1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NIV
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”
What is the gospel that Paul preached? First of all, it was to tell of how Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on a cross for our sins, according to the Scriptures, how he was buried, but how he was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures. After his resurrection, he appeared to over 500 people (Vv. 3-8).
Then, he went on to explain the importance of the fact that Jesus Christ didn’t remain dead, but that he was raised from the dead. He said that if Christ was not raised from the dead that our faith is useless, we are still in our sins, and those who have died are lost (Vv. 12-18).
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (v. 19).
So, how does Jesus’ resurrection from the dead give us hope? How does his resurrection impact our lives?
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (Rom 6:4-8 NIV).
When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given (God-persuaded) faith, we are baptized spiritually into his death, we are buried with him through baptism into death (death to sin), and we are raised with him to new lives in him to be lived for his glory and praise.
This is what our water baptism symbolizes, which is why immersion is the preferred mode of baptism, for it symbolizes us dying with Christ to sin, being buried with him, and then being raised with him to new life in him.
But this isn’t some religious ritual we go through so that we can join a “church.” This has to do with us giving public testimony of us having spiritually died with Christ to sin, meaning that we chose to forsake our lifestyles of sin so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin, but so that we can now, by God’s grace, be slaves of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).
Paul wrote to the Ephesians and he told them that the truth in Christ Jesus is that, with regard to our former way of life, we are to put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, we are to be made new in the attitude of our minds, and we are to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:17-24).
So, the gospel that Paul preached to the Corinthian believers was the same gospel he preached to the Romans and to the Ephesians, etc. And it all comes back to the fact that Jesus died for our sins, he was buried, and he was resurrected from the dead.
Belief in him, thus, means we die with him to sin, we are buried with him in death to sin, and we are raised with him to newness of life in him, which is to be lived to him and to his righteousness – all for the praise and glory of God! (1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21).
This is the gospel on which we are to take our stand. And this is the gospel by which we are saved IF we hold firmly to the word preached to us (by Jesus and the Apostle Paul). This means we must die daily to sin and to self, and daily we must live to the Lord and to his righteousness, in his power, or we have believed in vain (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
1 Corinthians 15:31-32 NIV
“I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,
“’Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.’”
Because Jesus died, was buried, and was raised from the dead, we are to die with him to sin, be buried with him in death to sin, and we are to be raised with him to newness of life in him to be lived to his righteousness.
Because he was raised from the dead, in victory over sin, death, Satan and hell, we can live in victory over sin, no longer under the control of sin and Satan, but now under the control of the Holy Spirit of God. We can live in freedom from slavery to sin because Jesus set us free! Amen!
But our hope is not just for this life alone. When we die, if we are holding firmly to the truth of the gospel, if we are walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. But if we continue deliberately living in habitual sin, we will die in our sins. We will not have the hope of eternal life (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10).
If we have not surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ, we have not died with him to sin, we have not been buried with him in death to sin, and thus we have not been resurrected with him to newness of life in him to be lived to him and not to ourselves, then we have no hope. We live and then we die, but then we face eternal punishment in the fires of hell.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34 NIV
“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.”
Many people today are being misled by master manipulators who are convincing them that belief in Jesus is more like a feeling or an acknowledgment of Christ which then guarantees them heaven when they die, not matter how they live their lives on this earth.
Don’t be misled by them! That is not the gospel taught in the Scriptures! Jesus didn’t die so we would go on living in sin without guilt. His grace to us is not free license to continue living in sin without conscience. His death and resurrection gave us freedom from slavery to sin so we can now walk in his holiness and righteousness, in his power, under his control.
So, come back to your senses! Stop living in sin! Stop making sin your practice (your habit). For, if you continue living in sin you will die in your sin. You will not have eternal life with God (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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