The Simple Gospel
By Pastor J.D. Link
1Cor 15:1-4 says, “… I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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.”
This Resurrection Sunday, it is good to rehearse the basic Gospel message. The most important thing to understand is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s not necessarily wrong to call the entire New Testament “The Gospel”; but what – foremost and specifically – is “The” Gospel? What is the bare bones of it? The above verses tell us: Jesus Christ, Son of God, crucified and died for our sins, buried and risen from the dead on the third day. This is the Gospel – the “almost too good to be true” news!
We can know we have eternal life – and should know it (1Jn 5:13). The born-again Christian should not wonder about the issue. If we receive Jesus, He gives us power to become a son of God (Jn 1:12). If we thirst, we can come to Him and drink (Jn 7:37). If we come to Him, He will receive us – He will not cast us out (Jn 6:37). If we acknowledge the facts of the Gospel, and truly believe it in our heart, and confess Jesus as Lord – we will be saved (Rom 10:9-10).
Let us examine the facts of the Gospel found in 1Cor 15:3-4. First, we see the Gospel is straight from Jesus (Gal 1:11-12). It is not the invention of man’s mind. It is from the mind of Almighty God. It was taught directly to Paul by Jesus Himself. Therefore, it is to be absolutely believed.
“How that Christ died for our sins” (Gal 1:4, 1Pt 2:24, 3:18, Rev 1:5, 1Jn 4:10, Rom 4:25). Jesus suffered for our sins; bore our sins; gave Himself for our sins; was delivered for our sins; was the appeasing sacrifice for our sins; and washed us from our sins in His own Blood – the blood of God (Act 20:28). He did this “according to the Scriptures” (Gen 3:15, Ps 22, Isa 53, Dan 9:26). He didn’t die for any sin of His own, for He had none. He took our sins upon Himself.
“And He was buried” (Isa 53:9, Mt 57-60). Why is burial important? Besides fulfilling prophecy, it is symbolic of our sins being put away – being buried. The Believer is buried with Him in baptism and risen with Him through faith – and now walks in newness of life. We have been spiritually resurrected (Rom 6:3-4, Col2:12). The old man is dead and buried, and the new man is risen with Christ. This salvation experience gives us a good conscience (1Pt 3:21). It is Spirit baptism that saves, not water baptism. Water baptism is the outward expression of the inward transformation. Otherwise, evangelism would simply be dunking people in water in Jesus name, instead of preaching the Gospel.
“And rose again the third day” (Act 10:39-40, 13:29-30). As we see in the Book of Acts, the Apostles preached the resurrected Jesus. One is not preaching the Gospel at all, if they’re not preaching Christ crucified, buried and resurrected. This resurrection of Jesus was also “according to the Scriptures” (Ps 16:10, Act2:27, Jonah 1:17, Mt 12:40). The Believer, in their spirit, is risen with Christ, for the old man is dead, and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:1-3). It is no longer us who live, but Christ lives in us (Gal 2:20).
We must acknowledge these facts through genuine heart belief and mouth confession (Rom 10:9-10, Act 8:36-37, Heb 10:22-23). If we don’t, we cannot be saved. If we do, we will call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. (Rom 10:13). We cannot be saved by our own effort, but only by faith and confession of these facts (Eph 2:8-9).
So, in summary, here are the basic facts of the Gospel: 1. There is none righteous, not even one. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom 3:10, 23). 2. The wages of sin is death – eternal separation from God in the Lake of fire (Rom 6:23, Jn 8:24, Rev 20:10-15). 3. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (Jn 3:16). 4. Christ died on the cross for our sins (Rom 5:8). 5. He was buried. 6. He rose again from the dead on the third day (1Cor 15:20). 7. If we acknowledge these facts through repentance, genuine heart belief and confession of our mouth, we will receive the gift of eternal life, and will become a new creation in Christ.
If you truly believe these facts, you may pray a prayer like this: Dear God, I know that I am a sinner; that I am not righteous. I know that the wages of sin is death – eternal separation from You in the Lake of Fire; and I know my good works cannot save me. Thank you for loving me so much, that You sent Your eternal Son, Jesus, to save me. I believe with all my heart, that Jesus died on the cross for my sins; that He was buried; that He rose from the dead on the third day. I confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and receive Him as my Savior. Dear Jesus, thank you for forgiving all my sins; washing them away with Your blood; cleansing me from all unrighteousness; giving me eternal life; and making me a child of God. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and power; and lead me into all truth, all the days of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.
Did you pray that prayer from the depth of your heart? Tell somebody. In fact, let me know, as well. Now it’s time for discipleship. Get water baptized; read the Bible and pray every day; and pray for God to lead you to a Bible teaching church.