OUR FAITH IS NOT IN VAIN (1 Corinthians 15:1-28)
“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)
Paul begins this section by recounting the Gospel. He stresses that they must believe every aspect of the Gospel so that their faith is not in vain. They must believe that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and raised from the dead in three days. However, some of the Corinthians were claiming that there is no such thing as a resurrection of the dead, and Paul says that this is to also question that Jesus, himself, rose from the dead. They were not believing the entire Gospel.
It is not enough to believe a half-gospel. We must believe the Gospel in its entirety if it is to have power in our lives. If we do not believe that Jesus indeed died and rose again, then “we are of all people most to be pitied” because we are wasting our hope on something that is not true. However, the good news is that Jesus has risen from the dead and is reigning over all, and will one day destroy death and all opposing authorities. Have hope and faith in the full Gospel of Jesus Christ.
DO NOT BE DECEIVED (1 Corinthians 15:29-34)
“Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” (1 Corinthians 15:34)
Paul, here, condemns the popular pagan saying, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” The modern day equivalent would be YOLO (You Only Live Once). It is to say that there is nothing after this lifetime, so we should do everything we want to do now. We should do everything that makes us happy because one day we are going to die. This approach to life is very anti-Christian. While it is true that we are going to die, unless we are alive during Jesus’ second coming, we do not have nothing awaiting us after death. Instead, for the believer, we have infinite joy awaiting us. We have eternity with Christ awaiting us.
And so, let us live with eternity in mind. Let’s not live trying to seek after every temporary pleasure that this world has to offer us, but let’s seek after the eternal and perfect joy that Christ offers us. Let’s spend this life seeking after Christ and bringing others to Christ because once this lifetime is over, we have eternity ahead of us.
O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? (1 Corinthians 15:35-58)
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
Paul now addresses the topic of our bodies at the resurrection. He teaches that we have earthly bodies now, but once we have died and are resurrected, we will have spiritual bodies. Our bodies now are perishable. We are prone to illness and injury. Our bodies age and are not meant to last for eternity. However, when God resurrects the believers, we will have a new body that will never fail, will not be subject to sickness or deterioration or death. We will have these bodies as we spend eternity with Christ.
In the beginning, God created man in His image. Yet sin entered the world and has infected every aspect of our lives. War, divorce, sickness and death are all the result of sin and brokenness in the world. However, we have hope in that we are awaiting the day when Jesus returns and puts an end to all sin. And when He comes and we are resurrected, we will bear the image of God in a new way. We will no longer have bodies that are prone to the effects of sin and brokenness, but will have bodies that are eternal and “bear the image of the man of heaven.”
Perhaps one of, if not the absolute greatest fear that people have is death. Death seems so powerful and we feel so helpless in the face of it. Yet, the Gospel teaches us that we have no need to fear death. We can stand confident because we know that the victory already belongs to Christ, and so we have no reason to fear death and sin. Instead, we can cry out “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” How beautiful and glorious will that day be when we see Jesus come again to defeat sin and death once and for all.