1 Corinthians 15* The apostle proves the resurrection of Christ from the dead.(1-11) Those answered who deny the resurrection of the body.(12-19) The resurrection of believers to eternal life. (20-34)Objections against it answered. (35-50) The mystery of thechange that will be made on those living at Christ's secondcoming. (51-54) The believer's triumph over death and the grave,An exhortation to diligence. (55-58)1-11 The word resurrection, usually points out our existencebeyond the grave. Of the apostle's doctrine not a trace can befound in all the teaching of philosophers. The doctrine ofChrist's death and resurrection, is the foundation ofChristianity. Remove this, and all our hopes for eternity sinkat once. And it is by holding this truth firm, that Christiansstand in the day of trial, and are kept faithful to God. Webelieve in vain, unless we keep in the faith of the gospel. Thistruth is confirmed by Old Testament prophecies; and many sawChrist after he was risen. This apostle was highly favoured, buthe always had a low opinion of himself, and expressed it. Whensinners are, by Divine grace, turned into saints, God causes theremembrance of former sins to make them humble, diligent, andfaithful. He ascribes to Divine grace all that was valuable inhim. True believers, though not ignorant of what the Lord hasdone for, in, and by them, yet when they look at their wholeconduct and their obligations, they are led to feel that noneare so worthless as they are. All true Christians believe thatJesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead,is the sun and substance of Christianity. All the apostlesagreed in this testimony; by this faith they lived, and in thisfaith they died. 12-19 Having shown that Christ was risen, the apostle answersthose who said there would be no resurrection. There had been nojustification, or salvation, if Christ had not risen. And mustnot faith in Christ be vain, and of no use, if he is still amongthe dead? The proof of the resurrection of the body is theresurrection of our Lord. Even those who died in the faith, hadperished in their sins, if Christ had not risen. All who believein Christ, have hope in him, as a Redeemer; hope for redemptionand salvation by him; but if there is no resurrection, or futurerecompence, their hope in him can only be as to this life. Andthey must be in a worse condition than the rest of mankind,especially at the time, and under the circumstances, in whichthe apostles wrote; for then Christians were hated andpersecuted by all men. But it is not so; they, of all men, enjoysolid comforts amidst all their difficulties and trials, even inthe times of the sharpest persecution. 20-34 All that are by faith united to Christ, are by hisresurrection assured of their own. As through the sin of thefirst Adam, all men became mortal, because all had from him thesame sinful nature, so, through the resurrection of Christ,shall all who are made to partake of the Spirit, and thespiritual nature, revive, and live for ever. There will be anorder in the resurrection. Christ himself has been thefirst-fruits; at his coming, his redeemed people will be raisedbefore others; at the last the wicked will rise also. Then willbe the end of this present state of things. Would we triumph inthat solemn and important season, we must now submit to hisrule, accept his salvation, and live to his glory. Then shall werejoice in the completion of his undertaking, that God mayreceive the whole glory of our salvation, that we may for everserve him, and enjoy his favour. What shall those do, who arebaptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Perhapsbaptism is used here in a figure, for afflictions, sufferings,and martyrdom, as #Mt 20:22,23|. What is, or will become ofthose who have suffered many and great injuries, and have evenlost their lives, for this doctrine of the resurrection, if thedead rise not at all? Whatever the meaning may be, doubtless theapostle's argument was understood by the Corinthians. And it isas plain to us that Christianity would be a foolish profession,if it proposed advantage to themselves by their faithfulness toGod; and to have our fruit to holiness, that our end may beeverlasting life. But we must not live like beasts, as we do notdie like them. It must be ignorance of God that leads any todisbelieve the resurrection and future life. Those who own a Godand a providence, and observe how unequal things are in thepresent life, how frequently the best men fare worst, cannotdoubt as to an after-state, where every thing will be set torights. Let us not be joined with ungodly men; but warn allaround us, especially children and young persons, to shun themas a pestilence. Let us awake to righteousness, and not sin. 35-50 1. How are the dead raised up? that is, by what means?How can they be raised? 2. As to the bodies which shall rise.Will it be with the like shape, and form, and stature, andmembers, and qualities? The former objection is that of thosewho opposed the doctrine, the latter of curious doubters. To thefirst the answer is, This was to be brought about by Divinepower; that power which all may see does somewhat like it, yearafter year, in the death and revival of the corn. It is foolishto question the Almighty power of God to raise the dead, when wesee it every day quickening and reviving things that are dead.To the second inquiry; The grain undergoes a great change; andso will the dead, when they rise and live again. The seed dies,though a part of it springs into new life, though how it is wecannot fully understand. The works of creation and providencedaily teach us to be humble, as well as to admire the Creator'swisdom and goodness. There is a great variety among otherbodies, as there is among plants. There is a variety of gloryamong heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise,will be fitted for the heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead,when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly state; and therewill be a variety of glories among them. Burying the dead, islike committing seed to the earth, that it may spring out of itagain. Nothing is more loathsome than a dead body. But believersshall at the resurrection have bodies, made fit to be for everunited with spirits made perfect. To God all things arepossible. He is the Author and Source of spiritual life andholiness, unto all his people, by the supply of his Holy Spiritto the soul; and he will also quicken and change the body by hisSpirit. The dead in Christ shall not only rise, but shall risethus gloriously changed. The bodies of the saints, when theyrise again, will be changed. They will be then glorious andspiritual bodies, fitted to the heavenly world and state, wherethey are ever afterwards to dwell. The human body in its presentform, and with its wants and weaknesses, cannot enter or enjoythe kingdom of God. Then let us not sow to the flesh, of whichwe can only reap corruption. And the body follows the state ofthe soul. He, therefore, who neglects the life of the soul,casts away his present good; he who refuses to live to God,squanders all he has. 51-58 All the saints should not die, but all would be changed.In the gospel, many truths, before hidden in mystery, are madeknown. Death never shall appear in the regions to which our Lordwill bear his risen saints. Therefore let us seek the fullassurance of faith and hope, that in the midst of pain, and inthe prospect of death, we may think calmly on the horrors of thetomb; assured that our bodies will there sleep, and in the meantime our souls will be present with the Redeemer. Sin givesdeath all its hurtful power. The sting of death is sin; butChrist, by dying, has taken out this sting; he has madeatonement for sin, he has obtained remission of it. The strengthof sin is the law. None can answer its demands, endure itscurse, or do away his own transgressions. Hence terror andanguish. And hence death is terrible to the unbelieving and theimpenitent. Death may seize a believer, but it cannot hold himin its power. How many springs of joy to the saints, and ofthanksgiving to God, are opened by the death and resurrection,the sufferings and conquests of the Redeemer! In verse #58|, wehave an exhortation, that believers should be stedfast, firm inthe faith of that gospel which the apostle preached, and theyreceived. Also, to be unmovable in their hope and expectation ofthis great privilege, of being raised incorruptible andimmortal. And to abound in the work of the Lord, always doingthe Lord's service, and obeying the Lord's commands. May Christgive us faith, and increase our faith, that we may not only besafe, but joyful and triumphant.
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