Summary: The Bible says, “By this gospel you are saved” (1 Corinthians 15:2). That makes it urgently important that we understand what the gospel is. The Scriptures speak at length on “the Good News.” But thankfully, the apostle Paul has given us a beautiful, one-sentence summary of this glorious saving Gospel.
1 Corinthians 11:26
This short verse of Scripture about the communion service, the “Lord’s Supper,” has 5 insights that summarize the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Each of these is important, but first an overview. You’ll see a time frame here: from the Lord’s death on the cross until His Second Coming. The Gospel (which means the “good news”) of salvation in Jesus Christ came into effect at Jesus’ death and resurrection. And in the communion, the “Lord’s Supper,” we will celebrate the truth of the Gospel until Christ’s biblically prophesied Second Coming to gather together all the redeemed.
In our opening verse the apostle Paul was instructing the Corinthian Christians in the meaning of the Lord’s Supper and how to take it in a knowledgeable, worthy manner. In doing this, Paul gave us a brief, accurate overview of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s look at 5 insights in the verse. Keep in mind that in the communion celebration Jesus commanded that we “do this in remembrance of me” — that is, of Jesus (Luke 22:19). As we read the 5 elements of 1 Corinthians 11:26, read them with the Savior Jesus as your focus.
This was the Lord's “Last Supper” with His disciples prior to His crucifixion. The cup Jesus blessed and passed around represented His blood, which would shortly be poured out as He was brutally murdered on a Roman cross. The effect of the shedding of His own blood was to redeem us from our sins.
“For you”! What love! Jesus endured the agony of crucifixion for us, so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled back to God the Father.
The Bible tells us (Mark 15:15; John 19:1) that prior to being crucified, Jesus was viciously scourged by Pilate’s soldiers. The pain and blood loss Jesus endured would have been indescribably horrible. Remember, in the verse above Jesus said He would endure this for us! And in the communion we are to remember His body’s excruciating suffering as the Perfect Sacrifice on our behalf.
As Isaiah had prophesied, Jesus takes our illnesses and bears our diseases. This was finalized and guaranteed once for all time when in His scourging and crucifixion Jesus bore both our sins and our sicknesses — by His stripes you were healed. As lost sinners, we come to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. If we are sick, we can come to Jesus for divine healing.
This is the “Gospel” by which we “are saved” — that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came from heaven to earth in order to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He was supernaturally, miraculously conceived in and born from a virgin woman, Mary. He grew up and at about age 30 began some 3-1/2 years of public ministry. He healed the sick, raised the dead, did numerous other miracles, preached and taught the people about the kingdom of God, and much more. Finally He was taken and crucified “for our sins.” But the grave couldn’t hold Him! He was raised to life on the third day and, after a short time on earth with His disciples, Jesus ascended back to heaven where He now reigns as Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) at God the Father’s right hand.
And now, because “He himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24), we have the privilege of repenting of our sins, with sincere faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Acts 20:21). We are born again, become sons and daughters of God (2 Corinthians 6:18), and are destined for a glorious eternity in the presence of God. All of this because Jesus “died for our sins”!
“Until” - this little word speaks of a time frame, which is revealed in the verse itself. The saving effects of Jesus offering His body and blood to redeem us began with His death on the cross. In the communion, Paul wrote, we are “proclaiming the Lord’s death.” That’s the starting point for this great New Testament salvation, secured for us by Jesus, which is the central message of the Gospel.
Then from His death and resurrection some 2,000 years ago, there is an “until” — a time frame that goes all the way to Christ’s Second Coming to earth (more on that in a moment). During all this “until” time, from His willing sacrifice for us on Calvary up to His future return to earth, the benefits of His “great salvation” are available to us — the new birth, coming out of darkness into God’s light, answered prayer, divine healing, deliverance from bondages, and so much more! “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich” (Proverbs 10:22, NKJV).
The Bible is clear. Jesus will come again to earth. This is called His “Second Coming.” His first coming was 2,000 years ago, as described above. In that first coming Jesus died for our sins, rose again, and returned to heaven. Now that He has once for all time redeemed us from our sins, in His second coming He will not be dealing with that issue — He’ll come “not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”
When Jesus Christ comes again to earth for His faithful, He will “transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). And “so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
The Gospel in one verse! In the communion celebration, we remember the Good News:
• This bread - recalling Christ’s body terribly whipped and tortured for our healing.
• This cup - recalling Jesus’ blood shed willingly by Him to redeem us from our sins.
• The Lord’s death - recalling that “Christ died for our sins” and rose again.
• Until - speaking of the entire time frame from Christ’s death and resurrection to His return to earth.
• (Until) He comes - Jesus the Lord and Savior will come again, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ … when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10, KJV).
Those who reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ and remain unrepentant in their unforgiven sins face a fiery, eternal hell. By glorious contrast, all who receive Christ's salvation by faith in Him and sincere repentance from sin become sons and daughters of God, looking forward to an indescribably glorious eternity in His presence.
If God has touched your heart today, and you wish to freely receive the Lord's great salvation, please take a few minutes now to allow the late, respected evangelist Billy Graham to lead you in a prayer that will bring you into the family of God. You'll be eternally glad you did! Here's the link.
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©2019, James H. Feeney.
& Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.