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.”
Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
Paul then went on to say that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day – all in accordance with the Scriptures. And then he told of how Jesus appeared to many, to more than 500 people, including to his disciples, minus Judas who had hung himself. So he was no longer with them. And Paul included himself as the last one Jesus appeared to, though I believe that was after Jesus ascended to heaven.
And then he went on to discuss the resurrection of the dead, which some people did not believe in. And he presented his case for that which you can read about in 1 Corinthians 15:12-57.
But the gospel message goes beyond Jesus’ death and resurrection, his appearing to over 500 people in his resurrected body, and his ascension back to heaven. It goes to the subject of why Jesus died on that cross and to what it means for us personally that he died and that he was resurrected, and as to how that applies to our lives. And this passage does touch on that somewhat. For we live in Christ because Jesus was raised from the dead.
Now I have had people ask me before if I could simplify the gospel into one sentence or into one Bible verse, and the verse that always comes to my mind is 1 Peter 2:24 which says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
For Jesus died and he was resurrected NOT just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we would die with him to sin and live to his righteousness. That is the essence of the gospel message. Jesus died on that cross so we would be delivered out of our slavery to sin, not just to forgive us our sins, and so we would live for him, and not for ourselves, and so we would honor God with our bodies (with our lives).
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-11; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 1:5-9]
The Gospel Paul Preached
So the gospel that Paul preached was Christ crucified, buried, and risen from the dead so that, by God-given faith in Christ, we would die with him to sin, be buried with him by a spiritual baptism into death (death to our old lives of living in sin), in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life in him. For our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (Romans 6:1-23).
So, when God the Father sent his own Son (Jesus Christ) in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, IN ORDER THAT the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who WALK (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For if we live according to the flesh we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body, we will live for eternity (see Romans 8:1-14). And this is the consistent message of the gospel.
Thus, we are to no longer walk in the ways of our sinful flesh like the ungodly do, who are alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. We are not to become callous and to give ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. For that is not the way we should have learned Christ if we were taught the truth in him, which many people are not being taught today.
And that truth that is in Christ Jesus that we should have been taught teaches us “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:17-24). Again, this is the essence of the gospel – death to our old lives and living for Jesus.
“…and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”
Two things of note here: by which we are BEING saved, and IF we HOLD FAST to the word that Paul preached (in over half of the New Testament). So our salvation is not a one-time experience in our lives which secures heaven as our eternal destiny regardless of how we live our lives on this earth. Our salvation has a beginning and it is ongoing and it will NOT be complete until Jesus returns and he takes his bride to be with him.
And we have to continue in that gospel teaching that Paul taught, which says that we must continue steadfast in that faith until the very end in order to receive our salvation from sin completed, and to have eternal life with God. For we are saved (past), we are being saved (present active ongoing) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns provided that we continue in that faith until the very end. For there are conditions to our salvation.
[Rom 8:24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; 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; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 2:24-25]
So, please know that the Scriptures teach that we must die to sin and live to righteousness and that we must continue steadfast in our walks of faith until the very end. And they teach that if we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God regardless of what we have professed with our lips or thought we believed in our hearts. For our faith is proved genuine by what we do.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.