“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58).
Many years ago, my good friend Pastor John Fredericksen gave me a plaque engraved with this text, a plaque that sits on my desk here at Berean Bible Society to this day. As I labor for the Lord, it is such an encouragement to me to know that, no matter what, my labor is not in vain in the Lord.
But if that be so, why did Paul tell the Galatians,
“Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Gal. 4:10,11).
And what about what the apostle told the Philippians:
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings…that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Phil. 2:14-16).
And don’t we find the same thought in I Thessalonians 3:5?
“…I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.”
If it was possible that Paul’s labor for the Lord might have been in vain, how could he tell the Corinthians that their labor could not be? How could the labor of a godly apostle be in vain, but not the labor of the carnal Corinthians?
We believe the answer is found in the context of the verse, where right before telling the Corinthians that their labor was not in vain, Paul spoke to them about the Rapture (I Cor. 15:51-57). In that day, when we stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ, no believer’s labor will be in vain, for all of our labor for Him will be richly rewarded.
And so it is that, if the Galatians persisted in their legalism, if the Philippians continued to do things with murmurings and disputings, if the Thessalonians abandoned the faith, Paul’s labor among them would have been in vain in this life, but not in the next life! And if you are feeling discouraged about your labor for the Lord because people whom you have led to Him have departed from the faith, or believers to whom you’ve introduced the grace message have turned their back on that blessed truth, you too can rejoice that your labor is not in vain in the Lord!
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.
Free Mail Subscription
For a free subscription to the Berean Searchlight by mail, visit the Berean Searchlight Subscription page.
Please take a moment to contemplate your answer to the following question:
There are only two options, in the eternal presence of God in heaven, or in eternal separation from God in the lake of fire.
Most people believe they are going to heaven because they believe in God, they attend mass or church services, or they try to live a good life. But these people only hope that they will make it to heaven, they do not know. The Bible teaches that you can know that you have eternal life.
1 John 5:13
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
But how can someone know if they have been good enough to get to heaven? The answer is that your eternal destiny has nothing to do with how good you are. In fact, the Bible teaches that no one is good enough to get to heaven.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Righteousness is defined as, “God’s standard of perfection.” According to the Bible, no man meets this standard.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Any disobedience toward God is sin. Whether you admit it or not, you know that you have sinned.
It does not matter how good you are compared to your siblings, your friends, or other people. Since you are a sinner, you do not measure up to God’s standard of perfection and are unworthy of heaven. In fact, your sinful nature will be judged by God.
The Bible says that Christ will be revealed from heaven with his angels:
2 Thessalonians 1:8,9
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
This judgment is the payment which you owe for your sin:
For the wages of sin is death;
We all know that wages are something we earn. By our sin, we have earned death.
So you might be asking, “If everyone is a sinner, and sin is deserving of death, how does anyone get to heaven?”
I’m glad you asked that!
The second half of Romans 6:23 contains the answer to your question:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This verse says that eternal life is a gift. Can you earn a gift? Do you have to do anything to get a gift?
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Faith is simply believing what God has said. God, being a loving Father, wants to have a relationship with you. Since you are separated from Him by your unrighteousness, he will count your faith for righteousness so that you can have a personal relationship with Him!
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
But how did God provide for this free gift of eternal life? And if eternal life is a free gift that I can receive, how do I receive it? If God will count my faith for righteousness, what do I need to have faith in?
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
When the Bible says that “Christ died for us,” it means that Jesus Christ died in our place. We saw earlier how the payment for sin is death. Christ has already paid that payment for you.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Jesus Christ “knew no sin.” Since he was God, he never sinned. Since he was not a sinner, he did not owe the payment for sin, death. But he chose to die to pay your debt so that you could be “justified”, or declared righteous, by God.
1 Corinthians 15:3,4
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Once again, these verses show that Christ did not die for his own sins, but for OUR sins. He didn’t have any sin of his own to pay for, so he chose to pay for your sin. This is how God showed his love for us. He died for us so that we could have righteousness and eternal life as a free gift.
But that’s not all. If He had only died, this would not have been enough. Not only did He die, but He also “rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Christ’s resurrection purchased victory over death and proved that He was truly God. It is on the basis of Christ’s resurrection that God can offer you newness of life.
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
So how does one go about receiving this gift? The answer is very simple.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Today, you have heard the gospel that Christ died for your sins and that salvation is a free gift.
Do you believe the gospel? Do you believe that you are a sinner and that you cannot earn salvation? Do you believe that because of your sin you are deserving of eternal judgment in the lake of fire? Do you believe that Jesus Christ gave his life for you so that you can have eternal life with him?
Many people believe that Jesus Christ died. But many of these people are still trying to please God by their works. Trusting the gospel means that you have made the decision to rely completely on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as the full payment for your sins.
Won’t you make that decision to trust him right now?
If you have made that decision, you may want to pray to God to thank him for the gift of eternal life that he has provided for you. But remember that you are saved by trusting in the gospel, not by saying a prayer. God is concerned with the condition of your heart, not some words that you recite. If you want to thank God for this gift, but aren’t really sure how to pray to him, you can use the following as a guide.
Heavenly Father,I know that I am a sinner.
I know that, as a sinner, I deserve death.
And I know that I cannot earn eternal life or work my way to heaven.
But I believe that Your Son died for my sins on the cross and paid my debt so that I can have eternal life as a free gift.
I believe that He rose from the dead for my justification.
I have decided to trust in Christ as my Savior and receive that gift.
Thank you for dying for me and for your free gift of eternal life.
In Jesus’ name,
If you have placed your trust in the gospel, you are now eternally saved. Nothing can change that.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Bible says that you are now sealed with the Holy Spirit and are a member of the Body of Christ. No one, not even you, can now separate you from God’s love. You can now know, based on the Word of God, that you have eternal life. And since you didn’t do anything to earn eternal life, you don’t have to follow any list of rules and regulations to keep eternal life.
Let me repeat the question I asked you at the beginning:
If you were to die right now and God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” You can now say with confidence based on the authority of the Word of God, Because Christ died for my sins!
If you have made a decision to trust Christ, we would like to hear from you. You can call the Berean Bible Society at (262) 255-4750 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will find many materials on this website that will help you understand your Bible and comprehend all that you have been given in Christ!
Note: While we are in complete agreement on the subject of tongues, signs and visions, Pastor Stam and Berean Bible Society do not necessarily endorse everything in this article written by Brother Bishop, who believed that the present dispensation of the grace of God began at Pentecost with the coming of the Holy Spirit.