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 the

change that will be made on those living at Christ's second

coming. (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 existence

beyond the grave. Of the apostle's doctrine not a trace can be

found in all the teaching of philosophers. The doctrine of

Christ's death and resurrection, is the foundation of

Christianity. Remove this, and all our hopes for eternity sink

at once. And it is by holding this truth firm, that Christians

stand in the day of trial, and are kept faithful to God. We

believe in vain, unless we keep in the faith of the gospel. This

truth is confirmed by Old Testament prophecies; and many saw

Christ after he was risen. This apostle was highly favoured, but

he always had a low opinion of himself, and expressed it. When

sinners are, by Divine grace, turned into saints, God causes the

remembrance of former sins to make them humble, diligent, and

faithful. He ascribes to Divine grace all that was valuable in

him. True believers, though not ignorant of what the Lord has

done for, in, and by them, yet when they look at their whole

conduct and their obligations, they are led to feel that none

are so worthless as they are. All true Christians believe that

Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead,

is the sun and substance of Christianity. All the apostles

agreed in this testimony; by this faith they lived, and in this

faith they died.
12-19 Having shown that Christ was risen, the apostle answers

those who said there would be no resurrection. There had been no

justification, or salvation, if Christ had not risen. And must

not faith in Christ be vain, and of no use, if he is still among

the dead? The proof of the resurrection of the body is the

resurrection of our Lord. Even those who died in the faith, had

perished in their sins, if Christ had not risen. All who believe

in Christ, have hope in him, as a Redeemer; hope for redemption

and salvation by him; but if there is no resurrection, or future

recompence, their hope in him can only be as to this life. And

they must be in a worse condition than the rest of mankind,

especially at the time, and under the circumstances, in which

the apostles wrote; for then Christians were hated and

persecuted by all men. But it is not so; they, of all men, enjoy

solid comforts amidst all their difficulties and trials, even in

the times of the sharpest persecution.
20-34 All that are by faith united to Christ, are by his

resurrection assured of their own. As through the sin of the

first Adam, all men became mortal, because all had from him the

same sinful nature, so, through the resurrection of Christ,

shall all who are made to partake of the Spirit, and the

spiritual nature, revive, and live for ever. There will be an

order in the resurrection. Christ himself has been the

first-fruits; at his coming, his redeemed people will be raised

before others; at the last the wicked will rise also. Then will

be the end of this present state of things. Would we triumph in

that solemn and important season, we must now submit to his

rule, accept his salvation, and live to his glory. Then shall we

rejoice in the completion of his undertaking, that God may

receive the whole glory of our salvation, that we may for ever

serve him, and enjoy his favour. What shall those do, who are

baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Perhaps

baptism is used here in a figure, for afflictions, sufferings,

and martyrdom, as #Mt 20:22,23|. What is, or will become of

those who have suffered many and great injuries, and have even

lost their lives, for this doctrine of the resurrection, if the

dead rise not at all? Whatever the meaning may be, doubtless the

apostle's argument was understood by the Corinthians. And it is

as plain to us that Christianity would be a foolish profession,

if it proposed advantage to themselves by their faithfulness to

God; and to have our fruit to holiness, that our end may be

everlasting life. But we must not live like beasts, as we do not

die like them. It must be ignorance of God that leads any to

disbelieve the resurrection and future life. Those who own a God

and a providence, and observe how unequal things are in the

present life, how frequently the best men fare worst, cannot

doubt as to an after-state, where every thing will be set to

rights. Let us not be joined with ungodly men; but warn all

around us, especially children and young persons, to shun them

as 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, and

members, and qualities? The former objection is that of those

who opposed the doctrine, the latter of curious doubters. To the

first the answer is, This was to be brought about by Divine

power; that power which all may see does somewhat like it, year

after year, in the death and revival of the corn. It is foolish

to question the Almighty power of God to raise the dead, when we

see it every day quickening and reviving things that are dead.

To the second inquiry; The grain undergoes a great change; and

so 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 we

cannot fully understand. The works of creation and providence

daily teach us to be humble, as well as to admire the Creator's

wisdom and goodness. There is a great variety among other

bodies, as there is among plants. There is a variety of glory

among 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 there

will be a variety of glories among them. Burying the dead, is

like committing seed to the earth, that it may spring out of it

again. Nothing is more loathsome than a dead body. But believers

shall at the resurrection have bodies, made fit to be for ever

united with spirits made perfect. To God all things are

possible. He is the Author and Source of spiritual life and

holiness, unto all his people, by the supply of his Holy Spirit

to the soul; and he will also quicken and change the body by his

Spirit. The dead in Christ shall not only rise, but shall rise

thus gloriously changed. The bodies of the saints, when they

rise again, will be changed. They will be then glorious and

spiritual bodies, fitted to the heavenly world and state, where

they are ever afterwards to dwell. The human body in its present

form, and with its wants and weaknesses, cannot enter or enjoy

the kingdom of God. Then let us not sow to the flesh, of which

we can only reap corruption. And the body follows the state of

the 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 made

known. Death never shall appear in the regions to which our Lord

will bear his risen saints. Therefore let us seek the full

assurance of faith and hope, that in the midst of pain, and in

the prospect of death, we may think calmly on the horrors of the

tomb; assured that our bodies will there sleep, and in the mean

time our souls will be present with the Redeemer. Sin gives

death all its hurtful power. The sting of death is sin; but

Christ, by dying, has taken out this sting; he has made

atonement for sin, he has obtained remission of it. The strength

of sin is the law. None can answer its demands, endure its

curse, or do away his own transgressions. Hence terror and

anguish. And hence death is terrible to the unbelieving and the

impenitent. Death may seize a believer, but it cannot hold him

in its power. How many springs of joy to the saints, and of

thanksgiving to God, are opened by the death and resurrection,

the sufferings and conquests of the Redeemer! In verse #58|, we

have an exhortation, that believers should be stedfast, firm in

the faith of that gospel which the apostle preached, and they

received. Also, to be unmovable in their hope and expectation of

this great privilege, of being raised incorruptible and

immortal. And to abound in the work of the Lord, always doing

the Lord's service, and obeying the Lord's commands. May Christ

give us faith, and increase our faith, that we may not only be

safe, but joyful and triumphant.

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