1 Corinthians 15:1-2 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.”
The Gospel Paul Preached
What was the gospel that Paul preached? He did preach Jesus Christ (the only begotten Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and his death on a cross for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures. And he did teach that he was buried, and that he was raised from the dead on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to many people before ascending back to the Father in heaven. But that wasn’t all that he preached on the subject of the gospel.
Paul taught that what takes place when we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith is that we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For when we believe in Jesus with genuine faith in him our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin but so that we would live now as slaves to God and to his righteousness.
Therefore we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. And we are not to let sin reign any more in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions, for sin is to have no more dominion over us since Jesus set us free from the power of sin and Satan and the flesh. So sin is to no longer be our practice, but righteousness, holiness, and obedience to our Lord are to be what we practice (how we conduct our lives). For if sin is what we obey it will end in death not in life everlasting with God.
In fact, Paul taught that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. For if we live (conduct our lives) according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, it results in death, not in life eternal with God. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Those who live by the flesh will die in their sins.
And he taught that if our faith is genuine that our bodies are now a temple of the Holy Spirit within us which we have from God. And we are not our own, for we were bought with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ shed on that cross for our sins. Therefore we are to glorify God in our bodies, and our bodies are not to be used as instruments of unrighteousness. So we are to now walk by the Spirit so that we no longer gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh. For the flesh is opposed to the Spirit and the Spirit to the flesh.
So, if such things as these are what we practice we do not have eternal life with God: Such things as sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. If such things as these are what we go to deliberately and habitually, we will not inherit the kingdom of God regardless of what faith we have professed with our lips. For we are all going to be judged by God according to our works.
[1 Co 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-14,24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; Gal 5:16-21; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 1:18-32; Titus 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:10]
You Are Being Saved If..
Now we need to pay close attention to these words in this passage of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2. For Paul did not teach “Once saved always saved” like the vast majority are teaching today here in America. He did not teach that we could make a one-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior and now all our sins are covered under the blood (even future sins) and heaven is now guaranteed us and it can’t be taken away from us regardless of how we live our lives from that moment forward.
Jesus Christ, Paul, and the other apostles taught progressive salvation and sanctification, that we are saved (past), we are being saved (present active), and that we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns for his bride and he takes us to be with him for eternity. For that is when our salvation will be complete and our marriage to Christ will be consummated. And they taught that this is conditional on us walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, for if sin is what we practice, we will die in our sins.
So, this is why Paul said, “by which you are being saved, IF you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.” And we believe in vain when we make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ but we don’t walk in holiness and righteousness and in obedience to our Lord but we continue to walk in sin, in deliberate and habitual sin in direct defiance and rebellion against our Lord who gave his life up for us to free us from our addiction to sin so that we can live holy and godly lives to his praise and to his glory.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 8:24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Gal 5:16-21; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6;24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Near the Cross
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
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