[!] ... by which you are being saved [4] & [5]

    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)
I was glancing at the cumulative archive this morning and noticed that I hadn't finished my series on this summary of the Gospel, so I thought I'd come back to it today before the kids woke up.

We have covered some pretty critical ground so far in that we have discussed the matter that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures -- meaning that Christ's death fulfilled the Scriptures. But what about these next parts: why does Paul include the matter that Christ was buried?

Well, in the first place, he says it because it is true. Christ died and was buried -- he didn't die and then have his body thrown left to rot on the cross, or have his body torn to pieces by scavengers. Christ died bodily, and his body was buried after his death.

But in the second place, we come back to the matter of "in accordance with the Scriptures." Christ's burial was foretold by the prophets -- which Peter pointed out to the crowd at Pentecost.
    Acts 2: 29"Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
And that leads us to the matter of the resurrection -- because for both Peter and Paul, the death of Christ is the necessary leaping-off point for the greatest news in the history of mankind.

Not only have the Scriptures argued that Christ would die for our sins and that he would be buried, but they have also been clear that death would not be the end of this story. If Christ had died and was buried and never came out of the tomb, there would be room left to say, "he was a great man, a good teacher, but not a savior because he could not save himself."

Instead, there was a resurrection. Paul says this about it:
    1Cor 15: 12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
Peter says this:
    Acts2: 23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
The resurrection is the final fact of the matter -- and why the Gospel is good news for men. Christ's sacrifice is completely sufficient for its task, but Christ's person and Christ's nature requires that something else be true: that death cannot overcome him, but that he overcomes death. The resurrection is our guaranty that what Jesus did was acceptable to God and was also the work of God. His walking out of the tomb, leaving it empty, was the sign that his work was not only complete but certain and without need of anyone's help.

This is the Gospel, then, according the Paul -- the most compact summary of the essential confession of the faith. It is itself the dividing line between life and death, and between truth and falsehood. We will be referring to it over the life of this blog for the sake of determining or exploring the claims of others who want to make competing claims regarding the faith.

Hope this was all helpful.
Other entries in this series: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |