Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:2
What is the gospel? In the church, we talk about believing the gospel. We talk about sharing the gospel so that others may hear and believe. What are we supposed to believe and share?
The opening verses of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 provide a brief summary of the gospel according to the great Christian apostle Paul. He indicates that he received this gospel and passed it on to them. Paul makes the point in another letter, Galatians, that he received the gospel message directly from Christ, not from any other apostles or teachers.
The elements of the gospel, according to Paul, are:
“Christ died for our sins.” This first part of the gospel message contains two important truths. In some way, the death of Jesus on the cross paved the way for the forgiveness of our sins. This implies the second of these truths. We sin and we need God’s forgiveness.
“… according to the Scriptures…” Paul is talking about the Old Testament scriptures in these verses. In other words, this death of Christ that brings forgiveness was God’s plan all along.
“… the he was buried,” In other words, Jesus was really dead. Which is important to know because…
“…he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.” Jesus was really alive again after he really died. The death and resurrection of Jesus are both a part of the gospel. As we trust in Him and the work that He did when He died and rose again, we receive salvation.
There is no substitute for the gospel. Jesus fulfilled God’s plan for saving humanity. We participate in God’s plan for our lives by receiving His salvation when we trust in Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Earlier in the First Corinthian letter, Paul reminds them that some people like the Jews he knew seek signs from God and some like educated Gentiles seek special wisdom, “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23).
So don’t put your trust in any other ideas about God or salvation. The gospel is good news. Hold firmly to it and pay attention to Paul’s warning not to believe in vain.
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC