1st Corinthians 15:1-2, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.”
A good rule to follow when interpreting the Bible is to never use an obscure passage to contradict a clear one. So many misinterpretations of the Holy Bible could be avoided, if the reader would simply also read several verses before and after a particular passage of Scripture.
The Apostle Paul started the church at Corinth. After leaving Thessalonica, Paul and his companions, Timothy and Silvanus, arrived in Corinth and began, again, to preach the gospel in an effort to win converts. 2nd Corinthians 1:18-19, “But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.” Paul preached THE GOSPEL to the Corinthians. Paul defines this Gospel in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 as three things:
- Jesus Christ DIED on the cross for our sins according to the Scripture.
- He was BURIED according to the Scripture.
- Jesus bodily RESURRECTED three days later from dead according to the Scriptures.
1st Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” This is “the gospel” according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, by which WHOSOEVER is saved if they BELIEVE IT.
So when Paul warns the churchgoers at Corinth (and by extension all who read this passage), to make sure you haven't BELIEVD IN VAIN, he is simply saying that one's faith is in vain (worthless and non-productive) if it is in the WRONG GOSPEL. Paul said that he received the Gospel (i.e., the GOOD NEWS) directly from the Lord Jesus Christ, and not from a mere man. Galatians 1:11-12, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Some false teachers claim that Moses preached a different Gospel than in the New Testament.
They also claim that Jesus and Paul didn't preach the same Gospel. I have heard some damnable false prophets teach that Jesus' Gospel required water baptism, but Paul's Gospel does not. THAT IS WRONG!!! There has always been, is now, and always will be ONLY ONE GOSPEL. What saith the Scripture? Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”
Dear reader, there is only ONE GOSPEL. Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Salvation has always been through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins. Hebrews 4:1-2 says that Moses preached THE GOSPEL to the Jews in the Wilderness for 40 years, but sadly most of the Jews perished into Hell forever, because they didn't have faith mixed in the Good News that they heard, so they perished. Hebrews 4:1-2, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Those millions of Jews heard the Gospel, but they didn't believe any of it. They bickered and complained and doubted God every step of the way through the Wilderness, not putting their faith in the light of THE TRUTH of the Gospel which Moses preached unto them day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade.
After Jesus raised up from the dead, He came alongside two disciples who were talking while walking to Emmaus. The Savior inquired what the big commotion was around town. They asked Jesus (not recognizing who He was) if He were a stranger. Everybody in Jerusalem knew what had just happened, that an innocent good man named Jesus was crucified as if He were a guilty criminal by the envious Pharisees. As the men began to explain the situation to Jesus, they expressed frustration and doubt that Christ hadn't risen from the dead yet. That is so ironic, because they were talking to the risen Christ, and didn't even recognize Him. Jesus must have looked physically different in His resurrected, glorified, perfect, immortal, new body (or else the Lord made it so that no one could recognize Him). The Bible does not specify.
When Mary Magdalene (who had been possessed of demons before she got saved) met Jesus at the tomb, she thought He was the gardener. She did not recognize Jesus, until He called out her name as the Lord had done so many times before during His ministry, “Mary.” John 20:15-16, “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.” That is so beautiful.
For their lack of faith, Jesus rebuked the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:25-27,“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” The Gospel is the Good News of the Savior. They didn't have all the details of the Gospel that we have today, but the Good News was still the same—remission of sins comes only through faith in Christ.
In the Old Testament they looked forward to the coming Christ, as evidence by the words of the Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well. John 4:25-26, “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” She wasn't saved yet, until Jesus expounded her in the Scriptures, and then she BELIEVED ON HIM and was saved.
The inspired Word of God plainly defines the Gospel:
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Our pastor in Sunday morning church today preached a wonderful sermon from Galatians chapter 4 and 5.
Every Believer Is A Heir With Jesus Christ
The Apostle Paul uses the brilliant illustration of a heir (which Scripture passage I will quote to you in a moment), to demonstrate a believer before and after salvation. In the Old Testament, God required the Jews to keep the law of Moses (not to be saved, but to obey the Lord's Commandments which He applied only to His people during the Old Testament). If the Jews failed to keep God's law, they didn't lose their salvation; but rather, it brought judgment upon the nation of Israel. Romans 3:19-20 teaches that the LAW which given to mankind for the purpose to give all individual THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN.
This is why the Jews were chastised by God, sent into Babylonian captivity for 70 years (1 year for each 7 years of the 490 total years that they didn't keep the Sabbath day). If keeping the law were required to get to Heaven, then none of those Jews could have been saved who were taken into captive to Babylon by king Nebuchadnezzar. So please don't ever let anyone deceive you into foolishly thinking that people in the Old Testament were saved by WORKS, or by PARTIAL FAITH PLUS WORKS, because that is not the truth of the Scriptures.
You cannot be saved until you first know what you are being saved from! We all need to be saved from the consequences which sin brings, “DEATH,” which Romans 6:23 calls “THE WAGES OF SIN.” Believing on Jesus is not enough to get to Heaven, you must also realize that you are a GUILTY SINNER. Pastor Jack Hyles preached a helpful MP3 sermon on this topic called: “The Sin Question And The Son Question.” It is not enough to admit you are a sinner and merely turn over a new leaf. Christ died for your sins, because there is NOTHING you can do to remedy them. Not can you merely trust Jesus to be saved, you must admit that you are a sinner deserving of punishment in Hell. If you're not a hell-deserving sinner, then why would you need a Savior? You must answer both the SIN QUESTION and the SON QUESTION. Please listen to Dr. Hyles' sermon if you don't understand what I am saying.
The Apostle Paul likens the believer, before and after salvation, to being an heir (a “heir” is a person who is entitled by law or by the terms of a will to inherit the estate of another). God has promised that any sinner who places his or her faith in Jesus Christ will become an adopted child of God (John 1:13-14; Romans 8:15). The moment you get saved, you become a heir with Jesus, just as if you were God's only begotten Son. Even though we are adopted as God's children, the blessed heavenly Father treats us the SAME as His Son. What a wonderful expectation and privilege that we don't deserve, and it all happens by childlike faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior...
Galatians 3:29, “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”Ephesians 3:6, “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”1st Timothy 3:7, “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Isn't that precious? The Old Testament LAW tutors us to recognize our desperate need as guilty SINNERS for redemption, and then brings us to CHRIST to be saved by grace through faith in Him.
Galatians 4:1-5, “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
I love that! Before we were saved, the law of God was our guide, tutor, governor and schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24-26). The LAW teaches (tutors) us that we are helpless guilty sinners, and then brings us to CHRIST to be saved by grace through faith alone. But once a child heir grows up and becomes of age, they become adopted sons. As God's children was are FREE from under the curse of the law. We have liberty in Jesus Christ, so that the law no longer has any power to condemn us. I believe that is why 1st John 3:9 says, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” We cannot sin as saints because Jesus paid for our sins with His blood through Calvary's cross. Our sins have all been washed away. That is why a believers can only FALL IN grace (Romans 6:1), never FROM GRACE (Galatians 5:4). Only a Christ-rejecting sinner, or those who trust in partial faith in Christ plus something else have fallen FROM GRACE. They have not obeyed the Gospel. They have not done the Father's will concerning salvation (John 6:40). We have liberty in Jesus as Christians...
So many churchgoers today are trying to live the Christian life, following Jesus as their Lord and Master, attempting to do many wonderful works to prove that their faith is genuine; but in reality they are deceived by Satan, calling Jesus “Lord, Lord,” but they are not trusting (resting) completely in His sacrificed on the cross for their sins.
Galatians 5:1-4, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
Everyone who has ever been saved got saved by FAITH ALONE in CHRIST ALONE. Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Furthermore, we read in Romans 4:4 that if salvation had ever been by keeping the law, then it would have been of DEBT instead of GRACE. Romans 4:4, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” God has never owed any sinner salvation for doing works!!!
If it were possible to get to Heaven by works, it would mean that Christ died in vain. Galatians 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Multitudes of corrupt preachers today are wickedly FRUSTRATING the grace of God. When you mess with the grace of God, you are messing with the God of grace. Carefully notice that a group of unsaved religious people in Matthew chapter 7 boasted of their WORKS...
Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Please read what Jesus said about these false prophets...
Matthew 7:21,“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
What is the Father's will? I'm glad that you asked my fine non-feathered friend. John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” The will of God the Father is that you put your trust in God the Son. John 14:6-7, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” The only way to God the Father is through the only begotten Son of God, Jesus. The ONLY way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ!!! Amen and amen.