Believing in Vain
The more we move forward chronologically it seems that our souls detach from the meaning of the past. Last summer I stood in the very square in Timisoara, Romania where the Romanian revolution began. The Romanian revolution was not only a political event, but a definitively spiritual one. It was not the beginning of faith in Romania, but rather its coming out party. The revolution of December 1989 may have been fueled by political unrest, but it was ignited by prayer and open expressions of the Christian faith.
Though we were there just shy of the 20 year anniversary, and bullet holes still served as memorials in the architecture, it seemed to me that many Romanians, at least in the churches, have detached from the meaning of that event. In hearing the stories, the churches were full in the days following revolution, but not so much today. The same is true in America. Post 9/11 we were full of faith and patriotism. What the Romanians forgot in 20 years it seemed like Americans dismissed in 2 weeks. Now, March 2, 2010, we are full of confusion and marching toward Socialism. The human soul has a short memory.
Within one generation, probably 20 to 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Paul responds to the infighting, immorality, and assimilation of Pagan worship and heretical doctrine in the Corinthian church with a stern reminder. The resurrection of Jesus Christ will change the human soul, “unless you believed in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2b).”
When most people read this passage, or hear me explain it, their question becomes, “Can someone lose their salvation.” My response is unequivocally, “No.” But I would also respond that the souls of truly born again people do not detach so easily from the meaning of the resurrection. Their faith is not in vain. The word “vain” means empty, worthless, meaningless. By their actions, there are many people who profess Jesus Christ, but demonstrate a version of faith that is “empty, worthless, meaningless.” They have believed in vain. Such people do not have eternal life.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ will impact one’s speech, habits, marriage, finances, attitudes, motives, morals, vision, parenting, commitment to church, service to community, ethics, . . . The resurrection impacts the very essence of everyone who believes it. Though many professing Christians would not verbally deny the resurrection of Christ, their ethic betrays them. They deny Jesus is the risen Lord by the way they treat their family and forsake their marriage. They deny the resurrection by their internet activity, speech patterns, attitudes, morals, lack of commitment, lack of stability, lack of direction, and lack of controlling faith. Their souls have detached from historical truth. Jesus Christ has risen. Those who have not believed in vain live under His lordship daily because He is alive.