1 Corinthians 15 contains almost 60 verses.
In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul is admonishing the Corinthians, rebuking them and reprimanding them for the wrong they were doing, not only in behaviour, but also concerning their unsound doctrine.
In chapter 15, Paul reiterates the correct gospel to them which he once preached to them, but they took a detour and even got this wrong, believing that the resurrection of the dead was past (over). Christ’s resurrection from the dead is one of the most important elements of the gospel, get this wrong and you are in all likelihood not saved. The Corinthians initially believed the right gospel, but went on to preach an incorrect gospel (another gospel), meaning that whoever they preached it to wasn’t saved because it didn’t incorporate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It’s because of Christ’s resurrection from the dead that we are justified.
Romans 4:25 ~ Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
You will find the Corinthians amongst us today in the Grace Camp propagate a gospel without Christ’s resurrection, stating that belief in His shed blood alone for our sins is all that is required for our salvation.
Romans 3:23-26 states that it is Christ’s redemption (belief in it) is what saves men’s souls. Redemption is an act, it’s Christ’s testimony. That act and that testimony is explained to us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. It’s Christ’s finished work on Calvary’s cross : how that He died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day. And if we believe it (receive it), we are saved by faith and faith alone in the gospel of Christ.
Romans 3:23-26 ~
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Many Corinthians in the Grace Camp (the dividers, adders, multipliers and subtracters) take Romans 3:23-26 to be the gospel that saves men’s eternal souls today. But Romans 3:24 speak of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus – so what is that redemption? Verse 25 speaks of Christ being a propitiation – but in what way? And verse 26 speaks of Christ being the justifier of those who believe in Him. Believe what about Christ? That He existed? That He is the Son of God? That He died for our sins? That we need to praise Him?
That He died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day.
Verses 1 to 4 of Corinthians 15 tells us how we are saved. By faith alone in Christ’s finished work on the cross alone.
Verses 5 to 8 confirm that Christ did indeed rise from the dead and was seen of the twelve and by Cephas, and not only that but that He was seen by 500 brethren all at once (irrefutable evidence of His resurrection). He was also seen by James, and last, but not least seen by the Apostle Paul.
Paul goes on to say :
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Paul saw himself as the least of the Apostles because he persecuted the people of The Way, hence he didn’t deserve any mercy or grace, but God bestowed it on him anyway, not because he “repented of his sins or changed his ways”, but because God poured out his UNMERITED/UNDESERVING favour out on Saul, and it wasn’t bestowed on him in vain because he heeded God and laboured more abundantly because of this free gift that God bestowed on him – he was grateful to have received it and let God work through him.
Paul goes on to say this concerning the preaching of the gospel : 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
Irrespective of who preached or preaches the gospel to you – if you believe it, that’s all that counts. Getting it right and believing it is all that matters.
Verse 12 to 19 confirm the dire consequences of not believing Christ’s resurrection as part of the Good News. There is no hope for us if Christ didn’t rise from the dead and if we don’t believe that He did.
Verses 20 to 28 reiterate the consequences of Christ being raised from the dead :
- He has become the firstfruits of those who have already died meaning that they too shall be raised from their “sleep” one day.
- By Adam death came to all men, but by Christ all men will be resurrected from the dead.
- Christ will rule this world one day with a rod of iron (institute the Law).
- All things will be subdued and brought into subjection to Christ Jesus one day.
- Through His resurrection He has destroyed death.
Paul goes onto say in verses 29 to 33 that if Christ wasn’t raised from the dead our baptism into Christ’s death is in vain, and that we have no salvation security (does that sound familiar?) because we would worry quite frequently about landing up in hell. Paul says he dies daily (in the flesh due to suffering and persecutions) but isn’t concerned about his spirit being in jeopardy of hell-fire. He says he has even fought wild beasts at Ephesus and what would be the point if he has no salvation security? He might as well drink, eat and be merry and enjoy his life on this planet because there’s no eternal hope – just think of how many unsaved people feel that way about their lives.
He goes onto tell the Corinthians they’ve been duped – listened to evil communications which corrupt good manners – faith in sound doctrine.
In verses 34 to 38 the Apostle Paul tells them what they should do – awake to righteousness which is the knowledge of God, not the knowledge of deceitful men who he calls fools, in this case it’s those that deny the resurrection of Christ.
In verses 41 to 46 the Apostle Paul compares the resurrection of the dead – earthly to celestial :
39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
While on this earth there are earthly bodies which are one kind of flesh, and yet these earthly bodies also differ when it comes to humans, animals, fish and birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
Unlike earthly bodies, there are also celestial bodies which differ vastly. Compare angels to humans. We are terrestrial and they are celestial.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
Even the sun is different to the moon and the stars. They might be situated in the 2nd heaven, but they too differ from one another. This makes one think that members of the body of Christ will differ from one another in glory too – some will be like the stars, others like the moon, and some like the sun. (Varying degrees of glory in eternity).
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
Then Paul compares the resurrection of the dead : Our corrupt, sinful bodies will be raised in incorruption – they will be made perfect and will transform from terrestrial to celestial bodies.
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
Dishonour – terrestrial. Raised in glory – becomes celestial. Sown in weakness – sin; but raised by Almighty God in power (perfection).
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
Self-explanatory. And the very reason why the natural, terrestrial, earthly body cannot be renewed whilst we are alive on this earth.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
Comparison between Adam and Christ, the fall of Man, the salvation and resurrection of men to eternal glory. The result of having faith in Christ’s finished work on Calvary’s Cross. Eternal consequences.
Natural, unsaved men cannot inherit spiritual things :
8 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Verses 51 to 58 talk of the promise of the catching away of the Saints in the air to be with the Lord (which most of denominational, institutionalized Christianity deny outright). We have victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no victory in death, nor do we have to face the second death (after the White Throne Judgment).
The bottom-line : We no longer need to fear death because we have hope, that is why the Apostle Paul fought beasts – he wasn’t afraid to die because he knew what lay on the other side.
2 Corinthians 12:
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
So be it.