1 Corinthians 15
-This is the great resurrection chapter in Scripture that I believe gives us the clearest understanding of our resurrected state in Christ Jesus as Paul explains for his beloved brothers. It would be vain to live in Christ for this life only. Paul says we as believers in the Messiah would be the most pitied people in the world if the resurrection were not a reality (1 Corinthians 15:19). Some in Corinth were falsely stating that there was no resurrection from the dead, and Paul is making a case for the afterlife in this chapter for their building up as the body of Christ. His explanation revolves around the comment, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50).” There must be a spiritual birth here on earth through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we become His we are saved for a resurrection at the point of physical death as the imperishable body that the Lord gives us overtakes the perishable one (our earth suit if you will). Our bodies will be like Christ’s resurrected body, not that we will be deity, but we will have the eternal qualities for life with Him forever. Paul uses the illustrations of different kinds of animals and their differences in flesh types along with the seed, which has died but has life within it. *Application* It is important for us to think about these illustrations and apply them to our understanding. What is the difference between a small stone and a seed? The seed has life inside it that is latent until the appropriate time. Our physical bodies have death in them because of sin and its effects. We are doomed to perish in our physical state; it is running down and aging quickly. However, the hope of God is a new existence in an immortal body that will be very real and very exciting. Death will have no more dominion and power over us through the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, our firstfruits (1 Corinthians 15:20).
-In the eschaton, Christ will subject Himself to the Father who had put all things in subjection under Him for the reconciliation of mankind to Himself (1 Corinthians 15:28). This is done so “that God may be all in all.” In other words, there is complete love, oneness, and unity between all parties involved. This is the inseparable quality of the Trinity as the work of regeneration is completed in its full glory. We can see in this verse the humility and generosity of the Godhead in a very clear sense. *Application* Paul says in Ephesians 5:21 to be “subject to one another.” This is an important Godly principle for us to observe. Remember to give honor to those around you every day. They are important in the eyes of the Lord, and should be to you as well.
-Paul ends the chapter with exposing a mystery concerning the time of the end, when the trumpet shall sound. He says not all shall sleep (a reference to physical death), but will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). This is the moment of putting on the imperishable in a unique circumstance it appears from the text. This would be one of the proof texts for what some theologians call “the rapture” of the church or “the ingathering.” Another passage that may indicate this event is 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (the word used here in this passage translated “caught up,” arpazo, means snatched up or carried off).
-Paul’s main point in this entire section on the resurrection is that our faith and labor in Christ is not in vain in any way because of the hope we have for eternity. Death is swallowed up in victory and has no sting (Isaiah 25:8, 1 Corinthians 15:54-55)! Therefore, we are to be steadfast, immoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord! *Application* Work with the end in mind as you labor in His power. We will inherit the imperishable!
Verses to Memorize- 1 Corinthians 15:33, 53, 58