Paul says some powerful things about this Gospel in Romans. It is the power of God and Righteousness of God for those who simply believe in Romans 1. In Galatians he warns of condemnation if we preach any other Gospel than that which Paul preached – Galatians 1. So what is Paul’s Gospel that he preached? Here it is in Paul’s own words. But before we dive into the significance of each element of the death burial, resurrection and appearances, we have to know who it is that performed it for us – Christ the Lord. It was he who also met Paul on the Damascus road and revealed all this to him. Who is this Christ? Why did he have to come? What did he do? What did he claim to be? What did he promised to us? Without this knowledge, do we really know the Gospel? What good is a gospel that is based on someone who is unable to save?
The scriptures are clear. Acts 4:10-12 says “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead…. 11 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” 1 Jn 5:11-13 says “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” The Jewish leaders knew who he claimed to be and tried to kill him for it. “Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jn 10:31-33. Jesus – “the Word”, is God! He shares the Father’s glory from eternity past – Jn 17:5. He is the one who came to provide the Gospel to us as none other could; not a just an enlightened man, not just a lesser god, not just a prophet, not just a “saint”, and certainly not just an angel. Jesus claimed equality with the Father as they are one “He who has seen me has seen the Father”. It was God who paid for your sin.
The Resurrection of Christ
1 Cor 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. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 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. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 9 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. 10 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. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM The LORD who is able to save. I AM the faithful God who keeps his promises to the Patriarchs that I will rescue all who would believe Jew and Gentile to the ends of the earth. I AM the God who added humanity to my Divine nature so that I might live with you and die for you. I AM not a God who cannot be touched by your human condition. I AM too big for just one people, thus by my death and resurrection, I have given salvation to all nations. This was my plan from before the beginning. This is what I promised to Adam and Eve that the Seed of Woman would come to break the power and authority of Satan. This is what I promised to Abraham in that one of his descendants would be the blessing to the entire world. This is what is depicted in every sacrifice from the skins I put on Adam, Abel’s offering, and the sacrifices performed in the Tabernacle and Temples by the high priests. All these pointed to my sacrifice for your sin on the cross once for all.
Who the Christ is – determines how able he is to save us
Abraham believed that He was “capable” to do what he promised. Jesus is our Emmanuel – God with us. Christ is the God /man – “God in a bod”. Yes God died on the cross that day. But he did not stay dead; unlike all the other prophets and religious leaders of the world; he raised himself from the dead. His resurrection proved him to be victorious over the grave and capable of raising you too. What is just as important to know is that his resurrection proved The Father’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf. If not, he would have been left in the grave like all the other founders of religions on the earth. Jesus was the perfect man because he also is God – sinless, without the desire to sin, without the nature to sin and without the capability to sin. Even though tempted as we are, he was and is impeccable. Not only that but while he lived on this earth he was completely obedient to the will of the Father in all things. Never did he speak or act of his own volition but only what he heard the Father tell him to say and do so that he might be the acceptable sacrificial Lamb of God –Jn 17:4.
“How Could a God of Love…?”
You have heard people compare God’s love and justice by saying; “How could a God of love send anyone to hell?” But the Bible is clear by asking “How could a holy, Righteous, and just God allow any sinner (you and me) into heaven?” He can because of what he did on the cross by dying for your sin. He loves you so much that He took the punishment for your sin and paid the price himself so you would not have to. Those who receive that free gift will not be sent to hell; but those who do not, have no other option. His Holiness and his love are equally fulfilled in what Christ did in your stead. Only God can save you, that’s who Jesus is. His death is the purpose of his life, his burial proved his death, his resurrection proved his acceptance by the Father, and his many supernatural appearances proved his resurrection to the skeptics of the world beyond any reasonable doubt. The life, death and resurrection of Christ are the most certain facts of History. What will you do with Jesus’ claims?
More to come,