By Gary L. Hutchens
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). These two verses declare, in a nutshell, the gospel. Jesus Christ died on the cross to bear the guilt of our sins, was buried in a tomb and arose from the grave on the third day.
His death was necessary as the only sacrifice worthy to pay the debt for our sins. The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament law of Moses were simply a shadow of the ultimate sacrifice that God would offer in the person of His own Son (Heb. 10:1-4). Christ’s burial in the tomb accented the fact of His death. His resurrection demonstrated His triumph over death. We can have confidence in the effectiveness of His death on the cross because of His resurrection from the grave. The simple, succinct facts brought out in these verses form the very message we must remember for our own encouragement and assurance today.
The gospel message is still as powerful today as it was when Paul, by inspiration, wrote these verses almost two thousand years ago. Pertaining to the power of the gospel, he declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). He also wrote, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).
This is still God’s message of salvation to mankind today. We are called to salvation through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:13-14). Thus, it is this message that we must preach, teach, proclaim, communicate by any effective means possible. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). The opportunity for a world lost in sin to be saved is dependent upon their hearing and obeying this gospel message. “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). Once we proclaim the gospel message to the lost, they are responsible for obeying it (2 Thess. 1:7-8).
There is no message more needed by the world today than the gospel. There is no message more important for the well being of mankind than the gospel. There is no message through which we can do a greater service as the church for people than the gospel. Let us believe the gospel, let us obey the gospel, and let us untiringly teach the gospel to everyone we can...
Gary L. Hutchens