The meaning of the Resurrection is a central issue in Christianity. Paul taught that to fully grasp the significance of Christ’s rising from the dead, we must first understand the basics of the Gospel. To demonstrate its priority in the life of the apostle, Alistair Begg traces a line through Paul’s various letters, reminding us that it is only by this Gospel that we are saved. If we marginalize the Resurrection, we water down the Good News.
1Now I would remind you, brothers,1 of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in Christ we have hope2 in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God3 has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
29Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30Why are we in danger every hour? 31I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”4 34Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
35But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
42So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”;5 the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall6 also bear the image of the man of heaven.
50I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
In every generation, one subject remains a source of both fascination and fear: death. Is it really the end? What happens afterward? Even believers will often wonder, “How good do I need to be to enter Heaven?” Before we can answer any questions about our eternal destination, however, we must first understand the significance of Christ’s rising from the dead. At a time when people are increasingly preoccupied with stories of "out-of-body" experiences and reincarnation, Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 15 is unique and striking in its impact, providing the classical Christian discussion of death and resurrection. In this series, Alistair Begg explores the biblical answer to how we can face death with confidence rather than fear. In learning how best to die, we find the key to learning how to live well.
|The Good News of the Resurrection||1 Corinthians 15:1-58|
|Held and Holding Firmly||1 Corinthians 15:2-4|
|The Resurrection: Eyewitness Accounts||1 Corinthians 15:3-11|
|Testimony of the Apostle Paul||1 Corinthians 15:8-11|
|If Christ Has Not Been Raised, Then What?||1 Corinthians 15:12-19|
|A Matter of Death and Life, Part One||1 Corinthians 15:20-28|
|A Matter of Death and Life, Part Two||1 Corinthians 15:20-28|
|Our God Reigns||1 Corinthians 15:20-28|
|How Are the Dead Raised?||1 Corinthians 15:35-50|
|If There Is No Resurrection...||1 Corinthians 15:29-34|
|Total Transformation||1 Corinthians 15:51-57|
|Standing Firm||1 Corinthians 15:58|