The Main Thing . . . What Else? The Gospel

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures . . . ” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

How easily Christians are diverted from a focus on the Gospel of Christ in favor of their favorite theological hobby-horse! I’ve had a few. I remember back when all I could find the motivation to read were book, tracts, booklets, articles on the superiority (and even divine inspiration) of the 1611 Authorized King James Version of the Bible (I even wrote a song about it!), many people with whom I’d discuss the issues would ask me, why is it that I hear you talk more about King James than Jesus? This is a question that is appropriate for all theology geeks like myself who allow the subject in which they’re most interested to move to the center of their minds and hearts while the cross of Christ and the power of his resurrection slip to the back burner. Even now that I’m a Calvinist, I try to keep in mind the place from where I came and recall how annoying are those theological bulldogs who viciously and unrelentingly know how to turn every conversation from the topic at hand to an argument over the sovereignty of God, election, reprobation, and predestination. Although, after becoming acclamated to the truth (I don’t mean those Calvinistic bulldogs were wrong, just annoying), I was discussing with one of my friends about this very topic, how that every Christian tradition has its favorite theological emphases that are distinctive of that particular tradition. My friend replied, “That’s what verifies the truth of Calvinism to me: all they care about is making sure the gospel is accurately preached; hence the concern for the sovereignty of God in salvation.”

In other words, it’s all about the Gospel. The Gospel is the center. The Gospel is the foundation. The Gospel is the source of the power. The Gospel is the agent of life in Christ. The Gospel is the basis of all practical application. The Gospel is the fulfillment of all prophecy. The Gospel is the Main Thing. Paul was right, “…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised again the third day in accordance with the Scriptures [is of first importance].”

That’s why I would like to recommend that you go to the website for Sovereign Grace ministries right now and discover a wonderful book that reminds us how to keep the Gospel the main thing. It’s called Living the Cross Centered Life by C. J. Mahaney. The title of this post is a link to the webpage advertising this book. I found an earlier edition of this book a couple of years ago. It’s a tiny book. But, boy, was it packed with mind-altering material. What kind of material was it? Simply a reminder that the source of power for living a Christian life is to stay focused on the Gospel all the time. Read about it, talk to yourself and others about it, sing about it, examine your behavior in the light of it, you name it.

Speaking of writing songs about favorite theological hobby-horses, here’s one I wrote about that which is of first importance. I call it The Corinthian Creed. It’s simply a summary of 1 Corinthians 15. This chapter is a proclamation of Christ’s resurrection, an apologetic defense of resurrection in general and even a sermon on the believer’s hope and motivation to persevere inspired by the resurrection. Hope it helps you grasp the truths of this vital New Testament chapter as writing it has done for me.

The Corinthian Creed
© 2005, John Douglas Chitty

We believe that Chirst died for our sins
according to the Scriptures;
That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures.

Then he was seen by Peter,
then by all the Twelve;
after that he was seen by more than
five hundred brothers at once as well.

Then he was seen by James,
then by all the Apostles;
and last of all, he was seen by Paul,
as by one born out of due time.

We believe this is of first importance:
Christ died for our sins,
According to the Scriptures,
the third day, he rose again.

We believe in resurrection
because if the dead don’t rise,
our faith is vain,
we’re still in sin,
and lost is he who dies.

But Christ in fact is risen,
the firstfruits of the dead.
For as all die in Adam,
so all live in Christ, their Head.

Christ our King rose first,
so, when he comes, shall we,
for he must reign and conquer
till his last foe, Death’s, defeat!

repeat chorus

Why, then, do we suffer,
if the dead in Christ won’t rise?
If so, let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we will die.

Do not be deceived,
wake up and do what’s right.
Do not go on sinning
like the ones who lack God’s light.

But someone will ask,
“What kind of bodies will arise?”
You fool! No seed, when planted, will grow
unless first it dies!

repeat chorus

We believe there is a natural body,
and one of the Spirit.
The natural body perishes,
sin’s curse is buried with it.

As Christ raised the third day,
at last in all his glory,
so will those who follow him
and trust the Gospel story.

Adam of the earth,
Jesus Christ of heaven.
As we’ve borne Adam’s image,
We will bear Christ’s image, even!

repeat chorus

We believe when Christ our King returns
all sleeping saints to waken,
we may not all sleep,
but all will gain a transformation.

So will come to pass
the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory,” sin is finally smitten.

But thanks be to God,
through Christ, our Victory!
Be strengthened in his service,
knowing death won’t end the story!

We believe this is of first importance:
Christ died for our sins.
According to the Scriptures,
the third day he rose again!


3 responses

  1. What music is the written for? I really like the words, I really like you chronicles of faith, keep up the studies …

  2. Jo Ann,

    The music is an original tune, when I get a decent recording of it, I’ll figure out how to post it on the site, or perhaps I’ll hum a few bars at church for you.

    Thanks for the kind words.

  3. […] hokey, mediocre music as an amateur, presuming it’ll edify others as much as it does me (see here  for an example). Why am I not alone? Someone has done so by rewriting O Come, O Come Emmanuel in […]

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