God’s Saving Word: Hope
1 Corinthians 15:12-34: In today’s reading, Paul gives his most detailed teaching about the Christian hope for life after death. He says that God’s people will be raised to new life, just as God raised Jesus from death.
12 Now, since our message is that Christ has been raised from death, how can some of you say that the dead will not be raised to life? 13 If that is true, it means that Christ was not raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised from death, then we have nothing to preach and you have nothing to believe. 15 More than that, we are shown to be lying about God, because we said that he raised Christ from death—but if it is true that the dead are not raised to life, then he did not raise Christ. 16 For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins. 18 It would also mean that the believers in Christ who have died are lost. 19 If our hope in Christ is good for this life only and no more, then we deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world.
20 But the truth is that Christ has been raised from death, as the guarantee that those who sleep in death will also be raised. 21 For just as death came by means of a man, in the same way the rising from death comes by means of a man. 22 For just as all people die because of their union with Adam, in the same way all will be raised to life because of their union with Christ. 23 But each one will be raised in proper order: Christ, first of all; then, at the time of his coming, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come; Christ will overcome all spiritual rulers, authorities, and powers, and will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father. 25 For Christ must rule until God defeats all enemies and puts them under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be defeated will be death. 27 For the scripture says, “God put all things under his feet.” It is clear, of course, that the words “all things” do not include God himself, who puts all things under Christ. 28 But when all things have been placed under Christ’s rule, then he himself, the Son, will place himself under God, who placed all things under him; and God will rule completely over all.
29 Now, what about those people who are baptized for the dead? What do they hope to accomplish? If it is true, as some claim, that the dead are not raised to life, why are those people being baptized for the dead? 30 And as for us—why would we run the risk of danger every hour? 31 My friends, I face death every day! The pride I have in you, in our life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord, makes me declare this. 32 If I have, as it were, fought “wild beasts” here in Ephesus simply from human motives, what have I gained? But if the dead are not raised to life, then, as the saying goes, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die.”
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 15:22
For just as all people die because of their union with Adam, in the same way all will be raised to life because of their union with Christ.
Apparently, some of the followers of Christ in Corinth did not believe that people who had died could be raised from death to eternal life. Reread verses 12-22. What is Paul’s argument? How does Paul contrast Christ with Adam? Do you ever encounter people who express skepticism about Jesus’s resurrection? If so, how do you respond to them?
Lord Jesus, I choose to live in union with you. You offer me forgiveness, and you have overcome sin and death. Make me ever mindful of your sacrificial death and resurrection, trusting in your presence through my struggles and in your promise of new life. Amen.
1 Corinthians 15:35-58: Paul discusses the resurrected and immortal body.