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Day 20: By This Gospel You Are Saved

Who Was Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate; Was Crucified, Died and Was Buried

READ

1 Corinthians 15:1–8

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

MEDITATE

We will give focus to the resurrection in next week’s readings. For now, let us gain a wider perspective or perhaps a more elevated vantage point. There is a single word to capture all of these events and happenings: gospel. In our parlance, the word “gospel” has come to be known as both good news and as the established truth. In this text, Paul pens the creed before the creeds. In an economy of speech he captures the gospel in such a way that it can be unleashed in the world. And isn’t that what creeds do? Creeds capture the truth in ways that don’t hold truth captive but rather sets it free to captivate the world.

Take a few minutes and write in your own handwriting the creedal affirmation bolded in the previous text. Read it aloud several times so your ears can hear it. Begin praying about how this gospel that has been handed down to you might be handed down through you to others. This is where affirmation of faith becomes application of faith.

REFLECT

The earthly form of Christ is the form that died on the cross. The image of God is the image of Christ crucified. It is to this image that the life of the disciples must be conformed; in other words, they must be conformed to his death (Phil. 3:10, Rom. 6:4) The Christian life is a life of crucifixion (Gal. 2:19) In baptism the form of Christ’s death is impressed upon his own. They are dead to the flesh and to sin, they are dead to the world, and the world is dead to them (Gal. 6:14). Anybody living in the strength of Christ’s baptism lives in the strength of Christ’s death.

—From The Cost of Discipleship
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ASK

Express your questions, doubts, curiosities, and conundrums.

AFFIRM

Write any fresh affirmation stirring in your heart and mind from today.

Now affirm the Apostles’ Creed aloud:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord . . .