1 Corinthians 15:2
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
Note 4 at 1Co 15:2: There are two ways of looking at this statement, and both are scripturally correct. First, the word "saved" is describing more than just the initial born-again experience (see note 1 at Ro 1:16). Therefore, Paul could well be saying that after we are born again, we will continue to be saved from sickness, depression, fear, etc., as we hold fast the truths of God's Word. This certainly is true.
This also could be referring to our eternal salvation, for although we do experience salvation here and now, we have to hold fast that profession unto the end. This is not saying that our eternal salvation is something that we cannot be assured of (2Pe 1:10). Our salvation is secure as long as we want it to be secure, but it must be maintained by faith (1Pe 1:5).
In context, Paul was dealing with some of the Corinthians who were doubting the Resurrection. If people yielded to the unbelief that Christ wasn't physically raised from the dead, then that would void their faith (1Co 15:14), and although they might have experienced the new birth, they could negate that experience through their unbelief.
Note 5 at 1Co 15:2: The memory is a powerful force in our lives. Here, Paul said it is essential for maintaining our salvation.
In 2 Peter, Peter appealed to the people's memories three times. He said, "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance" (2Pe 1:12-13). "Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance" (2Pe 1:15). "This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance" (2Pe 3:1).
From these and many other scriptures, we see that the memory is a very powerful thing. We have to cultivate our memories through meditating on the great things God has done for us and spoken to us. This is the reason the Lord gave feasts and commanded that monuments be erected (Jos 4:7). He said He commanded these things for memorials (Ex 12:14, Le 23:24, and Nu 10:10).
Note 6 at 1Co 15:2: In context, believing in vain refers to believing in a Jesus who did not conquer death through His physical resurrection (1Co 15:14). That kind of faith is "without success or effect" (definition of "in vain" [Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon]). Through this we can see that faith has to be directed properly to save us. It is not satisfactory to just believe; we have to believe the truth as given in God's Word (Joh 17:17).
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