Have I believed in vain?
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 NASB
Does this question chip away your confidence? Are you haunted by the possibility that your faith might become worthless and you might therefore lose the salvation you received through Jesus Christ? If so, I'd like to provoke your most holy mind to recognize how the working of religious deception has twisted the gospel to make you look to yourself rather than to Christ. I suspect even those who may not question their salvation have most likely been tricked into imagining that the focus of vain faith rests upon their own doctrinally correct faith. Oh yeah, I realize that may sound quite contradictory in the face of language that seems to say exactly that, but like I said, what we think we see in these verses has been so perverted by the natural, religious mind that we can't see what's plainly in front of our eyes.
What gospel did Paul preach to them in the first place by which they were saved? That Christ died for our sins, was buried and then was raised from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus was witnessed by many. And this is what he wanted them to hold fast what he preached to them. Was it so that by keeping our faith alive that we might remain saved? Tell me, do you hear the mind of man's self-justification pushing you to see yourself rather than Christ in that line of questioning? Let me state the glaring truth that you will no doubt recognize immediately. There is one, and only one reality that Paul pursued in his whole line of questioning, and it is this: If Christ rose from the dead, as Paul's gospel claimed, then your faith is not vain nor is it worthless.
If this sounds to you as if I'm forcing Paul's words to say something he did not mean then I suggest you read those words for yourself. No, not just the two verses above, but the ones that follow. What you will see, unless your eyes have been blinded by the deceiver, is that Paul was confronting the false teaching that had been circulating among them that Jesus Christ had not really come back from the dead. Do you see why Paul wanted them to recall the gospel that HE had preached to them, the one they received, the one in which they stood, the one by which they were saved?
Paul told them that Christ not only died but that he also rose again from the grave. If it was not true, and Jesus Christ had not risen, then any faith in a dead Christ would be worthless, it would be vain, and there could be no salvation in it. But if Christ has been raised ... well, you know the rest, don't you? :)
This Shovel Audio, Tongues of Fire, comes from a request from a wonderful lady about praying in tongues. She now wonders how something that is supposed to bring rest and refreshment has instead produced weariness and some kind of bondage. This is the first of two audios. Expect another one, the Miraculous Significance of Tongues to follow next week.