“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…”

1 Corinthians 15:20-28

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.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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9 Responses to “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…”

  1. Citizen Tom says:

    It surprises me, sometimes. People call themselves Christians, but they don’t believe the Bible. If we can believe God created everything from nothing, why do we have to fret and worry about smaller miracles?

  2. Matt Brumage says:

    It’s somewhat unnerving for me when visiting a church, and I hear someone make a comment (not ask a question) about what they love about Jesus that is completely unbiblical and inaccurate. I fear heresies float through our modern collections of “believers” and few realize the danger. Theology sounds so boring, orthodoxy even more so, and therefore we insulate ourselves from thinking because the words are too big and TV so appealing. Gives me the creeps. The ones coming after me in the apocalypse will be those claiming to be followers of Jesus. A Christian horror movie, only the zombies are hard to tell from regular people, oh wait, they are the regular people, it’s the disciples who are weird…(cue creepy organ music…)

    • Don Merritt says:

      I’m right there with you Matt! I must say however, that some of the problem is our fault. We like to show off how smart we are sometimes, and make things sound so much more complicated… and boring… than it really is. Why not just preach and teach the Word clearly in its elegant simplicity?

      Oh well… there I go again with simple 🙂

  3. Hi Don! Great Friday Morning to You! I love the description that you give to Christians who claim they follow Jesus, yet they don’t believe the truth of the Bible. I refer to them as “unbelieving believers.” Also if I may ask, “Where Oh where, did you find the amazing picture for this post? May I use it?”

  4. jimbelton says:

    There were many early Christians who didn’t believe in a bodily resurrection. Some believed Jesus was a man, others that he was raised in spirit. The orthodox view, which closely matches that of Paul, was formalized three centuries after Jesus died at the council of Nicaea. Fundamentally, what does it mean to be Christian? I would say you must at least believe that Jesus was anointed by Yahweh to be the savior of humanity. I’m not certain that requires a belief in physical resurrection. If you include the Pauline doctrine, you must believe in a bodily resurrection. If you are a Catholic, you must believe in the (non-biblical) doctrine of the trinity. The Catholic church claims apostolic authority. Now the Pope claims there is no hell, directly contradicting Jesus himself. Seems to undermine modern Catholicism rather badly, IMO.

  5. Pingback: Don Merritt Now if there is no resurrection: March 30, 2018 – Re-theologizing

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