Bruce Ware – “The Gospel 101 – God’s Gift of the Gospel” – 2011 True Church Conference

Message 3 – Bruce Ware – “The Gospel 101 – God’s Gift of the Gospel”

What is the gift of the gospel? There is a narrow and a broad understanding of the gospel. The narrow understanding is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His work to pay for our sins. The broad understanding is how the gospel is lived out. It is the application of the gospel. Living lives to the glory of God and the furtherance of His kingdom.

The text for Ware’s second message is 1 Corinthians 15:1-8.  Look at the structure of this message: 1) Christ died for our sins and was buried. And Paul points to the Biblical support and empirical support for this claim. 2) Christ was raised on the third day and appeared. Once again, Paul points out Biblical support and empirical support for this claim. These two claims are absolutely essential to the Christian faith – rooted and based on history, and also rooted and based in theology. Christ died – historical accuracy – for our sins – theological truth. To the physical eye all three being crucified looked the same, but to the spiritual eye the One in the middle was supremely different than the other two.

Christ died “for” our sins. The Greek word “huper” has a strong and a weak meaning. Either for the benefit or as a substitution. Did Christ die to provide us a benefit? Yes, but it is much more than that. Christ died as a substitute for us. This is seen in John 10:15. Penal substitution is central to the work of the cross.

Christ was raised on the third day. 1 Corinthians 15 is about the resurrection. Look at the theology of the resurrection. If Christ has not been raised we are still in our sins. What does the resurrection of Christ have to do with efficacy of the atonement of our sins? Sin is a two-fold program. It is a penalty we cannot pay and a power we cannot overcome. The penalty of sin is death. The power of sin ultimately is the power of death. Christ died for the penalty of sin on the cross. But he must rise from the dead to show that the penalty of sin is set aside. And then the resurrection demonstrates that Christ also has the power over sin.

What is the relationship between the payment for the penalty and the conquering of sin’s power? Is there a relationship between these two? We love to preach the power over sin, but not the penal substitution for sin. Heresies arising from the misuse of the love of God cause some to disown the need for the penal substitution. We love the Christ victorious over sin, but disdain a wrathful God who demands that the penalty be paid.


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