Today we weren’t able to go to church for our service. Seems that we had some virus spreading from child to child.
What did we do? We read 1 Corinthians 15. In which it explains the whole purpose of Christ coming to die on the cross (and why it is important to believe in the resurrection of the dead). Paul begins the chapter by reminding the people in Corinth that he had a hand in leading them to Christ. Verse 3 & 4: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He goes on to describe the rest of the events surrounding Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and some of the appearances he makes to the disciples.
He then begins to reason with the people in Corinth who are raising questions about the possibility of people raising from the dead: Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection? I have to be honest, my kids did not grasp this portion of scripture. I’m not sure I did until we read it today. Paul is pleading with the Corinthians to realize that without resurrection that faith in Christ would be in vain! That his work on earth would have been in vain! That the men who were witnessing about Christ were misrepresenting God if indeed there was no resurrection of the dead. 16: For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. (!!) A dramatic statement.
As always with Paul’s logic he comes back to answer that very charge. 20-25: But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfuits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (!!) But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
So we had to explain to the kids about Adam and how Adam brought sin into the world. That then God had to send Christ to take our place and forgive us.
Of course the chapter does not end here for it goes on. I’ll pick up in another part of the chapter that impressed upon me. 35-37 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. Here Paul is echoing something that Jesus had said in John 12:24: Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Our image of self, of our rights, of what belongs to us, and even ourselves must die. It took me a minute to realize that the Holy Spirit was talking to me. That I must die to what I claimed rights to, to myself.
We are to be wholely sufficient not on ourselves, but on Christ alone. Then when the resurrection of the dead takes place and we are with Christ in our new immortal and imperishable bodies then we can say:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“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. But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
ESV used throughout.