1 Corinthians 15:1-4 ESV
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”
The Gospel Paul Taught
What is the gospel that Paul preached? It was of first importance to teach that Jesus Christ, God the Son, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human form, ministered to the people, preached the gospel of salvation, and was put to death on a cross, although he had done no wrong, and that he was raised on the third day (cf. John 1:1-34; Phili 2:1-11).
But it doesn’t end there. That is not the totality of the gospel message. For, the way in which God designed it from the very beginning was that he would send his Son to die on a cross for our sins so that we could die with him to sin, and so we could live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24).
His plan all along was that Jesus should shed his blood on that cross to buy us back (to redeem us) for God so that we would now honor God with our lives, and so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21).
Jesus came to deliver us from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we could now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. For, Jesus died so that we would be crucified with him in death to sin and be raised with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
And not only that, but this is not a one-time event which takes place in our lives which secures us heaven as our eternal destiny regardless of how we live from that point forward. We must walk (in practice, in conduct) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
Thus, if we continue walking according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God. For, we are all going to be judged by God according to what we do (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Lu 9:23-26).
Receive and Stand
So, this is the gospel we must receive and on which we must take our stand, not just that Jesus died and that he rose from the dead on the third day, and not just that he died to take away our sins and to give us the hope of eternal life with God. But that he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
And to “receive” this gospel is not just to make an intellectual assent to it, or just a verbal acknowledgment of it, or to merely profess faith in Jesus Christ, but it is to apply its truths to our daily lives and to live it daily in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit who is alive and at work within our hearts.
And this is because this gospel is not just about Jesus dying to take away our sins, but it is about him dying to deliver us out of our bondage to sin and to give us new lives in him so that we can now walk (in conduct, in practice) in accord with the Spirit of God and no longer in accord with our flesh.
And to take a stand on this gospel is not just to make a confession of it with our lips. Faith in Jesus Christ is so much more than just the words that we speak, but it is what we do in action by faith and by God’s Spirit in heart response to what Jesus did for us in dying on that cross for our sins.
We are Being Saved
This is not largely being taught, but it is what the Scriptures teach. We aren’t “once saved always saved” based on a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ, especially if it is not followed up with dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness.
We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Christ returns provided (it is conditional) that we walk according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, and that we continue in Christ and in our faith until the very end.
[Rom 8:1-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6, 14-15; 1 Jn 2:24-25]
Our promise of eternal life with God is also conditional on us obeying our Lord as a matter of practice, and on the condition that we do not live in sin, making sin our practice. For, we are all going to be judged by what we do. If we sow to please the flesh, we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life with God.
[1 Jn 2:3-6; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:23-24; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Lu 9:23-26]
So, study these Scriptures (in context) and let God speak to your hearts, and listen to what he is saying to the churches. For, many people are making false professions of faith in Jesus Christ based on a lie and on a false promise of eternal life with God, when they are still bound in their sins and they are still headed to hell if they do not surrender their lives to Christ.
Here I Am, Lord
By Daniel L. Schutte
I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them –
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them.
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart
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