Why the Gospel is Good
As noted earlier, the “goodness” of news depends on the context of the back story. The worse the dilemma of the back story, the better the news when we here that it has been resolved. If the death and resurrection of the Messiah is the best news in history, then the problem of the background story must correspondingly be the worst problem ever known. In First Corinthians 15:3, Paul writes that the Christ died for our sins. Here we see that the dilemma of the back story is “our sins.” This must be the terrible problem for which the news of the death and resurrection of the Messiah is so very good. But what exactly are “our sins”?
Once again, we must warn against a reflexive assumption of Paul’s meaning.
Before we move on to the main argument there is a minor point we should consider. The contemporary story of sin in an individualistic context suffers from the same problem as our story of the sick daughter above. There, our excitement of the new cancer treatment depended on our relationship to the sick girl. Yet, if the girl was a stranger, the news meant little to me personally. Likewise, if the meaning of the Gospel is understood in terms of the forgiveness of my individual sins, then this will be very exciting to me, but of little interest to a stranger. Noting that we all face the problem of sin does not mean the same thing as we share a common problem together. We all have the problem of pain, but I do not feel your pain nor do you feel mine. The Gospel in the Scriptures addresses a corporate problem we all share together, not an individual problem we all experience separately.