But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (15:20)
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then the gospel would be a lie; but He did rise from the dead!
In these verses, Paul gives a gospel “refresher course” to the Corinthians, reminding them that Jesus has risen, and that in due course, so will we. He was the first, having risen to reign over the kingdom of God. He reigns today as well, in anticipation of that Great Day when He will return at the consummation of the kingdom, to put an end to all evil on the earth and to raise all who have “fallen asleep” over the centuries (15:20-25).
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (15:26-28)
God has put every enemy under Christ’s feet; He will be the one to judge evil and death, and when this has been accomplished, God will reign over the consummated kingdom forever.
This short summary of the end of this world wasn’t placed in this chapter so that we might indulge in speculation about the details of The End. Rather, it is the conclusion of Paul’s point in the prior passage (15:12-19) in which he made the point that if there is no resurrection, our hope is all in vain. Remember, he is correcting misunderstandings about the issue of the resurrection of the dead, as well as any contentions about the resurrection of Christ.
Before we continue, I wonder how we react when people speculate in our midst about such things. To be clear, I am not referring to unbelievers, I mean people who say they follow Christ. Quite a few Christians question whether or not Jesus actually rose from the grave in bodily form, suggesting that His resurrection was more a spiritual thing, something mystical perhaps, but not physical. Even worse, some even suggest that the whole resurrection is sort of a myth, an oral tradition… or maybe something figurative.
How would we respond to that?
Paul’s reaction is found here in chapter 15− and he isn’t quite finished yet.