God’s Saving Word: Hope
1 Corinthians 15:35-58: The Corinthians had sent a letter to Paul asking him several questions. In this passage, Paul responds to the questions, “How can the dead be raised to life? What kind of body will they have?” (15:35). Paul says that our earthly bodies will be changed into eternal or spiritual bodies.
The Resurrection Body
35 Someone will ask, “How can the dead be raised to life? What kind of body will they have?” 36 You fool! When you plant a seed in the ground, it does not sprout to life unless it dies. 37 And what you plant is a bare seed, perhaps a grain of wheat or some other grain, not the full-bodied plant that will later grow up. 38 God provides that seed with the body he wishes; he gives each seed its own proper body.
39 And the flesh of living beings is not all the same kind of flesh; human beings have one kind of flesh, animals another, birds another, and fish another.
40 And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; the beauty that belongs to heavenly bodies is different from the beauty that belongs to earthly bodies. 41 The sun has its own beauty, the moon another beauty, and the stars a different beauty; and even among stars there are different kinds of beauty.
42 This is how it will be when the dead are raised to life. When the body is buried, it is mortal; when raised, it will be immortal. 43 When buried, it is ugly and weak; when raised, it will be beautiful and strong. 44 When buried, it is a physical body; when raised, it will be a spiritual body. There is, of course, a physical body, so there has to be a spiritual body. 45 For the scripture says, “The first man, Adam, was created a living being”; but the last Adam is the life-giving Spirit. 46 It is not the spiritual that comes first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first Adam, made of earth, came from the earth; the second Adam came from heaven. 48 Those who belong to the earth are like the one who was made of earth; those who are of heaven are like the one who came from heaven. 49 Just as we wear the likeness of the man made of earth, so we will wear[a] the likeness of the Man from heaven.
50 What I mean, friends, is that what is made of flesh and blood cannot share in God’s Kingdom, and what is mortal cannot possess immortality.
51-52 Listen to this secret truth: we shall not all die, but when the last trumpet sounds, we shall all be changed in an instant, as quickly as the blinking of an eye. For when the trumpet sounds, the dead will be raised, never to die again, and we shall all be changed. 53 For what is mortal must be changed into what is immortal; what will die must be changed into what cannot die. 54 So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!”
55 “Where, Death, is your victory?
Where, Death, is your power to hurt?”
56 Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. 57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
58 So then, my dear friends, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 15:52b
For when the trumpet sounds, the dead will be raised, never to die again, and we shall all be changed.
Paul teaches that those who are raised to life from death will have a completely new spiritual body. How can the hope of being raised to new life with Christ and living with God forever make a difference for people living today? What is the victory that God has given us (verse 57)?
Holy God, we yearn to experience a taste of your realm here on earth, even as we look toward eternal life with you. May my words and actions this day help to bring a glimpse of heaven to this present world even as I wait for your future glory. Amen.
1 Corinthians 16:1-24: Paul concludes his letter with greetings to many in Corinth.