February 25th, 2007
Why can’t you believe in Jesus without having to believe in the resurrection? According to Paul, the whole of the Christian faith stands or falls on the question of whether the resurrection is real. Paul’s argument goes like this: If there is no resurrection, then Jesus has not been raised from the dead. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then sin conquered him, and he did not conquer sin. If Jesus did not conquer sin, then each of us is still answerable for the sins which we have committed. This means that there is no hope for restoring our relationship with God, because he requires perfection and we can only be perfect if someone can wipe out the consequences of our sins.
Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 15
15:1 I remind you, friends, of the Good News which I preached to you, which you accepted, which you live by, 15:2 and by which you are saved, if you persistently follow the message which I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. 15:3 The first knowledge that I passed on to you was what I had received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. 15:6 Then he appeared to over five hundred believers at once, most of whom are still alive, but some have died. 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 15:8 and last of all, as if to a child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. 15:9 I am the least important of the apostles, not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace was not given to me in vain. I worked more than all of them, although not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 15:11 So we preach, whether it is me or them, and so you have believed.
15:12 Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, why do some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 15:13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 15:14 If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile, and your faith is futile. 15:15 Yes, we are exposed as liars about God, because we testified that God raised Christ from the dead, but he did not raise him if it is true that the dead are not raised. 15:16 If the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 15:17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still answerable for your sins. 15:18 Also anyone who has died in Christ has perished. 15:19 If our hope in Christ only relates to this life, we are the most pathetic of all people.
15:20 But Christ has been raised from the dead, the first of those who were dead. 15:21 Because death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. 15:22 Everyone dies as a result of Adam, but everyone will be made alive in Christ. 15:23 Everything happens in order: Christ was first, then those who belong to Christ, at his coming. 15:24 Then the end will come, when he will hand over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has abolished every ruler and authority and power. 15:25 He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 15:26 The final enemy that will be abolished is death. 15:27 “He put all things in subjection under his feet.” When he says, “All things are put in subjection,” this does not include the one who subjected all things to him. 15:28 When all things have been placed under his authority, the Son will also himself be subjected to the one who subjected all things to him, so that God can be all in all.
15:29 Otherwise what will people who are baptized for the dead do? If dead people are not actually raised, why are people baptized on behalf of the dead? 15:30 And why do we put ourselves in danger every hour? 15:31 I die every day, as surely, friends, as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 15:32 If I fought with wild animals in Ephesus for selfish reasons, what use is that? If the dead are not raised, then “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 15:33 Do not be fooled! “Bad company ruins good habits.” 15:34 Come to your senses and do not sin, because some of you know nothing about God. I say this to embarrass you.
15:35 Someone is sure to ask, “How are the dead raised?” and, “What kind of body will they have?” 15:36 That is a silly question, because a seed which you plant does not come to life unless it dies. 15:37 When you plant a seed, you do not plant the body that it will come to be. You plant a bare grain, maybe of wheat, or of some other kind. 15:38 But God gives it a body just as he pleases, and each seed gets a body of its own. 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh. There is one kind of flesh for humans, another for animals, another for fish, and another for birds. 15:40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly body differs from that of the earthly body. 15:41 The sun has one type of glory, the moon has another, and the stars another. One star differs from another star in glory. 15:42 The resurrection of the dead is similar. The perishable body which is planted is raised as an imperishable body. 15:43 It is planted in dishonour, but is raised in glory. It is planted in weakness, but is raised in power. 15:44 It is planted as a natural body, but is raised as a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body.
15:45 It is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 15:46 However the spiritual did not come first. The natural was followed by the spiritual. 15:47 The first man was made from the dust of the earth. The second man is the Lord from heaven. 15:48 All people who are made of dust are like the man of dust, and people who are heavenly are like the heavenly man. 15:49 Just as we have worn the image of the man of dust, we will also wear the image of the heavenly. 15:50 I tell you, friends, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. The perishable does not inherit the imperishable.
15:51 I tell you a mystery. We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 15:52 in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet. The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised with imperishable bodies, and we will be changed. 15:53 This perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 15:54 When this perishable body has put on imperishability, and this mortal body has put on immortality, then the prediction will come true: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 15:55 “Death, where is your sting? Death, where is your victory?”
15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:58 My dear friends, be steady, immovable, always overflowing with the Lord’s work, because you know that your work is not in vain in the Lord.
Entry Filed under: Hope