As we go through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul now begins speaking about a new subject. It deals with the truth of the resurrection of Christ.
Now, brothers, 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.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Paul gives us a wonderful view of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s not a matter of simply repeating a prayer and all of our troubles vanishing. There’s more to it than that.
We have to understand that the Gospel Paul is talking about is more than just “believe in Jesus and you’ll be on your way to heaven.” The sinner’s prayer is definitely our entrance into God’s salvation. But the Gospel of Christ doesn’t end there.
According to Paul, these people heard what he preached, and then they responded. Not only did they receive it, but they took their stand on it – they began to establish their lives on this Good News.
The key phrase in all of this is, by this Gospel you are saved. Paul is talking to a group of established Christians. This tells me that salvation is an ongoing process in their lives.
That’s because the Greek word for save is full of meaning. It doesn’t just mean that we’re freed from our sin. Scripturally, saved means to be delivered and safe from any harm or loss. It includes healing, protection, provision, and a whole host of other things as well.
Then again, that’s why there’s an “if” in this passage. The initial believing and confessing of Christ place us firmly into God’s kingdom. But there’s more that the Lord wants for us.
Our salvation is the ongoing process of the grace of God renewing every aspect of our lives. In order for this to happen, I have to hold firmly to the Word. That means that I need to hold fast to it, memorize it, and retain it.
In short, I need to build myself up in the Word of God. Otherwise, my faith will be too weak to allow God’s work to be manifest in my life.
I think that part of our problem in the modern church is our stubborn refusal to allow God to continue His work of change in our lives. We’re happy that our sins were forgiven. We look forward with joy to our home in Heaven. But right now there are so many things that we want to do and experience in the world. The thought of God disrupting those plans for His purpose doesn’t sit well with us.
We need to see change as the natural outgrowth of our walk with God. His ongoing plan of salvation in us should never stagnate. There’s always something new to look forward to.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
This is the Good News of Jesus Christ in a nutshell. The Lord came to earth, died for us, was buried, and three days later He rose from the dead. The resurrection was confirmed by hundreds of qualified witnesses.
Because of what Christ has done, our lives can be changed by the power of God. Allow the Holy Spirit to continue the work. Hold firmly to the Word of God that you’re receiving.
Question: How have you changed since bowing your knees to Christ?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi