First, please witness an example of a bad excuse for the gospel.
Here, Timothy Keller invents something that looks good, and calls it the gospel. However, this is really not the true Christian gospel, as we shall later see.
Timothy J. Keller (born 1950) is an American author, speaker, and the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, New York. He is the author of several books, including The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, which garnered awards from World Magazine and Christianity Today and rose as high as #7 on the New York Times Best Seller list for non-fiction in March, 2008.
Notice how even a reputable pastor — Tim Keller holds a Master of Divinity — can misrepresent the gospel, when he takes it upon himself to give his own version of the gospel, instead of quoting scripture like what a good Christian should do. After all, Jesus Christ himself quoted scripture, even though he was himself God. Dare we do otherwise?
BUT, which part of the true Christian gospel did Tim Keller miss out? It is none other than the triumphant declaration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
If Christ’s death for our sin is preached, but his resurrection is neglected, then what kind of gospel (i.e. good news) is that? How is it good news, when the one who shall save us is defeated by the very same fate (death) from which we are to be saved?
Now here’s what scripture says about the true Christian gospel:
(1) Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,
(2) and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.
(3) 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,
(5) and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
(12) Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
(13) But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
(14)And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
(17)And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
(18) Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
(26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
(32) What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
(33) Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
(34) Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
(45) Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam [Jesus Christ] became a life-giving spirit.
(50) I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
(51) Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
(52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
(53) For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
(54) When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.“
(55) “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
(56) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
(57)But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [over sin and death] through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(58) Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.