1Co 15:1-2 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.”
Paul tells the church at Corinth that what he has said to them and what he is about to say to them is not new. What he writes in his letter is the same gospel that he preached to them face-to-face for a period of a year and a half (Act 18:11). He reminds them here that they received that gospel, not just by hearing but that it found a lodging place within them.
It was this gospel of Paul that had established caused them to stand as the church at Corinth. Scholars estimate that Paul came to Corinth around 51 AD. Depending on exactly when he arrived that would put his departure from them sometime between 52 and 53 AD. The date of this letter is put somewhere between 54 and 55 AD, so it did not take long for discord to crop up.
Paul now declares to them (and us) that there is salvation in the gospel if we retain what we have heard. It is imperative that we keep in mind the whole counsel of God here, or we can easily be led into misunderstanding. Paul is not saying that eternal salvation comes from hearing, believing, and remembering the gospel.
Paul tells us in the Ephesian letter that God quickened us (gave life) together with Christ when we were dead in sins (Eph 2:4-5). We are also told that the carnal mind is not subject to the laws of God nor can it be (Rom 8:7). Until God quickens us (makes us alive) and relieves us of our carnal mind by giving us the mind of Christ (1Co 2:16), we cannot hear, believe, and obey the gospel. Further, His word tells us that the gospel brings life and immortality to light (2Ti 1:10).
Notice that the gospel is not credited with giving life and immortality. The gospel is the vehicle by which our life and immortality is manifest to us by the working of the Holy Ghost within us. If the gospel does not give eternal life then what is the salvation that Paul speaks of as belonging to the gospel?
We have only to look at the letter that Paul is writing here to see the answer to that question. Paul is telling us that if we remember the things preached to us by the gospel of Jesus Christ then we will be delivered (saved) from errors such as the Corinthian brethren had fallen into. If we do not retain in our memory the truth of the gospel, then our belief is vain.
If we believe the preaching we hear while sitting in church, then walk out the door and immediately forget it, our effort to go and hear and the grace to believe was received in vain. The lessons we believed will not have the power to save us as we interact with the world around us if we forget the gospel in our daily walk. While we will not lose our eternal salvation if we forget this gospel, we will certainly lose the benefit of the peace and consolation that is found in Jesus Christ while we walk here.
May we be blessed to rejoice in the truth that we are indeed saved by grace through the shed blood of Jesus Christ for all eternity and not forget that there is a daily salvation in the gospel for our walk here!