This next chapter (15) of the Apostle Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthian church, is known as the Christian Creed. I really never knew it as such until I heard Lee Strobel speak at Grand Canyon University a few years ago. He’s well-known for his best-selling book, The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Amazon Affiliate Link, Kindle preview at bottom). He shed a whole different light on it. Let’s take a deep dive into it ourselves….
1 Corinthians 15
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.
Whoa! Let’s stop here a minute! Have you believed something that was never true in the first place? I did — for a very long time! I believed that all you needed to do to get to heaven was be baptized as a baby, go through first communion and confirmation, go to confession so you could go to church and watch a priest say hocus pocus — I was a kid and I didn’t know better. Later, I thought that just going to church and being a “good person” would be good enough. How wrong I was! Onward…Paul continues…
3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. 9 For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.
10 But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. 11 So it makes no difference whether I preach or they preach, for we all preach the same message you have already believed.
What Message Is He Talking About That They Have Already Believed?
- Christ died for our sins once and for all!
- He was buried and rose on the 3rd day!
- There were many witnesses to the living God, Jesus Christ!
That’s the Gospel! The Good News!
The Resurrection of the Dead
12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
What’s Missing From These Passages?
Purgatory! If purgatory exists, then Jesus died for nothing! The whole concept of purgatory was an invention of the church centuries ago! I did some research on who exactly came up with the idea of purgatory and how the church kept building on the lie only to extort money from poor, unknowing parishioners. You can read it here.
21 So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. 22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. 23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.
24 After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. 25 For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. 26 And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.“[Psalm 8:6] (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) 28 Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.
29 If the dead will not be raised, what point is there in people being baptized for those who are dead? Why do it unless the dead will someday rise again?
30 And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? 31 For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you. 32 And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus—if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” [Isaiah 22:13] 33 Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning (repent). For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.
Do You Know God?
I thought I did for decades! However, I knew of God. I knew and believed He existed. I knew that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. I also knew that along with the Holy Spirit, we have a Triune God — the Holy Trinity. But that’s all! I was missing one crucial element — KNOWING GOD IN MY HEART! That’s true salvation! Here comes the cool part….
The Resurrection Body (Glorified Bodies!)
35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. 37 And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. 38 Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. 39 Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.
42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.
45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. 46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. 47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.
50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.
51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
You Will Either Die or be Raptured — One or the Other!
What’s wonderful about this knowledge is that since we’re living in the last days, the rapture could happen any day now! If I die tomorrow, my earthly body dies, but my soul will be with Jesus in heaven. If the rapture happens tomorrow, I’ll instantly get a glorified body and be with Jesus in heaven in the twinkling of an eye! It’s whichever comes first. That’s our glorious, confident hope! Paul explains all this in detail in his 2 letters to the Thessalonians. Check out that Bible Study here.
Let’s see what else Paul has to tell us….
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory. [Isaiah 25:8]
55 O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” [Hosea 13:14]
56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.1 Corinthian 15 NLT
I listened to Pastor Sandy Adams’ lesson on this chapter in the free ThroughTheWord bible app, and he had an interesting insight on death and its sting…
Death has a Sting — it…
- Spoils life before it affects it…
- Wealth and fame lose its luster knowing we can’t take it with us…
- Ends friendships, marriages and families…
- Creates missed opportunities…
- Produces unsolved regrets…
Do YOU have that hope?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…