Words can be very powerful. For instance, what enters your mind when someone says “love”? Likewise, what enters your mind when someone says “hate”? Each of these words can be used to convey different thoughts. If not careful, one might misuse a word, and by so doing, cause many problems. With that in mind, I would like to engage in a short study of a word that appears more than one time in the Bible. That word is “if”. The word “if” is a small word, but when used, it carries a great deal of power. The word “if” denotes that there is a choice in a matter. It does not mean that something is absolute, without meeting certain conditions. This is extremely important to understand when studying the Scriptures.
The first occasion to notice is found in the book of Colossians. Paul explained that the brethren in Colosse “…were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister” (Col. 1:21-23). The brethren in Colosse were of Gentile background. Under the Old Law of Moses, they were not in a covenant relationship with God. However, by being obedient to “the faith”/the Gospel, those individuals became reconciled, holy, unblameable, and unreproveable. There is one little caveat to those blessings. The Christians in Colosse would only remain in those states “if” they continued “in the faith grounded and settled”. That means that those brethren had a choice to make. If they remained faithful, and were “not moved away from the hope of the gospel” they would continue to be reconciled, holy, unblameable, and unreproveable. However, if they chose to return to a lifestyle of wickedness and sin, then they would forfeit the blessings that they had received. It becomes very apparent just how powerful the word “if” really is.
The next occasion of study is found in the book of Hebrews. This time we find, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation” (Heb. 3:12-15). The original recipients of this letter were Christians of Hebrew background. Like the brethren in Colosse, they had obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and were being encouraged to remain faithful to God. It is obvious that the writer of Hebrews understood that these Christians could make a choice in regard to their continued salvation. That decision was based upon their holding the beginning of their confidence unto the end. Once again, the word “if” is utilized. That indicates that the Hebrew Christians could decide to refuse their continued obedience, and once again be lost. It again becomes very apparent just how powerful the word “if” really is.
The final segment of Scriptures that we will notice is also found in the book of Hebrews. In these verses we find, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned” (Heb. 6:4-8). This time, the Hebrew Christians were given the example of “those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come”. Those people had obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those same brethren now had another decision to make. They could choose to remain faithful, or they could choose to “fall away”. If they decided to become unfaithful, then they would be “burned” like that “which beareth thorns and briers”. One more time, it becomes very apparent just how powerful the word “if” really is.
Never underestimate the power of one singular word. The example of the word “if” is sufficient to emphasize that every word of the Word of God is powerful.
~ Corey Barnette