This last Sunday we looked at 1 Cor. 15.12-34 as we continued to look at what Paul has to teach us about the resurrection. In these verses we saw three truths about our bodily resurrection as Christians.
1. We will be tempted to neglect the truth of our bodily resurrection. In v. 12 Paul says that some in Corinth did not believe in the resurrection. It does not appear they doubted the resurrection of Jesus as Paul has already said they received this message and believed in it. They may have even believed in an afterlife where our souls go to be with God. However, it appears they did not like the idea of a bodily resurrection that is promised to us in the Bible. We too often believe that eternal life is all about our souls being with God in heaven. While it is true that when we die as Christians our souls go into the Lord’s presence, this is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is that our bodies will be raised just as Jesus’ body was raised. There may be any number of reasons why would we struggle with, or neglect, the truth of our bodily resurrection, but we should not be surprised when we are tempted to do this
2. There are dire consequences for neglecting our bodily resurrection. In vv. 13-19 and vv. 29-34 Paul plays a game of “What if?” He tells us all the elements of our faith that fall if there is no resurrection. If there is no resurrection for us, that means there is no resurrection of Jesus because he rose as our firstfruits. If there is no resurrection of Jesus then our whole faith falls apart. Our bodily resurrection is what fueled Paul’s ability to suffer with hope. We too can suffer with confidence in the fact that death does not have the last word over our bodies.
3. Our bodily resurrection is an essential truth. In vv. 20-28 Paul makes the point that our resurrection is part of a process that started with Jesus’ resurrection and is completed when the whole kingdom is handed over to God the Father who is all in all. For Paul, our resurrection is a necessary consequence of the fact that God must reign and rule unopposed. All enemies, including death, must be put under His feet. Our bodily resurrection is not just some optional aspect of end-times theology, it is an essential consequence of who God is.
I pray that this passage gives us joyful hope as Christians as we are reminded of the glorious truth that our bodies are not left to be defeated by death. One day they will rise in glory. Next week Paul will give us more information about the nature of this resurrection. Here are the discussion questions and order of service from Sunday: 1 Cor. 15.12-34 Notes.
-Pastor Nathan Hogan