I declare to you the gospel…which you have received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again. (1 Corinthians 15:1–8—NKJV)

You have heard the expression, “It is the gospel truth.” Gospel is a word which implies rock-solid truth, and with good reason. The word signifies a message which is designed to gladden the weary heart. Have you ever had good news?

Perhaps you have been unemployed and you searched for a job because your bills were beginning to mount up. You didn’t know how you were going to make it. You applied everywhere you could think of and spoke to everyone you knew hoping that they would provide a fresh idea for you. You looked through the newspaper every chance you got and circled all the possibilities, no matter how remote. You called, took tests, and restlessly waited. Then, one day, the phone rang and a voice on the other end told you they had good news for you, you were hired!

Good news is the meaning of the word gospel. Gospel is a Saxon compound word meaning “good” and “history” or “message.” It has been used of the bearer of good news of victory because a city was conquered. Similarly, it is good news to a city besieged by an enemy to hear that help was on its way. It is the word which describes the message of the angel at our Lord’s birth that he was bringing “good tidings of great joy…for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10–11)

Several ideas come to mind concerning Paul’s use of the word gospel in our passage. First, to be good news it must be factual and not opinion, preference or a dream. Paul states that the content of the biblical Gospel is bound up in the work of Christ, just as the angel stated in Luke 2. Jesus died, was buried, and He rose from the dead. These are the facts. This is the news which is the central theme of the Gospel good news.

Second, good news must be true. In the verses which follow our text, Paul goes on to recount how many people alive at his writing of his words actually saw the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes. At one point over 500 people all at once! Good news must be true or it is no good news at all.

Third, the significance of good news is only as real to the hearer as the sense of danger, apprehension, or fear is real to the hearer. Anyone receiving good news of being hired knows the sense of relief and joy that accompanies the good news and the burden is lifted. So, the good news of the Gospel is only relevant to someone who is laboring under the sense of his own guilt and the just sentence of God as he views Paul’s words, “Christ died for [on account of] our sins.” This is good news of being released from punishment because Jesus Christ bore my sins to the cross of Calvary. He completed my redemption because, as Paul says, He rose and continues risen to this very day.

Fourth, good news generally is accompanied by the responsibility to carry on. When you got the good news of an offered job, you had to begin to act like an employee who could be depended upon. A believer in Christ is prompted on in his life of faith because of the good news of present and future redemption in Christ. Paul reminds us that we are to receive the good news, stand in the good news, be rescued by the good news and keep firm hold of the good news.

Good news is hard to keep quiet. Have you experienced the relief that the Gospel good news brings to your heart by believing in the personal work of Jesus Christ and by confessing your sins to Him? If you have been born again you are to remember that your Gospel presentation is actually to be communicated as good news, as truly it is. Don’t hold it back for it is meant to be shared. Share it with joy to sin-burdened hearts who are longing for some good news. Trust and obey.