“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
I am a glutton for good news. Seriously.
I make daily rotations through the websites of various news outlets – CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, a few local stations – and my attention almost innately wanders to the most recent stories of heroism and hope. Of course you know as well as I do that those stories aren’t always easy to find. They’re usually tucked away on a second page or can only be found by scrolling down a bit. But when you find them, you really find them. Soon you’re matting your damp eyes and catching your breath. You show the person nearest you and send out the retweet. It’s good news, after all. It demands to be shared.
And so it is with the gospel.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul drags the good news back from the ethers of previous thought and puts it front and center for the Corinthians to consider once more. He reminds the believers there that the gospel was preached to them and received by them – a momentous occasion in their lives in which the God of all creation invaded the darkness of their sinful selves with the life-giving light of Jesus Christ. Honestly, that could have been enough. What good it does for us to sit and consider the nature of our justification!
But isn’t it often our tendency to constrain the precious truth of the gospel to the confines of time and space? “When were you saved?” “On this date and at that place,” we answer. And so it is that the most miraculous work God has done is relegated to the moment we heard, believed, and prayed.
This is well and good, but in some ways, it should not be so.
It doesn’t seem Paul is interested in leaving the gospel constrained to a particular moment. He continues, “…the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved…”
The gospel has right-now implications. We are standing in the good news that we have been saved from our sin. And the work is progressing. Praise God, the work is continuing! In effect, Paul is reminding the Corinthian believers (and reminding us) that the gospel works to justify us in the sight of God, to sanctify us as we become more like him, and it will be the basis by which we are glorified in the last day.
It just doesn’t get better than the gospel. There isn’t a higher up, further down, deeper, wider experience to be had in the Christian life. There is only day in, day out recognition and reminding of this good news that Jesus came to save.
This is good news worth preaching to ourselves. This is the good news worth sharing with others. This is the good news to glut ourselves on – we aim to fill ourselves up with gospel until we’re fat and overflowing. Praise God for this good news and praise Him that you and I are given a seat at the table.