1 Corinthians, 15
C Concerning the Gospel (The Resurrection of Christ)
Christ rose from the dead
1: Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2: By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3: For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7: After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8: And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9: For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10: But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11: Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. 12: Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13: But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15: Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16: For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18: Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20: But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21: For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23: But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24: Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25: For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27: For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28: And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 29: Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? 30: And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31: I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32: If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 33: Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34: Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
(The Return of Christ)
Christ is coming for us
35: But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36: Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39: All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40: There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41: There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42: So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45: And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46: Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47: The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48: As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49: And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50: Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51: Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53: For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54: So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56: The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57: But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Paul now wants to remind the Corinthian church of the Gospel that he brought to them. He says it was this gospel that you heard and was the instrument of your salvation and your present position in Christ. He says the message of God l brought was not invented by me it was received from the Lord by direct revelation. It is that ‘Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures’. (In other words Christ’s death was foretold in the scriptures.) And that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. Christ’s death was certain because he was buried. Only those who are definitely dead are buried. And on the third day he rose again, (again this was prophesied in the scriptures) Christ was seen in resurrection life by Peter, the twelve, 500 persons at once (of whom most of them are still alive to testify of its truth, but some have died) then he was seen of James, then all the Apostles and last of all he was seen of men. I was a late child ! Paul says l am the least of the Apostles, l do not consider myself worthy to be called an apostle because l persecuted the church of God. Paul genuinely believed that he was the most unworthy apostle and the greatest sinner on earth. This was not false humility but a real apprehension. However says Paul ‘I am what l am by the grace of God’. And the undeserving kindness of God that was shown to me what not without effect, but l worked very, very hard, more than anyone else, Yet it was not me working but the grace of God within me. There are some that say that Christ did not rise from the dead. (Probably from the Jewish sect of the Sadducees) If the Gospel states that Christ has risen from the dead how do some people say that there is no resurrection? If the resurrection from the dead is impossible then Christ did not rise again. And if Christ did not rise again then our preaching is pointless. And your faith in Christ is a waste of time. And if resurrection is impossible then we Apostles are liars, because we testify to having seen the risen Christ. You see if the dead do not rise then Christ is not raised. And if Christ is not raised then you faith has been pointless up until now and you are still unconverted and still in your sins. And those believers that have died are lost forever. Paul says, you Corinthians need to realise that if the only hope we have is in this life then we must be the most miserable people in the world. But the truth is that, Christ is risen from the dead. And he has become the first of many resurrections. In Adam all die but by Christ came also the resurrection from the dead. Christ is the first fruit of a plentiful harvest of souls from the dead. The will come a day when Christ will deliver up the kingdom to his Father and when he will have put down all rule, authority and power. Because he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The Messianic kingdom will be a progressive reign of more and more overcoming of the nations until eventually all kings are subdued. Right at the end of time Christ will destroy death itself. When all this is accomplished Christ will be subject to his Father, so that God will be all in all, in eternity. Some of you baptise the dead (Which is not a christian doctrine) Now if you baptise the dead what is the point if the dead do not rise again? And why do we live lives of jeopardy every hour? Paul says, l protest at your rejoicing because every day l am suffering martyrdom. I was put into the ring to fight against wild beasts at Ephesus. What was the point of that if my death ended all conscious existence? And if death is the end we might as well eat drink and get drunk because tomorrow our death brings everything to an end. Paul pleads with them, Saying do not be deceived by those who teach you this Greek rubbish. If you keep company with them they will pervert your minds. Wake up ! to righteousness and cease from sin because some of you do not know the Lord. I say this to shame you. Some of you will ask How are the dead raised up? And what sort of body do they have? How foolish can you be? What you sow is not raised up unless it dies. You sow grains of wheat or barley but the crop appears to be nothing like the seed. God makes it is grow in a way that pleases him. Not all flesh is the same. There is the body of humans and the body of animals and then there are the bodies of fish and birds. And there are bodies of creatures in heaven and earth. Even the appearance of the heavenly bodies, the sun moon and stars, have a different appearance and make up. One star is different from another in brightness. Now it is like this in resurrection. The body is sown in corruption and decay but it is raised up in incorruption. The human body is buried in dishonour but it is raised in glory. The body is sown in the earth in weakness but it will be raised up in full strength of fitness. It is buried a natural body but it is raised up a spiritual body. The first man Adam was made by God a living soul but the Last Adam (Christ) was a life giving Spirit. The natural comes first and then the spiritual. The first man was made from the earth but the second man (Christ) is the Lord from Heaven. Just as we have the same features of Adam so we shall bear the features of Christ. Paul explains that flesh and blood human beings cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Then Paul brings a special revelation from the Lord which had not previously been known. (A mystery is not something sinister or frightening but just something which had previously be hidden but now is revealed) Paul says this is the mystery – we will not all die but we will all be changed by God. In a moment – in the blink of an eye, when our last trumpet calls us, the dead believers will be raised – incorruptible. And we who are alive will be changed. The corrupted bodies of our dead will be raised incorruptible. And the mortal bodies of those who are alive will be made immortal. When this happens the saying of scripture will come to pass, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’. How wonderful that day will be. Then we will sing – ‘O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin but sin will be long gone for us. The strength of sin is the law but that will be long gone too. Let us thank the Lord says Paul, who gives us the victory through the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then how are we to live? Do we cease from work? No. Paul says, Be steadfast and unmoveable and busy doing the work of the Lord, because you know that your work for the Lord is not pointless. One day your work will have its reward.