Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
1) The gospel was preached
2) The gospel was received
3) Those who receive stand
4) Those who receive are saved
5) Those who receive hold fast
The past 2 days we have looked at the first three implications of the gospel in the Church of Corinth. Today we will finish up with the last two.
Those who receive are saved
I grew up in and around Church all my life. This word “saved” has always been part of my vocabulary. At a very young age I asked Jesus to save me
When I was a kid and even into my twenties, the meaning of the word “saved” was pretty simply rescued from a future burning in hell.
I grew up in a generation of evangelism that focused heavily on the punishment of unbelievers. They for sure understood what Jude was talking about when he said,
save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. ~ Jude:23
Then I started to study this word “saved” and found it to be one of the most fascinating and compelling words in scripture.
The Greek word here is ‘sozo’ and its meaning are very similar to that of the Hebrew word ‘shalom.’ I know when you hear the word shalom, you may be thinking peace – especially since it is used as a day to day greeting, it can lose its meaning pretty quickly. But the simplest and most profound definition I have heard for shalom is ‘whole – complete – nothing broken and nothing missing.’ I love that!
Sozo is like that. It is not simply that when you enter a covenant relationship with Jesus that He saves you from hell (and He does) but He also makes you whole.
In the gospels this word, sozo, is translated, saved, healed, delivered, and made whole.
I love the phrase the writer to the Hebrews uses:
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. ~ Hebrews 7:25
So then – those who receive Him, who come to Him, He saves to the uttermost! Hallelujah!
Those who receive hold fast
So what does it mean to hold fast? Is this some kind of work of the flesh Paul is foisting on us? I don’t think so. No deed of the flesh can hold us or attach us to that which was given to us supernaturally.
There is an jumbo jet - let’s call it a concord jet – one of those supersonic babies from the 90’s. It is flying across the pond headed to France. God has a plan to get you to France for a meeting He wants you to attend. So He reaches out of heaven (picture a giant Mickey Mouse glove) delicately picks you up by the collar and places you on the jet – not in but on. Then He tells you, “Ok, it is My will that you go to Paris and preach at Notre Dame. I have gotten you on the plane, all you have to do is hold on till you land in Paris. It should only be 3 hours.”
Yeah – no – I am pretty sure that in this strictly supernatural journey we are on there is no amount of our own holding on that will keep up on the plane. Jesus holds us!
So what are we holding fast?
He is talking about holding on to the truth - to the gospel – contending for the faith – holding what is true, and letting everything else go.
When I say holding the truth – there is an element of protecting it, but I believe the bigger job is protecting ourselves from the lies. Even lies like – you have to hold on to Jesus or you’ll end up in hell.
If we could hold on, we would not have needed Jesus to die and rise and present His precious blood to the Father.
Next we will look at the gospel in its simplest form.
See you then.
Tomorrow there are some great questions to toss around – don’t miss it.