What is the Gospel?
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
What is the Gospel? Paul answers this question in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. In this verse, Paul talks about the Gospel he preached to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 15:1). In other words, the Gospel is an announcement. Paul then elaborates on the specific contents of the message he preached, which he calls first importance, starting in verse 3.
Paul says, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The Gospel is the announcement of what Jesus has done and the foundation of Christianity is packed into this passage. It affirms that Christ died for our sins, showing that we are sinful and that our sins must be dealt with. It announces Jesus was buried which proves that He was fully human, and His death was real. It also confirms that He was raised on the third day, proving His deity and miraculous nature of the Gospel. Finally, it demonstrates that it was all done in accordance with the Scriptures. Jesus’ death and resurrection for our sin was God’s plan and not a reaction to something that men did.
Further evidence of the Gospel is given in verses 5-8 which show that Jesus appeared to more than five hundred people and that most were alive at the time Paul wrote the letter. They could all verify the claims Paul was making and proved Jesus’ resurrection was not in a vision of one person.
In other words, the Gospel is an announcement of something Jesus has done, it is not a display of something that we do.
We are not preaching the Gospel by loving our neighbors, serving the poor and trying to get rid of unhealthy habits. These are all great blessings and show evidence of the sanctification God is performing in our lives. But the changes are a result of the Gospel, they are not the Gospel itself. To put it simply, if the attention is on us, then we are not preaching the Gospel.
Let us preach the Gospel constantly by telling the truth of what Jesus has done.
Prayer of the day:
Dear heavenly Father,
Thank you for the Gospel which shows Your love through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Give us the wisdom to preach the Gospel truth to our friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Help us to always point to You and what Jesus accomplished on the cross two thousand years ago and not on ourselves. We are so thankful for what You have done in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!