[!] ... by which you are being saved [1]

With the basic summary outlined, I’d like to progress and examine each aspect of the summary Paul delivers in 1Cor 15 piece by piece. The text is here:
    1Cor 15: 1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ[1] died for our[2a] sins[2b] in accordance with the Scriptures[3], 4that he was buried[4], that he was raised on the third day[5] in accordance with the Scriptures[6](ESV, emph. Added)
As we noted last time, Paul says that this is the Gospel which saves, and that what he is about to reiterate is the part “of first importance”, or “of the highest importance”.’ And he begins with a critical matter in that teaching of highest importance: Christ.

In his Concise Theology, J.I. Packer says this:
Jesus is God’s Messiah, the Spirit-anointed Son of David promised in the Old Testament (e.g., Isa 11:1-5; Christos, “Christ” is Greek for Messiah). {The synoptic Gospel writers} all present Him in a three-fold roll as teacher, sin-bearer and ruler (105)
Packer underscores the early church belief in who this “Christ” was in terms of incarnation – which is to say, both human and divine – but goes to detailed efforts to flesh out the matter of John’s Gospel and the claims Christ makes about himself. Particularly, he covers the “ego eimi” statements in John, saying “a claim to deity is implicit” (106).

Paul was here talking about a real person who is described in detail in the complete documents of the New Testament. This Christ is the subject of the rest of Paul’s summary, and as such ought to require us to narrow the scope of the discussion. This primary teaching is that one man has already done something notable, and we either do know who he is or can know who he is. The Gospel Paul preached was about Christ. That may seem super-obvious to a lot of you, but it is the basis for the rest of Paul’s message.

The Gospel by which you are being saved is about Christ. But it is not just about a life story: it is about the fact that Christ died for our sins.

That is itself a message that does not get preached clearly enough or often enough, and I am going to take the next 2 blogs in this series to try and show you what it is and why most people – even at the pulpit – fear this mesaage and try to avoid speaking it plainly.

Other entries in this series: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |