1 Corinthians 15:21-24

In 1 Corinthians 15:21-24 Paul reminds us that our current condition was caused by one man. Adam (by a man) is one “head” of the human race, and all mankind was brought under death by Adam. The second Adam, Jesus Christ (by a Man) is the other head of the human race, and Jesus brings resurrection to all that are “under” His headship. “For as by a man came death, by a Man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” Christ is the first who returned from the jaws of death to tell of immortality and light. It is His resurrection that truly is the foundation of the Christian faith and the basis of eternal life with the Father.

Paul is clear that all of us will die. It is 100% certain (unless Christ returns) that we’ll experience death. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” But Paul is equally as clear that everyone will be alive and have eternal life. All will be resurrected in the sense that they will receive a resurrection body and live forever. So, all are resurrected, but not all will receive the resurrection of life. Some will receive the resurrection of condemnation, and live forever in a resurrected body in hell. These are completely opposite outcomes determined by how we respond to God’s offer of grace through Christ!

Christ was the first to receive resurrection, which is what He deserved as the Son of God. And because He has created a way for all the rest of mankind, it was His firstfruits. We will receive it at the Second Coming if we belong to Him through faith. “But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” The resurrection of Jesus leads to the resolution of all things. “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.” Paul reveals God’s eternal purpose in history – to deliver those who receive His grace to eternal life.

But more than that, Jesus squares everything when He comes again. For now, God has granted a measure of rule and authority and power to men, to Satan, even death itself. But all that is temporary. Jesus will take His rightful place as the blessed and only Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords. After the resurrection, God will resolve all of history according to His will. Jesus takes His place at the right hand of God and will reign with Him. Fee wrote “In raising Christ from the dead God has set in motion a chain of events that culminates in the final destruction of death and thus of God’s being once again, as in eternity past, ‘all in all.’”

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