By Clifton Angel
The word "gospel" means "good news." The good news of Jesus is primarily contained in the New Testament, but without the Old Testament, we certainly would not know all that makes the gospel "good news." So, although the entirety of the good news of Jesus is beyond the scope of our brief moment here, there is a summation that Paul provides, which we will consider.
Moreover, brethren, 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 (1 Corinthians 15:1–4).
Paul summarizes the good news of Jesus as His death, burial, and resurrection. Let's think brieﬂy about these three monumental events.
The death of Jesus is good news to mankind because it was at this point that: (1) Jesus took upon Him the sins of the world (1 Peter 2:24); (2) Jesus shed His sin-cleansing blood (Revelation 1:5; Matthew 26:28); (3) Jesus literally gave His life — He willed Himself to death because of our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). Since He died for and because of sin, we can die to sin (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:2).
The burial of Jesus is good news to mankind because: (1) His burial "sealed the deal" of His death; (2) His burial fulﬁlled prophecy (cf. Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57–60); (3) His burial prepared Him for an undeniable resurrection (cf. Matthew 27:57–28:6; Mark 15:42–16:6; Luke 23:50–24:7; John
19:38–20:8). Another interesting detail of the burial is that Jesus rested from His work the entirety of the Sabbath (albeit, under the new covenant, we are not commanded to keep it holy, as was required under the law of Moses). Finally, for us, being buried with Christ in baptism "seals the deal" of putting off the old man of sin and prepares us for our new life in Christ (Romans 6:3–4; Colossians 2:11–12).
The resurrection of Jesus is good news to mankind because: (1) Jesus manifested His power over death (Acts 2:24; Hebrews 2:14); (2) Jesus delivered a crushing blow to the head of Satan (Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14); (3) Jesus became the ﬁrstfruits of the ﬁnal resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15). Furthermore, He made it possible for our resurrection from the waters of baptism (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:4–5).
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, that they had received the gospel, were standing in the gospel, and were being saved by the gospel. However, he noted a major condition upon these gospel blessings: "If, ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:2). Have you obeyed, and are you obeying the good news of Jesus Christ?
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/