I realize it is not 1 Timothy chapter six, but it has been on my heart for several days. So I am going to work through this with you. The KJV, and probably most others, entitle this section, THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, and certainly, that is a prominent aspect of the conversation, but it so much more.
It is the primary reason for our hope.
Here is the first part of the passage. I will break it down – as usual.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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:
Paul tells the readers, found in the church at Corinth, that, once again, this is the gospel which I preached to you. I am not sure how germane this information is to the passage, but I immediately found myself curious about what he preached and where he preached.
Corinth is in the southwestern area of what we now call Greece – it was formerly called Achaia. Athens is on the opposite and eastern coast of Greece. The letter was written from Ephesus, which is on the western coastline of Asia Minor, almost directly opposite of Athens. Immediately, this tells me that this was not a prison letter. Prison has a way of adding additional stress.
Paul’s first missionary journey does not show him going to Corinth at all. The second missionary journey does have Paul going to Corinth and then almost directly to Ephesus. Mind you, while this stretch between Corinth and Ephesus seems short on paper, this was wind-powered vessels at best and may have taken months.
How long was Paul in Ephesus that he heard about Corinth’s issue that needed to be readdressed?
We have a time frame of two years for the entire journey.
Dr. J Vernon McGee observes, “You remember that when he came out on this second journey, the Spirit of God would not allow him to come down to Ephesus. Now, on his way back, he stops at Ephesus, but he does not stay there very long.”
For me, the statement – very long, is a comparative term, and without something to compare this to, it is hard to determine a time frame. It could have been a couple of weeks; if that was the case, it was a clear and powerful sermon about the good news of Jesus. Since we know that Paul was preaching to Jews (who are best a hard sell), it is hard to imagine that a message about Jesus and His death on the cross made its point in one sermon.
For those who wish to argue, thinking that the Bible was written for and about Gentiles, let me point something out in the scriptures. Paul, even when he was Saul, entered into the Synagogues at every opportunity. In Damascus, as a new believer, and one that had to deal with an open resistance because he, only days before this, was trying to get Christians killed, was now, with some of the disciples in Damascus, was proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues.
End page one.
Acts 9:17-20 NASB So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (18) And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; (19) and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days, he was with the disciples who were at Damascus (20) and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.“
When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.
Acts 13:4-5 NASB So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. (5) When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper.
They arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day, they went into the synagogue.
Acts 13:13-16 NASB Now Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia, but John left them and returned to Jerusalem. (14) But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day, they went into the synagogue and sat down. (15) After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.” (16) Paul stood up and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews. I will give you a heads up. The Bible translators added the word Gentiles. It may have been a logical assumption based on what we see in Acts 17:4 KJV, where it says,
“And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas, and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women, not a few.”
Acts 17:16-17 NASB Now, while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. (17) So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be present.
This last verse is odd, and even more so, I asked a Jewish convert if Gentiles were allowed in the synagogues. His answer was crisp and immediate NO. Now, this may not be the atmosphere these days, but considering how the Jews that did not appreciate Paul’s message treated him, they would have run the Gentiles out of the synagogues.
Acts 18:2-4 NASB And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, (3) and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. (4) And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
We see in Acts 18 that Paul and Aquila – a Jew, worked together, making and selling tents. A place that would have had everybody mingling about, and Paul took every opportunity to advance the gospel of Jesus; and, yes, the Gentiles would have heard.
End page two.
Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” has a different spin to it.
Friends, let me go over the Message with you one final time—this Message that I proclaimed and that you made your own; this Message on which you took your stand (1 Corinthians 15:1 MSG)
As for me, I have to remind myself, frequently, of what I believe should be solidly embedded within me.
- “Which also you have received.”
These people, even though they may have had Paul in their faces, are no different than you or I. We, in fact, have an advantage in that we have the written and this very letter that Paul wrote to this church.
So when we read, you have received, what is Paul saying?
Obviously, Paul is speaking to those who have received the gospel of and about Jesus. The word received can mean several things, from a casual hearing of the word to a full-blown life-changing event thanks to this relationship with Christ. The interlinear Greek indicates that in receiving this word, the hearers have come alongside.
But, alongside what?
Jesus, the salvation that He brings, and His message to the world.
- Another piece of information, which could seem vague, is this statement, “wherein you stand.”
Didn’t I open this study in 1Corinthians 15:1-4, with my own acknowledgment? I occasionally have to be reminded of this hope, and even why it is believable. I have talked about this over the years, and many have expressed their scorn and surprise, as though I have made a choice to forget or ignore the goodness of God. Actually, it is quite the contrary, as the sudden and momentary realization that I am trying to control the world around me drives me staggering back to God, where I rehearse something similar to these verses here in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.
To use terminology like wherein you stand does not tell me much because sometimes I am NOT standing in the right place, or I inadvertently stepped in a mud puddle. I know I am being simplistic, but I am trying to make a point.
Some of us still have good brains capable of holding onto information; mine used to work like that. You would think that by my own efforts, I could make myself firm or become established in God’s ways and heart toward us. The problem with that kind of thinking is that you can do nothing, outside of having faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross, to change my life. Oh, sure, some motivational speaker can make you think you are in charge, but that person on stage does not seem to know that we are all broken people, incapable of fixing ourselves, and that is why we needed a savior – Jesus. There is a strong sense that once you belong to Christ, He never lets you go, and that is true.
And this last statement takes us to verse two.
End page three.
It is not only the gospel message, but it is the fact that you came alongside Jesus with a conscious decision, but it is also the fact that the Father, who was waiting for you the entire time, establishes you and makes you firm. This word, very clearly, holds you fast. You know what many call this? Eternal Salvation. It is not that you can maintain a condition that holds you tight to Jesus; it is the Father who has engraved you upon His hand that now holds you.
For me, a primary scripture that speaks to the fact that God will never let go of you comes from John’s gospel.
John 10:27-30 NASB “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; (28), and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (29) “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (30) “I and the Father are one.”
Some will use 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 as an anchor for their eternal salvation. Don’t get me wrong, we are eternally saved, but verse two, which says, “by which you are saved, if,” is a conditional conjunction; and, much like a computer logic flowchart, you have to determine if you have met the conditions that make the statement work. One sister in Christ who clings to the KJV of the Bible probably sees something like this.
1 Corinthians 15:2 MKJV by which you also are being kept safe, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.
If I chose to accept the MKJV at face value, then it would be easy to apply the idea of eternal salvation if that was all it said. The problem is the minority of those that chose to interpret Paul’s thought in this manner. My friend chooses to ignore the conditional “if” aspect of the verse. This “if” is NOT a negative interpretation, which we understand as we consider the verse’s context. Should you look at a translation like the ISV, you will see that Paul is talking about an ongoing process in which we are in a continual state of being saved from the trials (tribulations) this world dishes out throughout our lives.
1 Corinthians 15:2 ISV “… by which you are also being saved if you hold firmly to the message I proclaimed to you—unless, of course, your faith was worthless.”
Paul continues, as he emphasizes an aspect of the message he previously preached.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NASB (3) For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (4) and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
In giving US this information, he tells us that what he about to say was of the utmost importance.
- Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.
End page four.
Romans 6:8-10 NASB Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, (9) knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. (10) For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Romans 8:3 NLT, The law of Moses, was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body, God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB (21) He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Hebrews 9:25-28 NASB nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. (26) Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world, but now once at the consummation of the ages, He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (27) And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (28) so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
This one verse speaks to Christ dying for our sins; and, it answers the questions about His death and resurrection.
1 Peter 3:18 NASB For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
I do not know how much time we have left here on earth; the Church is about to be called back home to be with Jesus.
How do I know that I will be among them?
For the same reasons that you would, if you are a follower of Christ, because we came alongside Him and made a decision to ride this bus until it reaches the destination no matter how difficult the road gets. The faith that I applied, and it wasn’t much in my eyes, caused me to be in Christ, and I am deemed a follower of Christ and a part of the church – the body of Christ.
Some would say, what about all the things you have done?
It doesn’t matter to the Father anymore, as Jesus took it all to the cross with Him – past, present, and future sins. And, in case you are keeping score, all sins are covered, and I gave you scripture for that. Even if, as one might say, your sins are BIGGER and more freakish bizarre than mine; it doesn’t matter, as they are all covered in that blood – blood that blankets all sins, including the sins of those deemed to be outside of God’s grace; they, even if the rapture comes, are still entitled to the forgiveness of God, the only difference is that during the time of wrath after the church is gone, you will have to prove your dedication to God through your death.
If you have ever wondered why so many of us speak of such horrors, it is because we don’t want you to have to endure the absolute hell that is coming upon the earth. It doesn’t take but half a brain to see what is coming. These globalists are not on your side.