Thursday, 5 March 2015
Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 1 Corinthians 15:11
Paul begins verse 11 with two conjunctions, “Therefore, whether.” The “therefore” covers all the way back to the first verses of the chapter which said –
“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.” 1 Corinthians 15:1, 2
After that, he gave the pertinent points of the gospel message; the same message which is preached by all the apostles. It is these words which were preached and it is those same words that were believed by the Corinthians. Therefore, having believed, they are truly saved. Their belief was not grounded in a false gospel, but the true gospel, and their faith is not in vain.
This then explains the often-confused concept of verse 2. It is that verse which people incorrectly assume can mean a “loss of salvation” is possible. The reason is because they look at the verse out of context. The entire context of these first 11 verses shows us that this is not the case, but that salvation is eternal. If one believes, they are (emphatic) saved.
The word “whether” refers to the party who spoke the message – either himself or one of the other apostles. It didn’t matter which, it didn’t matter how they became apostles, it didn’t matter whether he was once a persecutor of the church, etc. Regardless of those issues, the message spoken was the same as from any or all of the apostles.
The word Paul uses for “preach” in this verse is kerusso. There are different words used in the Greek which are translated as “preach.” Of them, one indicates “to prophesy.” That would be a spiritual instruction or exhortation. Another would be to evangelize. This word in verse 11 means “to proclaim.” It indicates the stating of the facts of the message of the gospel. Paul has “proclaimed” them to those in Corinth and they are in unison with the proclamation of the other apostles. It is the one, only, true, and saving message; it is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Life application: Verse 2 of 1 Corinthians 15 took many surrounding verses to understand correctly. When citing individual verses, context must be maintained. If it is not, then a false understanding of what is being relayed may occur. In this case, salvation is conditioned upon belief in the true gospel message. If that message is heard, received, and believed, then it saves the one who believes… for all time!
Lord Jesus, I am so grateful that my salvation is not contingent upon anything I do after believing the gospel message. It was based on faith, and it is a done deal. And yet, I know that rewards in heaven are based on what I do now. So Lord, give me the wisdom, the desire, and the get-up-and-go gumption to do wonderful things in Your name. I long for a pleased look upon Your face when I come before You. May it be so! Amen.