Q 047

Question: How do you explain to a person that brings up I Corinthian 15:2? They use that verse to say you have to keep on believing or you have believed in vain and could lose your salvation.

Answer: 1 Corinthians 15:2 is a verse that is often misunderstood because it is removed from its context. When studied in context the meaning is understood. The Corinthian believers had believed unto eternal life. We know this from the very beginning of the book (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2). He calls them “sanctified in Christ Jesus” and “saints”. Evidently, these were believers. So, what does it mean to believe in vain? Well, 1 Corinthians 15 begins a lengthy address on the significance of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. Paul is warning these believers, that denying the resurrection makes their faith hollow. He is not saying it nullifies a believers justification before God. He is saying that it shipwrecks their faith because they are not recognizing what has been accomplished in Jesus’ resurrection. How can the Corinthian believer effectively share the gospel message and hold to the position that Jesus never came back from the dead? How can the Corinthian believer look forward to the Rapture, where he gets a new body, if Jesus never rose again? This is what Paul means when he says they believed in vain. Vain means empty and without value. The believers faith has no value if it rests on a dead Savior. This was a warning to them about their growth in the Lord. Does this makes sense? I pray it does.