The word ‘gospel’ (Old English for God’s spell) literally means ‘the story of God.’ It is the good news. It is the message of hope, of peace, and of grace… the message of salvation. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the Apostle Paul outlines the three parts of the gospel: the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (for more, read 2 Cor. 4:4, Eph. 1:13, Rom. 1:16) The gospel was first on the lips of our Lord when He began His ministry: ‘The kingdom if God is at hand, repent and believe the gospel.’ And the gospel was the last thing Jesus talked about before ascending to Heaven: ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…” (Mark 1:15, 16:15)
Our REDEMPTION in the Gospel
It is in the blood of Christ where we find our redemption (the payment for our sins) and it is at the cross where we find Him bleeding for sin. The cross offers an exchange: our sins for His righteousness. Our failures for His success. Our works for His grace. We cannot take what He has freely offered without leaving its antithesis at the cross. Christ died for me, but Christ did not die a martyrs death (in order to show us an example of how to die). He died a substitutionary death – He died my death – in my place. If I never accept what He did for me, then I will never be forgiven. I must realize that what was done was personal to Him, and until it’s personal to me it is of none effect to me (Isaiah 53:5-6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Romans 4:24-25; Titus 2:14).
Our REASSURANCE in the Gospel
The three days of entombment is of vital importance to the gospel. It has a securing significance. If Christ had not been buried and sealed in a tomb (by His enemies) then rumors might still abound about some plan to steal His body. The fact that the His disciples buried Him proves that He was absolutely, totally dead and that they had given up hope. They had assumed that, although it was great while it lasted, the life and ministry of Jesus was over. To them, it was finished. But the three days in the tomb has s symbolic significance, too. Jesus predicted that, like a seed, He would burst forth from the ground to bear fruit. He predicted that, as a seed, He would die and come back to an even-better life (John 12:24; 1 Cor. 15:20).
Our RESURRECTION in the Gospel
The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided indisputable proof that He was everything He claimed to be! Not only did He plan to show Himself to many women first (at the time, women were not regarded as legally-legitimate witnesses), but He revealed Himself to believers and unbelievers alike. In total, over 515 different people saw him alive after His death, entombment, and resurrection. That’s more than just a fact – that’s a true fact (I know it’s redundant, but it’s just that true!). There is more evidence for the resurrection than for many of the events in our history books. In fact, four very successful lawyers (one was an atheist) all set out to test the legitimacy of these facts. All four, before being able to disprove the resurrection, were converted to Christianity by faith in a risen Savior! The best part about the resurrection is that it gives me a proof of the payment for my sins (like a receipt). I now can hold the promise of my own resurrection without doubts or fears (1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:14).
*What you should do with the Gospel:
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 mention a few responses that are appropriate. Will you believe it(to accept as fact, to agree or give ascent to)? Receiving it is the first step – but don’t stop there (many believed in vain). Will you receive it (to understand its personal nature, to make the exchange, to appropriate salvation to your own soul)? Will you stand in it (to build upon, to let it establish you, to trust in it for life)? Will you speak it (to share it with others, to bear witness of what God has done for you)?