1 Corinthians 15:1-2, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.”
This morning I spent a good ten minutes looking for my keys. It had only been a few hours since I had laid them down somewhere, after spending the evening with a couple brothers visiting from Wisconsin, but for the life of me I could not remember where I had placed them.
I have long believed man is a forgetful creature, and as I hunted desperately for my keys this morning, it became all the more apparent. There are certain things in this life that are worth keeping fresh and at the forefront of our mind on a daily basis. All of us vaguely remember having known certain things, that have somehow slipped from our mind, a certain passage from the Word, a certain lyric of a song, whatever it may be there is not a person alive on this earth that has perfect recall of everything they ever heard throughout their lives. There are even things we might have known very well once upon a time, over which the cobwebs of every day life have slowly grown until they are but a faint memory.
I know it might sound morbid to some, but I enjoy spending time in cemeteries, especially really old ones. I like reading headstones, seeing a life that once was encapsulated in a few words, whether they be loving husband, beloved mother, or adoring son. The older the grave markers, the harder they are to read, often shrouded in grass, weeds, and flowers. I think our memories can sometimes get that way, overgrown with the passage of time with the grass weeds and flowers of yet another season that has come and gone.
Whether we are just beginning our journey on this earth, or nearing its end, there are certain things that must be kept ever fresh in our mind’s eye. There are certain truths that can never be forgotten, over which the worries, fears, and uncertainties of this life can never be allowed to grow and consume. Even the most seasoned of Christians sometimes need a refresher course in the basics; they need to be brought back to the simplicity of the gospel and the pillars that hold up the entire weight of the Christian experience.
The Christians in Corinth were no different than many of us, and they needed a refresher course on the Gospel that the apostle Paul had preached to them. They had started to forget what was most essential and important in the scripture, that Jesus was crucified, that Jesus died, and that He rose again. It is in the cross and the resurrection that we must always dwell, it is these two essentials that can never be forgotten or allowed to lose their relevance. The Corinthians, like many Christians today had started chasing after miracles, after signs and wonders, and had forgotten the cross and the resurrection.
Theoretically the Christians of Corinth were in the Gospel, but practically they were far removed from it. We must continually and ceaselessly be refreshed and renewed in the gospel of the cross and the resurrection, for only in this way are we able to live a life in Christ.
Unfortunate as it might be, the practice of the church of Corinth is alive and well in the modern day church. Many who call themselves Christians, and children of God no longer believe in the resurrection, because they no longer live the Gospel of the cross in a practical manner. Yes, they perform certain religious formalities with great precision, but they no longer believe the promises of God’s Word, nor do they live within the shelter of the Holy Lamb’s blood, which is the cross. They have become separated from these truths, and strangers to them.
Salvation is a present work of God’s sovereign grace in the hearts of those who truly believe. When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he did not say that the gospel that he preached to them would one day save them, but rather the gospel had saved them. We are saved by the gospel presently, and the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of righteousness, the nature of Christ must be visible in us.
A perverted gospel, a gospel absent of Christ, the cross, and the resurrection, does not save, but merely soothes the burdened conscience. When men preach salvation by any other means but by Christ and the cross, they are preaching a perverted gospel that does nothing to unshackle the imprisoned soul, which does nothing to bring freedom and peace to the hearts of their hearers. I liken such experiences to a man who suffering from leprosy goes to the doctor, and after being consulted, the doctor tells his patient that he is healed. Awestruck by the doctor’s remarks, the man looks at his broken body, and tattered flesh, and says, ‘but there is no evidence of my healing, my flesh is still as it was, my disease is still present.’
Only through the gospel of Christ, only by way of the cross, by way of repentance and obedience to God’s Holy Word are we able to see the evidence of our being renewed, transformed, and brought from death unto life.
Galatians 1:6-8, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.