Posts Tagged ‘Resurrection’

1 Corinthians 15:54-58

In 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 Paul wraps up this chapter finishing his teaching around the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of Christianity and the main differentiator between it and other faith traditions. “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:”Death is swallowed up in victory.” A resurrected body is not a resuscitated corpse. It is a new order of life that will never die again. Death is defeated by resurrection. This isn’t a mere winning of the battle but an eternal victory over death and the enemy.

So Paul writes one of the most powerful verses in all of scripture. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” Paul knows that death is a defeated enemy because of Jesus’ work so he can almost taunt death, and mock it. Death has no power over the person found in Jesus Christ. Spurgeon said it this way: “I will not fear thee, death, why should I? Thou lookest like a dragon, but thy sting is gone. Thy teeth are broken, oh old lion, wherefore should I fear thee? I know thou art no more able to destroy me, but thou art sent as a messenger to conduct me to the golden gate wherein I shall enter and see my Savior’s unveiled face for ever. Expiring saints have often said that their last beds have been the best they have ever slept upon.”

What a time in our history to be reading this verse. As we face unknowns around health and other serious issues, it is easy to allow fear to take hold in our life. But our faith trumps any fear that the enemy can throw at us. There is nothing that Jesus Christ has not overcome through the resurrection after death on the Cross. God had a plan, Jesus carried it out, and you and I as Christ Followers now will have victory over death for all of eternity. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s not ours to take credit for, but is ours to be claimed as a believer. Victory is ours is we believe in Jesus.

Paul then shares a verse that has become my life verse. He challenges us to push aside fear and know what God has done through Christ. The destiny of the resurrection means we should stand fast for the Lord right now. We should not be swayed by anything that happens around us. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” The promise here is that what we do for the Lord will be used by God. Even if your labor is vain to everyone else, and everyone else discounts or doesn’t appreciate what you do for the Lord, your labor is not in vain in the Lord. It doesn’t matter if you get the praise or the encouragement; sometimes you will and sometimes you won’t. But our charge is to keep on serving our Lord!

1 Corinthians 15:48-53

In 1 Corinthians 15:48-53 Paul continues to talk about the resurrection and school us on things we need to understand. We don’t have a lot of places to look to understand what will happen at the resurrection except for what we can learn from Jesus. “As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” The only example we have of what a resurrection body will be like is to see what Jesus’ resurrection body was like. The resurrection body of Jesus was material and could eat, yet it was not bound by the laws of nature. It’s likely ours will be similar when that day comes.

Paul draws a line in the sand that our earthly bodies will never enter the Kingdom of God – Heaven. For that to happen we will need to be resurrected and given a new heavenly body. “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” Our current bodies are subject to disease, injury, and one day decay, and as such are unsuited for heaven. For us to enter God’s presence and spend eternity with Him, we’ll need to receive our heavenly bodies which will no longer be impacted by the many challenges that we face today.

Death is a part of life. We all know it will happen. Paul explains the different ways God will provide us our new physical and perfect body. Since sleep is a softer way of describing the death of a believer, Paul tells us that not all Christians will die, but there will be a “final generation” who will be transformed into resurrection bodies at the return of Jesus before they ever face death. “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” He calls this a mystery because the Corinthian church would not figure it out on their own. It is only by God’s revelation through Paul that enables them, or us, to understand what is ahead.

Great things are ahead for those who believe. In a single moment, Jesus will gather His people (both dead and on the earth) to Himself, for resurrection. “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” The remarkable, instant gathering of Christians unto Jesus in the clouds has been called the rapture, after the Latin word for caught up. There will come a day when in God’s eternal plan, He gives those dead in the Lord their resurrection bodies, and then in an instant He gathers all His people to meet Jesus in the air. “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” We only get to heaven by taking on our new immortal resurrection body!

1 Corinthians 15:41-47

In 1 Corinthians 15:41-47 Paul continues talking about the resurrection. God has created many different things in the universe, each with it’s own characteristics and qualities. “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.” Each thing God creates is unique and special. But when it comes to human beings, God has given a path to transition from our earthly body to a new heavenly body. That’s what the resurrection is about for you and me. “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” Our new bodies will last for eternity and will have some amazingly great contrast to what we experience here on earth.

It’s hard to understand what our resurrection bodies will be like, so Paul uses contrast to help us, giving four contrasts between our present body and our future resurrection body. On all counts, the resurrection body wins!

  • Imperishable triumphs over perishable
  • Glory triumphs over dishonor
  • Power triumphs over weakness
  • Spiritual triumphs over natural

Spurgeon wrote “The righteous are put into their graves all weary and worn; but as such they will not rise. They go there with the furrowed brow, the hollowed cheek, the wrinkled skin; they shall wake up in beauty and glory.” God has an amazing plan for us.

Paul contrasts three more areas: “It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” Poole wrote “We shall rise in a full and perfect age, (as is generally thought) and without those defects and deformities which may here make our bodies appear unlovely.” We’ll go from very imperfect bodies to the perfect body that God has prepared for each of us individually. It’s going to be an amazing resurrection which not only means rising from the grave but receiving God’s new body for us as well.

The first perfect man, Adam, gave us one kind of body – our earthly body. The second perfect man, Jesus the last Adam, will give us another kind of body – our eternal heavenly body. He is a life-giving spirit. “Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” From the first Adam, we all are made of dust, but from the last Adam we will be made heavenly. “But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.” God has a perfect plan for us and our bodies, and we can look forward with assurance to that resurrection!

1 Corinthians 15:35-40

In 1 Corinthians 15:35-40 Paul continues his discussion about Jesus. Someone asks how the dead are raised. “But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” Paul doesn’t answer that question because it is obvious – God alone can raise the dead. But Paul does answer the second question about the body we will have when we are raised. Paul says our bodies are like “seeds” which “grow” into resurrection bodies. When you bury the body of a believer, you are “sowing” a “seed” that will come out of the earth as a resurrection body. “You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” No seed can grow unless it dies to itself and sprouts as a new plant.

Spurgeon put it this way: “Dear friends, if such be death – if it be but a sowing, let us have done with all faithless, hopeless, graceless sorrow… ‘Our family circle has been broken,’ say you. Yes, but only broken that it may be re-formed. You have lost a dear friend: yes, but only lost that friend that you may find him again, and find more than you lost. They are not lost; they are sown.” When you plant a wheat seed, a big wheat seed does not come up. Instead, a stalk of wheat grows. “And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.” That seed grows to become a new version of itself.

So, even though our resurrection bodies come from our present bodies, we should not expect that they will be the same bodies or just “improved” bodies. “But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.” There are all different kinds of “bodies” in God’s creation, including celestial bodies. Our resurrection body will be a heavenly (celestial) body, suited for life in heaven, not only life on this earth. “For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.” This explains why only mankind will receive a new body.

Our present bodies are adapted for the environment of time and earth, our resurrection bodies will be adapted for the environment of eternity and heaven. “There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.” There will likely be different degrees of glory for believers in heaven. Trapp wrote: “Whether there are degrees of glory, as it seems probable, so we shall certainly know, when we come to heaven.” The resurrection of Jesus is the key to our future of receiving a new body for a new eternity in heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:30-31

In 1 Corinthians 15:30-31 Paul continues to teach us about the power of the resurrection. He reminds the Corinthian church that his life literally is in danger constantly. “Why am I in danger every hour?” Most of us are so concerned about living comfortable lives here on earth that our lives give no evidence of the resurrection. Paul lived such a committed Christian life he literally put his life in jeopardy for the gospel every day. There were many who wanted to silence him and were constantly looking for a way to get rid of him to the point of threatening his physical life. But Paul was not swayed at all by those threats.

To say Paul didn’t really think about it was not correct. He thinks about dying daily, knowing who he was in Jesus Christ. “I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!” Paul’s life was lived so on the edge for Jesus Christ that he could say, “I die every day.” His life was always on the line; there were always people out to kill him. An example of this is found in Acts 23:12-13, when more than forty men took a vow that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. With enemies like that Paul had to look over his shoulder constantly.

Guzik writes “It is important to understand that when Paul says, “I die daily,” he does not speak of his spiritual identification with the death of Jesus. He does not speak of the spiritual putting to death of the flesh. He writes of the constant imminent danger to his physical life. It is important and useful for Christians to daily consider themselves dead to sin with Jesus Christ. But to use this statement “I die daily” to support that truth is wrong, because in context Paul is writing about the danger to his physical life.” There are few things that we can know for certain, but death is definitely one of them. But more importantly we know that Jesus Christ conquered death too.

How can we die daily? Spurgeon gives seven steps to dying daily in a sermon titled Dying Daily.

  • First, every day carefully consider the certainty of death
  • Second, by faith put your soul through the whole process of death
  • Third, hold this world with a loose hand
  • Fourth, every day seriously test your hope and experience
  • Next, come every day, just as you did at conversion, to the cross of Jesus, as a poor guilty sinner
  • Sixth, live in such a manner that you would not be ashamed to die at any moment
  • Finally, have all your affairs in order so that you are ready to die

Death will come, and like Paul, we need to accept that reality and be ready to face it whenever it comes!

1 Corinthians 15:25-29

In 1 Corinthians 15:25-29 Paul continues to describe the power of Jesus’ resurrection. “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” Paul refers to the one-thousand-year reign of Jesus described in Revelation 20:1-6. After that time, there will be a final, Satan inspired rebellion in  which Jesus will crush and finally and forever put all enemies under His feet. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Death will be present during the millennial reign of Jesus but afterward, death will be abolished. It is truly the last enemy that will be destroyed by Jesus that sets up eternity for ever.

Paul reminds us that Jesus the Son will not someday be superior to the Father. The relationship of Father to Son will be eternal: the Son Himself will always be subject to Him. “For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.” The submission of Jesus to the Father doesn’t come from any inferiority; instead, it comes from the normal order of the Godhead. A son is always in submission to his father, even if both are “equal” in substance. Thus Jesus will always be subject to God the Father.

Paul refers to God the Son’s desire to glorify God the Father through all eternity. “When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” Each person of the Trinity desires to glorify another person of the Trinity. Throughout scripture the Son glorifies the Father, the Father glorifies the Son, and the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son. This aspect of the nature of God is something God wants us to walk in, having a concern for the glory of others, and not our own. We are told to think of others as more that ourselves.

This next verse is difficult to explain, although there have been many attempts to do so. Mare wrote “Paul simply mentions the superstitious custom without approving it and uses it to fortify his argument that there is a resurrection from the dead.” Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?” Paul’s point is that the pagans even believe in the resurrection because they baptize for the dead. The pagans have the sense to believe in resurrection, but some of the Corinthian Christians did not!

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.’”

1 Corinthians 15:16-20

In 1 Corinthians 15:16-20 Paul continues teaching us about the truth of the gospel. The reality is that all of Christianity hinges on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. If He was not raised from the dead, the Christian faith is a hoax. “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.” If there is no principle of resurrection, then the whole Christian life is a pitiful joke! If we don’t have something beyond this life to look forward to, why hassle with the problems in being a Christian? Sure, the Christian life solves some problems but without the resurrection sin remains. “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” And those sins create eternal separation if not dealt with.

Guzik writes “See how important the truth of the resurrection is! This is not some side doctrine, to be believed if one likes it. If you do not believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead in a resurrection body the way the Bible says He did, then you have no right to call yourself a Christian. This is one of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.” The Gospel is the foundational truth of Christianity. And Paul wants the church in Corinth, as well as you and me, to know it and believe it and live it. Without the resurrection, we have nothing to base our faith on. So just what does it really entail?

The resurrection matters because:

  1. The divinity of Jesus rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 1:4).
  2. The sovereignty of Jesus rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 14:9).
  • Our justification rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 4:25).
  1. Our regeneration rests on the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3).
  2. Our ultimate resurrection rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 8:11).

Spurgeon summarized it this way: “The fact is, that the silver thread of resurrection runs through all the blessings, from regeneration onward to our eternal glory, and binds them together.”

If the resurrection isn’t true, “Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” The faith is just a hoax and has no power. It would make the apostles the most pitiful of all. “If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” But there is more to the resurrection story – Jesus is alive! “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” He has risen from the grave and is alive. Christianity is real and true, and through faith in Christ we can be set free from sin and spend eternity with the Father.  It’s only possible because of the Gospel and what Christ did on the Cross!

1 Corinthians 15:12-15

In 1 Corinthians 15:12-15 Paul continues to teach about the gospel. The Corinthians didn’t dispute Christ rose from the tomb. “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” The Corinthian Christians denied our resurrection as believers. They believed we lived forever, but not in resurrected bodies. Remember that resurrection is not merely life after death; it is the continuation of life after death in glorified bodies, which are our present bodies in a glorified state. Eternity will not be a place where our feeble earthly bodies will spend forever, but a place where we receive new bodies.

Paul’s argument was that if any believer did not get a new body, then Christ would not have either. “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.” We will experience the same resurrection as Jesus whe that day comes. Paul shows how the resurrection of Jesus not only proves His own resurrection, but it proves the principle of resurrection. If these few Corinthians were right about their definition of the resurrection, then Jesus was still dead! But we know that is not the case, as Paul has proven throughout this chapter. Jesus is alive and so we will be too!

If there is no resurrection, then Jesus is not risen, and Paul and the other apostles have preached in vain. There is no real, resurrected Jesus whom they serve. “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” But it goes much further. If Jesus (and ultimately us) are not resurrected, the apostles are liars and preaching fake news. “We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.” They weren’t, because Jesus did in fact raise from the tomb and we will do likewise.

Guzik walks through Paul’s logic point-by-point:

  • If there is no principle of resurrection, then Jesus did not rise from the dead
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then death has power over Him and defeated Him
  • If death has power over Jesus, He is not God
  • If Jesus is not God, He cannot offer a complete sacrifice for sins
  • If Jesus cannot offer a complete sacrifice for sins, our sins are not completely paid for before God
  • If my sins are not completely paid for before God, then I am still in my sins
  • Therefore, if Jesus is not risen, He is unable to save

If there is no principle of resurrection, then the dead in Christ are gone forever.

John 20:10-17

John 20:10-17 has Jesus out of the tomb discovered by Mary and some other women who notified Peter and John that went and verified that He was not there.  They hadn’t really figured out what had happened, but they went home. “No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.” That is, all except Mary.  “But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

Mary was there dealing with the grief of losing Jesus.  The angels appear, and she engages with them.  This is one of the few places in the Bible where someone encounters angels and they are not stricken with fear. It shows that Mary was so grieved at the loss of Jesus that she was unaffected even by an appearance of angels. She answers their question of why she is weeping from her heart. “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.” There is still a complete disconnect between what Jesus had been telling His followers, and the tomb being empty.

Jesus is there and speaks to Mary. “Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”  Jesus is seeking her heart.  And she lays it out there.  She wants to take care of Jesus’ body the proper way. “She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.” Her assumption of Him being the gardener made since, as Jesus hadn’t revealed Himself yet.  But then He does.  He speaks to her in the way that connects and she immediately recognizes Him.  “Jesus said, “Mary. Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”

Her immediate response was to run to Him and grab on.  But Jesus stops her from that. Jesus had only to say one word, and all was explained. There is no other one word interaction that has as much impact and emotion as when He called out her name.  But she isn’t allowed to latch on as He was still in a state of ascension. This shows that the resurrection body of Jesus was different, yet similar to His pre-resurrection body. It was definitely real and tangible, and Jesus was not a phantom.  “Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.  Mary’s reaction was to hang on, but Jesus wants her to go and tell the others so His resurrection could come to reality!

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