The good news of salvation
Chaplain Bertram Bobb
During the Christmas season we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. On Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we are studying the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from Paul the Apostle’s letter to the Corinthians in First Corinthians chapter 15.
First Corinthians 15:1-4 is also a definition of the gospel, the good news of salvation.
Paul was called to bring a message to Corinth. Corinth was a city known for producing new ways of sinning. This ought to have a message to us today.
Paul coming to Corinth wrote in First Corinthians 2:2: “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Paul knowing the Corinthians all had the idea that there is no bodily resurrection says in First Corinthians 15:12: “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?”
Now Paul offers some of the proofs of the resurrection.
First is the gospel, faith in the gospel in First 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 you have believed in vain.
We learn two things from this statement. We learn that the gospel is to be preached and the gospel is to be received.
Notice that there are three steps here. Paul said that you have received it in the past, you stand in it in the present, and it saves you in the future. That is the gospel he is talking about.
The important word in these verses is the word believed. What does it mean to receive Christ? The Scripture answers that in John 1:12: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
What does it mean to receive Christ? It means to believe in His name. And to believe means to believe the name of Christ, who He is and what He has done. That’s what it means to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Paul also makes the statement here, “unless you have believed in vain.” What does Paul mean by that? That it is possible and it is not valid.
We are living in a day when so much is made of faith as if faith is works. You are not saved by works the Scripture says in Ephesians 2:8-10: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
“Not of works, lest any man should boast.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Faith is that which goes and shares the gospel story and the important thing about faith is the object of faith. It is who you believe not what you believe. You can believe in vain. You can believe in the wrong thing. The important thing is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse three Paul said, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”
Paul said, the gospel was given to me and I preached it. The Lord Jesus Christ lived and He died.
The second thing that he says here is, in verse four, “And that he was buried,…” Do you know what that means? That means that it was a bodily resurrection. He was buried.
The third thing, He was raised again. We continue reading verse four. “… and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” That means that Jesus is alive. He has been raised from the dead. This is the heart of the gospel.
Now the disciples were scattered at the death of Christ. They were filled with fear and took to cover. They went into hiding. On the first day of the week they came out and in 40 days these men were standing in Jerusalem and their enemies noticed their boldness in preaching.
What happened? Their lives have been transformed. What was it that transformed their lives? It was a resurrected Christ that had done it, and nothing but a resurrected Christ that brought about the transformation of their lives.
What about your life? When your life is transformed you will hate what you used to love (the worldly life) and you will love what you used to hate (the spiritual life).
John writes in First John 5:13: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Will you realize that you are a sinner? There is nothing you can do for salvation, only trust Jesus Christ as your personal Savior by faith. Will you receive Jesus today?
Pray for America. Pray for our men and women in the armed services.