What is The Gospel?

Read: Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 (NIV)

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Romans 6:1-12 (NIV)

Reflect: I grew up in a denomination where the definition of the word gospel was unclear to me and seemed shaky. So one day, while sitting in the college library, I became curious and researched the word gospel by looking up every place in the New Testament where it occurred. I came across this passage in 1 Corinthians where Paul defines the gospel. He tells us Christ died for our sins, he was buried, he was raised, and he appeared. I linked this to the teaching in Romans 6, that we are united with him in his death, burial and resurrection. Discovering this Biblical definition of the gospel became a defining moment of clarity and provided the context for my journey from that day forward.

My being in Christ and Christ being in me begins when I surrender to him. In this process I am united with Christ as he is crucified, putting to death the sin nature. I am united in him in his burial, lying in him in the tomb. And I am in him as he powers back to life, blows away the stone and walks out in the glory of God. Consequently, in each moment I can “appear” with him by attending to his presence and following as his voice guides me in his eternal way. Seems solid.

I can now define myself as one who is “dead to sin, and alive in Christ”. By his grace I can “offer myself to God as one who has been brought from death to life; and offer every part of myself to him as an instrument of righteousness”. (Romans 6)

React: Celebrate Resurrection Sunday everyday by thinking of yourself as united and appearing with the resurrected Christ.

Pray: Thank you for welcoming me into your death, burial and resurrection so that I may appear as light in the world with you.