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. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:1–5, NIV)
Do you need to be reminded of the Gospel? Paul loves to remind his readers of the Gospel he preached—the Gospel they received, that they are standing in, and by which they have been saved. Paul consistently delivers the message he received directly from Christ. First, Jesus DIED for our sins. Second, Jesus was BURIED. Third, Jesus was RAISED on the third day. Finally, Jesus APPEARED.
One reason these four words intrigue me is that I experienced these things when I repented and was reconciled to God.
The other reason is that this sequence is throughout all of Scripture. May I go deep for a minute? Let’s go to the Old Testament, and I will show you where the Gospel is outlined in one of the sacrifices depicted in Leviticus.
. . . the priest shall command them to take for him who is to be cleansed two live clean birds and cedarwood and scarlet yarn and hyssop. And the priest shall command them to kill [death]one of the birds in an earthenware vessel [burial] over fresh water. He shall take the live bird with the cedarwood and the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, and dip them and the live bird in the blood [resurrection]of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed of the leprous disease. Then he shall pronounce him clean and shall let the living bird go into the open field [appearance]. (Leviticus 14:4–7, ESV, additions mine)
The Gospel is foreshadowed in this Old Testament passage. In fact, the design of the Gospel is woven into the whole the Old Testament. Abraham and his son Isaac are a foreshadowing of the Gospel. Jonah and the whale also foreshadow the Gospel. The story of Lazarus in the New Testament is a foreshadowing of the culmination of the Gospel, which was just around the corner then. In other words, the message of the Gospel is central in importance to all of Christianity.
The Gospel – what Jesus did for us – is at the center of your relationship with God. Is it at the center of your relationships with others? More specifically, do you have any relationships you need to change immediately? Here is how to do it: die!Yes, I said die– die to yourself. Bury the old self. Be raised from the dead and walk in the newness that God provides through his Son. Then when you appear, your transformation will be evident to the people with whom you need reconciliation. Live out the Gospel and see how its promise transforms.
Lord, I am grateful to be a Christ follower. Help me to follow you to the cross and die to my selfish ambition. If I do, I’m sure you will raise me to a new kind of life. . . . Continue praying.