – there will be struggles, but
_____continues, grows and affects conduct of life

Not all who profess belief __________believe or are saved
(John 8:31-59; Matt. 13:25-40; 1 John 2:19)


If faith can be moved away from the hope of the gospel,
then it ____________true faith in the gospel.

________will be challenged & may waver, but it works
through doubt to become established & steadfastHTML clipboard

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