To really believe in Jesus the Christ and His great sacrifice on the cross, and to receive Him in our hearts as Savior and Lord means we have believed the Gospel and received salvation. Salvation from What? Believing in Him really means salvation from eternal Hell and damnation. Yet, the Apostle Paul teaches in I Corinthians 15:2 that there are some who, although they have believed, because they have not continued in his teachings, sadly they have believed in vain.
Consider his words from I Corinthians chapter 15 and verses 1 and 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.”
Unless, we as Believers in Christ Jesus keep in our memory what the Apostle Paul has preached, then we have simply believed in vain. That is to say, we are no longer saved from Hell. Believing in Jesus and receiving His great salvation is not the end of the journey, but the beginning of the journey of salvation. Our destination must be to end our race in Heaven.
Is the Apostle Paul Saying Some Are Wasting Their Time Believing?
Basically, yes, Paul is teaching us that if we do not continue in the faith and the righteous living through the gift of the Grace (which really biblically means: the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to live and accomplish for God) as he has taught, then we are wasting our time believing in the first place. That is why Jesus said in Luke chapter 14 to “…count the cost…” before you try to become His disciples in the first place. Let’s find out exactly what He taught in Luke 14:27-31 & 33 when He says,
(27)”And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
(28)”For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
(29)”Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,”
(30)”Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”
(31)”Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?”
(33)”So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
In other words Jesus said when you come to Him to be one His disciples or followers (that is to say, to become a real Christian), you should come with the determination to continue living as one who is discipled by the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit). He said we need to see if we really want to forsake all for Him or not and if not; we have believed in vain.
And That Is the Major Question For Those Of Us In The Church: ARE WE WILLING TO FORSAKE ALL FOR CHRIST?
Many of us will haphazardly say that we are willing when, in fact, we are not willing to continue to forsake all we hold near and dear for the love and obedience of Christ. Our biggest problem is that we hold to the pleasures and riches of this world too much and cannot seem to let go!
It’s Time To Be Willing To Let Go!
It is time that we choose to let the things of this world go that are hindering us from loving and worshiping God the way we know that we are suppose to be doing. Whatever or whoever it is that is preventing us from seeking Him with all our hearts, and all our minds, and all our strength, we need to start letting go of that hindrance.
We need to let go of too much of anything that is standing between us and our Savior. We must let go of too much:
- Television, radio, or internet
- too much of our daily routine
- too much of our time spent at work
- too much of our time spent at school
- too much of our time spent with even family and friends
- even too much of our church work if it is preventing us from daily worship and praise of our Lord.
How Do We Make Our Believing Count?
In conclusion, we must make our believing in Christ Jesus and His work of salvation count by staying with our FIRST LOVE. The Lord Jesus explains it well, when He speaks through the great Revelation of the end time, that was given to His beloved disciple, the Apostle John. He tells John to give a message to the seven churches of Asia Minor.
John obeys and writes the message. And, if we could zoom-in, for a minute, to His message to the church of Ephesus that is found in Revelations chapter 2. There we can hear the Lord’s report card for the church of Ephesus as well as His warnings to the church in general. Starting in verse two, Jesus says,
“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:”
I need to drop a note here, to emphasize that Jesus gave the church a commendation, if you will, for testing, trying and weeding out fraudulent apostles and fraudulent leaders who are evil, and don’t tell the truth. Now-a-days, it seems, we make these preachers superstars, and thousands flock to hear them on a weekly basis. Then in verse three, He continues His by saying,
“And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.”
Here, we find a group of Christians that Jesus recognized and commended for their labor in Christ’s name. He honored them for their evangelism and church work, if you will. However, as we will see in verse 4 & 5, the testing and trying of false preachers and the labor in the gospel and church work were not enough for what He expected of them the most! Lets us pick up the message in verses four and five when Jesus says,
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
That is the message, when we leave our “first love”, which is God, regardless of how straight our church doctrine, regardless of how much labor we put in for Christ’s name sake, we have still fallen and must repent or else, we have believed in vain.
How do we repent?
By doing the “first works”, and what is first in our lives should be God and our ministering and worship to Him only. Allowing God to have the first priority and the first praise and the first worship of our daily lives, is what we should strive for. And anything or even anyone that prevents this, we must back away from and cling to our God and our Lord. If we do not turn to Him with all of our hearts, then we have to learn to accept the fact that we have believed in Vain! A-MEN