Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bible Truth #316 - 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1  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.

I wrote about this passage in Bible Truth #269 but want to touch upon another thought Paul wrote of that I initially overlooked.

...unless ye have believed in vain. Paul was literally telling us here that a man can believe in vain, i.e. his belief is useless and has no effect on his spiritual condition.

What is the difference between a saved person believing and a lost person believing. The Arminian will say, “The lost person is only giving intellectual assent to the historical facts of Jesus, he doesn’t believe in his heart.
Well how does one believe in his heart?
He must commit to Jesus and live for Him, trust in Jesus to take him to Heaven when he dies.
So tell me why a man can’t give “intellectual assent” to living for Jesus and trusting Jesus to take him to Heaven when he dies?

In my lifetime I have seen many people who believe and are really “committed” to Jesus, committed to their church, and they spend a lot of time volunteering to help others. But they’re as lost as any reprobate who curses God. They do many good works but they believe in vain.

There is no degree of lostness, a man is either saved or lost. So I ask again, how does one believe in their heart?

The answer is a lost man CAN’T believe in his heart because his heart is dead. A lost man is dead in his sins (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5, Colossians 2:13). If he was not chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world he has no hope of being saved (Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13). Yes, there are some lost people in churches who do many good deeds, their contributions (financial and in deed) to the church and society have many fooled into thinking they are Christian. But they believe in vain.

In the context of this passage, and since human nature hasn’t changed, Paul knew there were non-Christians who were members of the church at Corinth and he knew that these people believed in vain. Non-Christians who believe in Christ believe in vain. They believe the same way demons believe (James 2:19). They give intellectual assent to the same facts that God’s Elect know and believe. But because they weren't chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, they will ALWAYS believe in vain. Their belief is of the flesh, and not the spirit.

Paul was confirming that a lost man can do what he wants, even believe, but it will be in vain unless he is chosen. It will be in vain unless God has done a work in him and given him belief (John 6:29; Philippians 1:29), saving belief.

Bottom line - a lost man who believes in Christ does it with his flesh - therefore he believes in vain because his belief is not pleasing to God. (Romans 8:8)

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