Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 15”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with 1 Corinthians 15. In this chapter, Paul talks about Christ’s resurrection and the resurrection of the dead. He explains that if there is no resurrection of the dead, as some of them were saying, then Christ would not have been raised from the dead. Christ died for our sins because we were dead in our sins, and He was raised to life for our redemption, as Colossians 2:13-15 explains, When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (NIV).

Paul further explains:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

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? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

v. 1-19 (NASB)

Without Christ’s resurrection, we would still be dead in our sins. We abide in and preach Christ because we have been raised with Him and set free from our sins in this life and for all eternity. In that knowledge we have hope.

Paul explains the reason for and the order of resurrection to fulfill God’s ultimate plan, as he says below: “so that God may be all in all.”

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? Why are we also in danger every hour? I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE. Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

v. 20-34 (NASB)

Without Christ’s resurrection, we would have no hope or purpose in life. It wouldn’t matter what we believed in or did with our life if there were no consequences after life. Many people live with the mindset “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” without any care for what happens after they die. Paul’s reminding the Corinthians and us to be eternally and spiritually minded, and to set our minds on Christ and His righteousness.

Paul closes the chapter, explaining what Christ has done for us by comparing our sinful body to our resurrected body.

But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “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 the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

v. 35-58 (NASB)

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for setting us free from our sins. We were perishable, but through Christ we are imperishable. We were in dishonor, but through Christ we are in glory. We were in weakness, but through Christ we are in power. We live in this world, but we do not belong to this world. We belong to You, Lord.  We will spend eternity with You because of Christ. You are our eternal hope.

In Jesus’ precious name we praise You, Amen!

 

*This series will continue next week as we study 1 Corinthians 16.


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Monday’s Blog: Enjoying the Journey Toward Maturity

Next Monday, I will be starting a new series on marriage. I don’t normally post messages on marriage on this site, but since my husband’s and my 17th anniversary is in July, I feel led to devote the entire month to honor marriage. I will be posting several guest posts and giveaways during the series. If you signed up for email subscription, I wanted to give you a heads up that I will be posting more than once a week, just for the series.

Today I want to share a message that we can all relate to, about enjoying our journey toward spiritual maturity. I’ve been following Christ for about thirteen years now. Some days I look back and think, “I really should be a lot farther along than this!” It can be discouraging knowing what God can do in you, but not having arrived there.

The Apostle Paul shared how he wouldn’t allow himself to be discouraged in his journey with Christ:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

In our lifetime, we will never reach perfection where we could sit back and say, “Ah! I’ve arrived! Now I can relax and enjoy life!” We often think “Well, I’d be happy if I didn’t struggle in this area.” But the truth is, once that area is worked out there’s plenty others waiting in line to be worked out.

Instead of being discouraged at how far he had to go, Paul set his mind above. He pressed on with joy eagerly waiting for his glorified body in Christ, as he explained in the next verses 15-21:

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

My pastor shared a message about holiness yesterday. He encouraged us, “Let us obey from our identity, not for our identity.” The journey God takes us through in life is to teach us our true identity in Christ. This journey is not to perfect us so that we can be prepared for our eternal life with God. This journey is to teach us what God has already prepared and waiting for us. This journey is to transform our hearts and minds so we can know Him and know the love He has for us, as Paul explained earlier in verses 7-11:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

We can enjoy our journey because it is not about us and what we do, it’s about Him and what He’s already done.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

God has taught me when I mess up and get discouraged I am to immediately remind myself that is my old sinful nature working.  Those weaknesses are not part of who I am now. I am a new creation in Christ. The old has gone and the new is here (2 Corinthians 5:17). As I set my mind on how much God loves me, and what He’s done for me, I can enjoy this journey growing in Christ.

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:20-24

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your immeasurable love. Pour out Your spirit on us and fill us with the knowledge of the love You have for us. Give us revelation of our true identity in Christ. Help us to set our minds above and enjoy the journey You have marked out for us, as we eagerly wait on You to glorify Christ in us.

In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen!

… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

 

 

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