I wanted to unpack a little bit the Gospel of First Importance before moving into other aspects of the Gospel. Here’s what I previous wrote about the Gospel of First Importance:
The Gospel of First Importance – It’s been said in several nearly identical ways that the Gospel is simple enough for a child to wade in, and yet deep enough to drown the most learned philosophers. Some might call this the “simple gospel,” but I don’t like that name, so I’ll go with Paul’s phrase from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you…For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” I like to think of this Gospel of First Importance as the roots of a tree. Everything starts here. All nourishment comes from these short, succinct objective truths that communicate the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, or in theo-speak, Christ’s substitutionary atonement for sinners. When told to repent and believe, this is the object of that belief, of our faith. It is the entryway into the Kingdom to as many as will believe and because of it, all that I say in the next 2 paragraphs is true. This is the foundation.
Now, I must confess that I almost didn’t do a post like this…I almost forgot. Even now, I see how easy it is to try and move onto “deeper and higher things” but there is nothing deeper or higher, better or more profound than the Gospel – particularly this part of the Good News that explains what Jesus did for us.
There have been beautiful explanations and unpackings on what it means that Christ, the Lord of All, would die for us. I recommend reading books, singing songs, and writing poetry on this glorious truth as often as possible. What I want to do here is draw our attention to some attendant truths – things that are assumed as true and must be true in light of what Christ has done. I want to unpack these as the days and posts go by, but let’s intro them here:
1. Christ died for sinners. If you are not a sinner, or pretend not to be, His blood does not cover you. Or said another way, if you say, “I’ve sinned a little, but nothing serious” or “I’m not near as bad as this one girl I know” then you are left without a redeemer. However, if you are a sinner, you know and confess that you are, then there is hope. In fact, the better idea you have of how bad of a state you are in without Christ, the better, for then you have no hope of saving yourself which is the exact state that we must all be in for the Gospel to work its might in our lives. So earning our salvation is out of the question, impossible, foolishness.
2. Christ was a real person who did actually do the things which are recorded in Scripture. The good news is objective truth, historical fact. There is no room for fudging here and saying, “Well, he died, but he rose spiritually, not bodily.” Or making Jesus out to be a good example for us which shows us merely how we can experience a spiritual resurrection in our lives. NO! Jesus was raised, from a real death, with a real, glorified body. If not, we have no hope. Read 1 Corinthians 15. A mentor of mine is fond of saying, “Why is “crucified under Pontius Pilate in the Apostles’ Creed?” Because it was a historical occurrence. The Creed tells us this really happened in a real place at a real time!”
3. This was all done in accordance with the foreknowledge and by the decree of God. This was done according to Scripture, but not only that, according to God’s good pleasure which Ephesians 1 says was decided before the foundations of the world. Jesus death was Plan A (not B)! This also means that if you are a believer, then you were chosen before the foundations of the earth to believe. Before you (or the Earth) even drew a breath, He set his love on you to pluck you from the disaster that would soon ensue in the Garden.
Well, I’d love to hear your thoughts.