The Story of the Gospel
1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “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.”
Dear Church Family,
I’m going to start off with a very important question that I want you to ponder. This one is a doozy. Are you ready? Here we go. What is your favorite movie of all time and why? Alright, I probably hyped the question up a little bit too much. Yet, bear with me for a second. I’m going somewhere with this. Really, think about what your favorite movie is and why you enjoy it. It can be any genre. The main reason why this is such a prevalent question to me is not only because I love movies, but because every movie has a story. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy movies or not, I’m willing to bet that we all love to listen and tell stories. Stories are an integral part to how we can relate to one another. My life is a story. Your life is a story. Movies are stories. Throughout all these narratives, we are able to see ourselves in them. Though, they can also sometimes be bigger than us. One such story that is not only much bigger than us but is also near to each one of us is the story of the Gospel.
This leads me to a more important question: What is the Gospel? If your answer is ‘The Good News” then you would be correct. The Gospel legitimately means good news and is a translation of the Greek noun ‘evangelion.’ Yet, for many people, this is as far as the answer goes. The answer should go much further. The Gospel penetrates the very nature of our story telling selves. It’s a story we should know well, and if we do, can be related to any conversation we are having throughout our daily life. We should know this story well ultimately though, because it has altered itself to mean so many other things in our culture. In fact, if we aren’t able to succinctly define the Truth of the Gospel then we will have already lost. To some, the Gospel is the ‘Good News’ of forgiveness alone. In this paradigm, the Gospel is limited to Jesus’ death atoning for our sins. Someone who accepts Christ here only wants forgiveness but doesn’t want to surrender their life to the Lord. To others, the ‘Good News’ refers to a symbolic death and resurrection that will help liberate people from the injustices that have been done to them on earth. Others suggest that the ‘Good News’ refers to Jesus’ death and resurrection giving them success in life and not having to endure hardship by trusting in Christ. Lastly, some suggest the Gospel is all about being a consumer and trying to get something from Church as opposed to serving others. As you can tell, when talking about the Gospel, we have to know it well enough to distinguish it from other ‘gospels,’ and we also need to know it well enough so that it can be shared in any context. One of the easiest ways to do this is to think of the Gospel as more of a story like every story you have ever watched, read, heard or told. There is a beginning to this story with God’s perfect design of everything. There is a problem that must be resolved and that would be mankind’s relationship with God as it has been severed due to our sin. This sin has led to a broken world and our death. There is a solution to the problem through Jesus’ death and resurrection and our willingness to accept His gift and follow Him. If someone were to ask me what the Gospel is, here would be my answer: The Gospel is the story of God redeeming humanity from sin and death through the death and Resurrection of Christ and calling those who believe to be repentant followers of Jesus Christ who proclaim this message to the world. This definition may change as time goes on for me, but it’s imperative that we understand what the Gospel is and what it is not. The Gospel is centered on Jesus Christ and how His Glory deserves our obedience. It’s a story that gives us hope, and changes and transforms everything about us. I challenge you this week to think on what the Gospel actually is and define it in such a way where you can continue to understand it more thoroughly as you share it with the world.
Pastor Ben Gingrich