What Is The Gospel?
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which 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 according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
(1 Corinthians 15:1-5 NASB)
The gospel is the truth of first importance. It is not something that we have the liberty of changing. It is a truth that has been passed from God to us. If we receive this truth, believe it in earnest, and hold fast to the truth, we will be saved.
The gospel is a testimony about God's faithfulness. God foretold in the Scriptures that a Messiah would come. It was His promise. This Messiah would fulfill the prophecies foretold in the Scriptures.
Jesus is the Messiah. He came and died for our sins according to the Scriptures. Jesus Himself knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was born in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3). He came to fulfill the Scriptures such as Isaiah 53:5,
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. (NASB)
Human beings need a Savior because we have rebelled against God. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Our sin has made a separation between us and our God and He has hidden His face from us because we have made ourselves His enemies (Isaiah 59:2).
The Scriptures tell us about God's character. He is good, just, and holy. He will by no means clear the guilty or look upon sin with favor. This presents a terrible dilemma: How can God save anyone from their sin? How can God be both Just and also Justify (or declare innocent) those who have sinned?
The dilemma is solved in Jesus, the Christ.
Because God is love He loved us even while we were His enemies (Romans 5:10). God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ to take the sin of all who turn to Him in repentance and trust in Him alone by faith to save us from the coming wrath and judgment. Wrath and judgment which we deserve for our rebellion.
God fulfilled His promise through Christ.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB)
Through Christ, God demonstrated His righteousness and His justice. He publicly solved the dilemma.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26 NASB)
This gracious act from the Judge and King of all creation allowed for His wrath to be poured out and for His disposition to be changed from anger to favor for all who trust in Christ. This act required the death of the Messiah.
The Messiah died to fulfill the Scriptures.
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. (Isaiah 53:9 NASB)
Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by Rome as an enemy of the state. He was handed over by His own people as a blasphemer. He was executed publicly and shamefully between two criminals. He died under the curse of God (Galatians 3:13). Jesus was temporarily forsaken by His Father for our salvation (Psalm 22). Afterward, His body was laid in the tomb of a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea.
In accordance with the promise of God, the Messiah rose to life again on the third day.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
(Psalm 16:10 NASB)
Jesus did not undergo decay. He is alive today. Jesus rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God the Father.
The resurrection of the Messiah proves the truth of the gospel. It demands a response from you.
"Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
(Acts 17:30-31 NASB)
God is faithful. He has done everything He said He would do. He will do everything He says He will.
Jesus came the first time for salvation. He is coming again for judgment.
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. (Hebrews 9:27-28 NASB)
Christ came according to the Scriptures to die for our sin. He was buried. He was raised to life on the third day according to the Scriptures.
According to the Scriptures He is coming again in glory to gather His people to Himself and to crush His enemies under His feet (Psalm 110; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Revelation 19).
Turn to Him and be saved today! Trust in Him. Hold fast until the end.
He is worthy.