My bible reading plan took me to 1 Corinthians 15 today. I was actually supposed to read it yesterday but in the confusion of this season of COVID 19 and staying home and working from home I got messed up on my dates.
All that to say that I read chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians and was very encouraged. It is a long chapter but I recommend that we all read it today.
I will quote some of it here but my hope is that I will whet your appetite for more.
“Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-9 – NLT
This is it. This is the good news in a nut shell. What’s the story of Jesus about? This. Jesus died for our sins and was raised to life again in 3 days. There were multiple witnesses to the event. It really happened.
Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and now we wait for his return. But what about all the thousands of generations of people who have died since then? The Corinthians had allowed a teaching to take root that said there was no resurrection of the dead. Paul had to correct this.
“But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.”
1 Corinthians 15:12-23 – NLT
And then Paul Gives us some examples of how life changes all around us.
“But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man. What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.”
1 Corinthians 15:35-50 – NLT
COVID 19 has the potential to take many lives. It doesn’t seem to be predictable who of us will get it and how it will affect us if we do get the virus. Does the thought of dying frighten me? Well I don’t want to suffer, but death itself according to Paul is just me being planted in the ground so I can rise up later being glorified. I will plant a weakened, broken body but will be raised up in glory.
The odds are 1 out of 1 of us will die some day. I have had all of my sin debt paid off through the blood of Jesus. I am ready. How are you doing? Need help paying off a debt of sin? Just ask Jesus. He is a gracious and generous forgiving savior.
I stated something earlier that wasn’t completely accurate. The truth is not all of us will die, if we are on the earth when Jesus comes back….”
“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 – NLT
How can I pray for you and your family? Leave me any requests in the comments and I will pray with you and for you. May God bless you with his love and mercy and compassion today, may you have hope for today and tomorrow.