I have been talking a lot about the Gospel lately here, and it occurs to me that many of you may not be sure what exactly it is that I am talking about. Given the state of evangelical Protestant-dom nowadays, it is probably not very wise for me to count on very many people having a clear idea of what exactly is meant when one refers to the Gospel.
So in order to clear some things up, let’s head over to 1 Corinthians 15:
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By the 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 Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. (1 Corinthians 15: 1-11, emphasis mine)
There it is, people: the Gospel, right there in a nutshell. Christ died for our sins, as all of the Scriptures leading up to this prepared us to believe. He was buried, and then, in an undeniable stroke of God’s power, rose again on the third day. He then appeared to all of the Apostles and to several other believers. Don’t even try to deny this, because most of those who saw Him are still alive (that is, they were at the time Paul wrote this), and we have it straight from them as from the proverbial horse’s mouth.
This is what you signed on to when you came to faith in Christ. This is what is of utmost importance to us–far more than any of the other things that the rest of the world considers important, far more than any of the political, cultural, church growth, or whatever other agendas are floating around out there in the world of evangelical Protestant-dom. This is what Joel Osteen doesn’t want to talk about because he says it’s too negative. This is what saved you and is saving you. This is what has made us into everything that we are, and what is making us into everything that we will ever be, by the grace of God. This is what you must hold firmly to, or else you will have believed in vain.
It’s that simple, people. So simple that you can’t possibly miss it–unless you are deliberately trying to miss it. And an awful lot of evangelical Protestant-dom nowadays is trying to miss it, and succeeding with most splendiferous effect.