The subject of Jesus’ resurrection is an essential element of the Gospel (εὐαγγέλιον euaggelion). Paul set forth the gospel of grace in precise terms, saying, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you” (1 Cor 15:1). And the gospel message he preached is “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” (1 Cor 15:3-4). Believing the gospel message concerning the Person and work of Christ is what saves. According to R.B. Thieme Jr., “First Corinthians 15:3-4 defines the boundaries of the Gospel, beginning with the work of Christ and ending with His resurrection. The good news is that ‘Christ died for our sins…and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day.’ Any Gospel message that strays from the cross or denies Jesus Christ’s resurrection from physical death is inaccurate and out of bounds.” (R.B. Thieme, Jr. Thieme’s Bible Doctrine Dictionary, p.113).
Amazingly, there were some at the church in Corinth who taught “that there is no resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor 15:12). Paul addressed this issue head on, saying, “if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is useless…For if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15:13-14, 17). The clear teaching of Scripture is that “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (1 Cor 15:20), and being “raised from the dead, is never to die again” (Rom 6:9). Praise God! By His resurrection, Jesus overcame sin and death.
Biblically, we understand that it is God who saves (John 3:16). The gospel is what we must believe to receive that salvation. Paul wrote, “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Rom 10:14). But now you’ve heard the good news. I’ve just preached it to you. And if you’ve not trusted Christ as your Savior, I beg you, don’t wait another moment. Place your faith in Him. That single decision will forever change the course of your life and eternal destiny in ways that are beyond your ability to fully calculate, for “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). At the moment you trust Christ as your Savior, you will receive forgiveness of all your sins (Eph 1:7; Heb 10:10-14), the gift of righteousness (Rom 5:17; Phil 3:9), eternal life (John 10:28), become a child of God (John 1:12), be rescued from Satan’s “domain of darkness” and transferred “to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col 1:13), and become a member of the royal family of God, related to Jesus, Who is “the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim 6:15). These, and other wonderful blessings will become yours at the moment you trust in Christ as your Savior, for God will bless you with a portfolio of spiritual blessings that stagger the imagination (Eph 1:3). The gospel is simple, and the choice is yours. I pray you act wisely.
Dr. Steven R. Cook