The apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church made several statements concerning the gospel. I Corinthians 15: Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, (Peter) then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Paul made a short statement that needs to be examined. It brings up some questions that need to be answered. What does it mean when he says “unless you believed in vain”? Is it possible to believe and not be saved? Is there more to salvation than just believing? If so, what is it? If belief by itself is incomplete what makes the difference? What were some of them missing?
Paul actually answered those questions in verses 12-14. Part of the gospel Paul presented was “and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Paul revealed the problem in verses 12-14. Some of them did not believe in the resurrection. It is a required element of salvation. 12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
Paul made it clear again in Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
He also made the statement that our salvation is a gift. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
A gift cannot be earned or worked for, but it must be received. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
I don’t have room to explain how we are to receive Him, but I will address it in a later article. Thank you Jesus for your indescribable gift.
Pastor Leo Kruger of Valley Christian Fellowship is a member of Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.
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