Verse 1 – Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
Verse 2 – by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.
Sometimes it’s good to remind Christians the truth, by which they were converted when they stray from sound doctrine. This is what Paul was doing.
Verse 3 – For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.
Verse 4 – And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
Verse 5 – and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
Verse 6 – After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
Scripture describes “saints” when they die, as falling asleep, because it’s as if we go to sleep with the hope of resurrection expectation.
Verse 7 – After that He was seen by James, then by the apostles.
Verse 8 – Then last of all He was seen by me also, as one born out of due time.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historic fact. Paul’s most important credential to be an apostle was that he had seen the risen Christ. “Out of due time” means that the others saw Christ in the flesh, but Paul was in the next generation of believers – yet Christ appeared to him.
Verse 9 – For I am the lest of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Verse 10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
True humility is not convincing yourself that you are worthless, but recognizing God’s work in you. Paul was not boasting about working harder than the others. He worked harder because he had been a Pharisee and was persecuted more than the other apostles, thus he had to work harder to preach the same message.
Verse 11 – Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Importance of Christ’s Resurrection
Verse 12 – Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
Most of the Greeks did not believe that people’s bodies would be resurrected from the dead. They saw the afterlife as something that happened only to the soul. According to Greek philosophers, the soul was the real person, imprisoned in a physical body, and at death the soul was released. There was no immortality for the body, but the soul entered an eternal state.
Christianity by contrast, affirms that the body and soul will be united after the resurrection. The church at Corinth was in the heart of Greek culture. Paul wrote this letter to them to clear up any confusion concerning the resurrection.
verse 13 – But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.
Verse 14 – And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is vain and your faith is also vain.
Verse 15 – Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up – if in fact the dead do not rise.
Verse 16 – For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
Verse 17 – And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
Verse 18 – Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
Verse 19 – If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Paul is telling those who don’t believe that Christ had risen, that it would be futile then to think anyone would be raised after death. It also would be futile to believe that their sins were washed away. The entire gospel would be useless if not for Christ’s resurrection. Because He lives, we live; because He was raised from the dead, we shall be raised.
Order of the Resurrection
Verse 20 – But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Verse 21 – For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead.
By Adam’s transgression all people die. so, it was only proper that freedom from death should come in the same way, by man – Jesus Christ.
Verse 22 – For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Verse 23 – But each one in his own order; Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
Paul only mentions the Christians here raising from the dead at the time of Christ’s coming because that’s whom he was talking to. At the Lord’s coming, when He judges the world, He will gather His people unto Himself.
Verse 24 – Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
Verse 25 – For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
Verse 26 – The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
Verse 27 – For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is expected.
Verse 28 – Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Verse 29 – Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?
Perhaps there were some in the Corinthian church who were baptizing others in the place of those believers who had died and not been baptized. Nowhere in Scripture does it say to do this for the dead. Paul simply pointed out that it was meaningless for the Corinthians to enact such a practice if they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead.
Verse 30 – And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?
If there is no resurrection, Paul asks, then why were the apostles constantly putting themselves in danger to preach the gospel/ We would not do it unless we had this truth of the resurrection; unless we had evidence which convinced our own minds that here would be life after this death.
Verse 31 – I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have n Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
Daily Paul was persecuted, he suffered many trials to preach the gospel.
Verse 32 – If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beast at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
If Christ did not rise from he dead, then there is no hope for mankind. Why then should we not just live every day like there’s no tomorrow?
Verse 33 – Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
Keeping company with those who do not believe in Christ’s resurrection could convince some believers that it wasn’t true. We shouldn’t be so close to the lost that it causes our faith to waver.
Verse 34 – Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
Awake from stupidity on this subject of resurrection; awake to a holy life; to sound doctrine. Don’t listen to those who will lead you in error of the Scriptures.
Bodies of the Resurrected Dead
Verse 35 – But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?”
Verse 36 – Foolish one, what you saw is not made alive unless it dies.
A seed is planted n the ground, covered with dirt, buried, and when it is nourished, begins to grow and looks very different from when it was planted. Our risen bodies will be very different from the ones that died while on this earth.
Verse 37 – And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain – perhaps wheat or some other grain.
Verse 38 – But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
The seed doesn’t produce what it wants. Each seed is designed by our wise Creator. There is nothing in the decaying kernel itself that would produce the result, but God chose that it should be. This is the same with our bodies in the resurrection.
Verse 39 – All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds.
Verse 40 – There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
Celestial bodies – the planets; the stars; the host of heaven. Terrestrial bodies – human beings, birds, beasts, etc.
Verse 41 – There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
Verse 42 – So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
Our present bodies are subject to decay. We all have to die and it ain’t pretty. However, our resurrected bodies will live throughout all eternity and never die!
Verse 43 – It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
Our dead bodies are rushed away, out of sight, to either be buried in the ground or cremated. Our resurrected bodies are raised in glory, in honor in beauty, raised in power against weakness and sickness, never to decay.
Verse 44 – It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
Verse 45 – And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Verse 46 – However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
The decaying, the weak, the corruptible, in order, was first. Christ came in human flesh, but His body saw no corruption and then raised to a spiritual body. And so we will be on that glorious day when Christ calls us home!
Verse 47 – The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
Verse 48 – As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as it is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are made heavenly.
Verse 49 – And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
Verse 50 – Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;’ nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
Flesh and blood, the natural, cannot inherit God’s kingdom. We have to be transformed to have incorruptible spiritual bodies.
Verse 51 – Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed –
Verse 52 – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Christian’s that are alive when the trumpet sounds, will be transformed as fast as one can blink. Those who have died will also be changed in an instant.
Verse 53 – For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Verse 54 – So when the corruptible has put on the incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written; “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
Verse 55 – O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
Verse 56 – The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
Verse 57 – But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Have you ever heard a Christian say, “Well I hope I make it to heaven?” Why wouldn’t they know where they are headed after this life? It’s either because they have been taught in error, or they are simply too lazy to read it themselves.