"Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you…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 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Upon these same truths penned almost 2,000 years ago, we, as a church and as individuals, have centered our entire lives. Accordingly, it is our goal to proclaim this message throughout the world by our words and actions (Mark 16:15).
Will you allow us to share it with you? Consider these three questions:
Why do I need the gospel?
The answer is found, very simply, in one word: sin.
To illustrate what sin is and does, read Genesis 2-3. After creating the world, in which there was originally no evil, suffering, or pain, God placed Adam and Eve in a garden called Eden. They enjoyed perfect harmony with their Creator, having been made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Yet, God warned them if they rebelled against his command (given for their good) they would surely suffer death (Genesis 2:16-17).
When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit—thus exerting their rebellious self-will against God (1 John 3:4)—they were cast out of the garden and cursed (Genesis 3:14-24). Death entered into mankind’s experience from this very moment. Because they were separated from the Giver of life, Adam and Eve began to die physically and spiritually.
Such is true of every one of us when we sin (Romans 6:23). And we all have sinned—including you (Romans 3:23). This is why you need “good news.”
How does the gospel fix the problem of sin?
The gospel is best summarized in the three facts outlined in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day. All this was God’s plan since the beginning of time, or as 1 Corinthians says, “according to the Scriptures.” Jesus is God’s solution to our problem.
It was necessary for Jesus to die for us to be forgiven. You see, sin cannot merely be swept under the rug and forgotten. Because of God’s holy character, sin must be paid for somehow. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). In the Old Testament, innocent animals were offered as sacrifices. Now, God has far exceeded animal sacrifices by offering His own Son and paying off the debt which our sin had accrued in our “account.”
The important thing to understand here is that God did that for us. We didn’t ask Him to, nor do we deserve such a gift. But He did it anyway because He loves us (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8).
What does the gospel teach me to do?
This news of grace demands a response from us; hearing alone is not enough to benefit from it. As Jesus preached in Mark 1:15, we must repent and believe in the gospel. Repentance is a conscious decision to change—not only in our actions, but in our heart—from rebellion to submission to God. Belief is far more than subscribing to or agreeing with Jesus; it means to completely trust in Jesus such that we follow His will and obey Him in everything (Matthew 7:21; James 2:17, 26).
Faith then leads us to baptism (or, more properly, immersion), as it did the Ethiopian official in Acts 8:35-36. Peter proclaimed, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Water baptism is not a magical formula or a work by which we earn grace, but an expression of faith by which we respond appropriately to the gospel’s offer of salvation. In it, our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). Baptism connects us with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and is therefore the culmination of our answer to the gospel message (Romans 6:1-6).
This is only the beginning. The gospel continues to teach, instruct, and exhort us to live faithful lives to God (Titus 2:11-14). Jesus has become the very foundation to our lives, and we continue to build on the initial commitment we made to Him. So, we must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
A final thought...
Sadly, the pure and simple gospel has not always been proclaimed by men. We are warned that there are serious and eternal consequences when someone alters, misrepresents, or in any way changes the gospel which Jesus and his followers proclaimed (Galatians 1:6-9). So, our goal is to let God’s word speak for itself, unshackled from man’s greed or creed. We pray you will accept it for what it really is—God’s word, and not our own.