Jared Wilson: The Gospel & Adoption

In 1 Corinthians 15:3–4, Paul expresses the simple gospel message this way:

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

Paul goes on to relay more historical detail, telling us that Jesus appeared to Peter and the other disciples, then to a crowd of five hundred, then to the apostles, and so on. But the sum of the gospel message Paul is delivering as “of first importance” is contained in verses 3 and 4: Jesus died for our sins, he was buried, and he rose again on the third day. This is the historic news that is the good news.

Simple, isn’t it? But 1 Corinthians 15 is anything but simple. As we progress through it, we see that the effects of the gospel are far-reaching and creation-transforming. That the gospel would empower the all-time forgiveness of a person’s sins is enormous in itself, but there’s more. The rest begins with Paul’s crediting the grace of the gospel for doing his good works (v. 10). Then, Paul says, the resurrection of the glorified Jesus activates the future resurrection of all believers (vv. 21–23). Then, because the gospel of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection essentially declares that he is the Messiah, the gospel’s power includes the subjection and destruction of all other powers and authorities (v. 24). Finally, not even death escapes the power of the gospel, because by conquering death and the grave, Jesus kills death and the grave (v. 26). . . . [p. 24]

We see this pattern of gracious condescension in adoption throughout the Old Testament narrative and well into the New. To accomplish his saving purposes and magnify his sovereign grace, God chooses the younger brothers, the shepherd boys, the schemers, the dreamers, the ghetto dwellers and cats from the other side of the tracks, the imprisoned, the impotent, the impatient, the foreigners, the fakers, the fighters, the short-tempered, the hyper-sensitive, the deep feelers, the dum-dums, the dullards, and the dry bones. So that in all things he might be glorified in saying to Not My People, “You are so my people. Yes, even you.” Isn’t adoption astounding?

Wilson, Jared. Gospel Deeps. Crossway. Wheaton, IL: 2012. 24, 154-55.