A Summary of the Gospel (by Paul Washer)

The Gospels Power & MessageI am currently reading through Paul Washer’s new book, The Gospel’s Power & Message, the first book in a three-book series entitled Recovering the Gospel.  In the preface of this book Washer supplies what I believe to be one of the best succinct definitions or overviews of the gospel.  It is certainly worth memorizing.  Note how Washer does not merely focus on the crucifixion and resurrection, but likewise mentions the obedient life of Christ and the ascension of Christ to glory at the right hand of the Father, where He now reigns.  These are aspects of the gospel that I believe are often neglected, yet are just as necessary.  Further, all three Persons of the Trinity are mentioned (another important quality to this gospel summary).  So, here is Washer’s excellent summary of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ (all Scripture references are found in the footnote section of the book):

In accordance with the Father’s good pleasure, the eternal Son, who is equal with the Father and is the exact representation of His nature, willingly left the glory of heaven, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin, and was born the God-man: Jesus of Nazareth [Acts 2:23; Heb. 1:3; Phil. 2:6-7; Lk. 1:35].  As a man, He walked on this earth in perfect obedience to the law of God [Heb. 4:15].  In the fullness of time, men rejected and crucified Him.  On the cross, He bore man’s sin, suffered God’s wrath, and died in man’s place [1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18; Isa. 53:10].  On the third day, God raised Him from the dead.  This resurrection is the divine declaration that the Father has accepted His Son’s death as a sacrifice for sin.  Jesus paid the penalty for man’s disobedience, satisfied the demands of justice, and appeased the wrath of God [Lk. 24:6; Rom. 1:4; Rom. 4:25].  Forty days after the resurrection, the Son of God ascended into the heavens, sat down at the right hand of the Father, and was given glory, honor, and dominion over all [Heb. 1:3; Matt. 28:18; Dan. 7:13-14].  There, in the presence of God, He represents His people and makes requests to God on their behalf [Lk. 24:51; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:3; Heb. 7:25].  All who acknowledge their sinful, helpless state and throw themselves upon Christ, God will fully pardon, declare righteous, and reconcile unto Himself [Mk. 1:15; Rom. 10:9; Phil. 3:3].  This is the gospel of God and of Jesus Christ, His Son.

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2 thoughts on “A Summary of the Gospel (by Paul Washer)

  1. Must a sinner believe in Christ and His death, burial, resurrection and ascention to get saved?
    Why is there no ascention in the Apostle Pauls definition of the Gospel in 1 Cor 15:1-4?
    I am an ex catholic, and i have been saved 6 years now, i live in Northern Ireland, the Lord has been saving people in my community of west Belfast, and we are involved in a work of God trying reach the people with the gospel, the reason i am asking these questions, we have had issues with people preaching a resrrectionless gospel which is no gospel, we enjoy brother Paul Washers teaching, i would be very greatfull if brother Paul could define the gospel the bible commands us to preach and what a lost person must understand to get saved.
    Thank you HE Lives !

    • Hi brother Conor,

      Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. A while back I wrote a response but have been having technical difficulties posting on my own blog.

      Praise the Lord for the work being done there in Ireland!

      The gospel summary Paul lays out in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is simply a summary. Do not expect all the details of the gospel to be found in such summaries. Keep in mind that the Corinthians, to whom he was writing, would have already been taught in the doctrines regarding the death and resurrection of Christ. Paul is simply using a short-hand way of referring to the gospel message. This, however, does not mean he did not believe or preach the ascension of Christ. Paul clearly understood that Christ had ascended to glory, or heaven, as is evident in places like 1 Cor. 15:23, Col. 3:4, and 2 Thess. 1:7, for example. Either way, the ascension of Christ is explicitly taught in Acts 1:9; 2:32-33. When the resurrection of Christ is mentioned, but the ascension is not, the ascension is implied.

      Regarding a denial of Christ’s resurrection, you are right in saying that it is no gospel at all. The apostle Paul addresses that very issue in 1 Cor. 15.

      I think the gospel summary that Paul Washer provides above is a wonderful summary of the gospel. This does not mean, of course, that you have to say it in the exact same way, or include all the same details. There are different ways of explaining the gospel, but an explanation of the gospel will always include the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on behalf of sinners and the resurrection of Christ, thereby defeating sin and death. I would encourage a study through the book of Acts to see how it is the apostles communicated the gospel message. In short, they emphasized the glory of God, the sin of man, the death and resurrection of Christ, and a call to repent and believe. I highly recommend the book, What Is the Gospel?, by Greg Gilbert.

      Grace and peace,
      Drew

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