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Proclaiming the Power of the Resurrection on 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 enhances our understanding of the resurrection by explaining five facets of the resurrection of the body. This is a part of the larger series The Hope of the Resurrection on 1 Corinthians 15:12-58 which helps people understand, defend, explain and even proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Bible Study questions are provided.
Paul takes this chance to clearly put forward five things that occur during the resurrection in verses 50-58.
First of all, we need to put this earthly body aside. It is made from earth’s elements. Adam literally means red like the dust of the earth. The atoms are marvelous assembled - truly no accident, but it is not good enough for God’s eternal plans. It is impossible for any of us, even Jesus, to take this flesh and blood into heaven. Heaven is of a different sort of place.
"Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable" (1 Corinthians 15:50).
Secondly, we need to realize that this need for transformation should not present any alarms for those who are still alive on the day of Christ’s return. Some will not sleep. That means some Christians will not die. They will be alive when Christ returns. These individuals will not miss the kingdom of heaven. There is a special exception for them. This does not mean their bodies go to heaven but they will be changed in split-second process.
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"Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51).
Thirdly, the resurrection takes place at the last trumpet. At the sound of that trumpet, the dead will be raised. They will receive an imperishable body. That is a wonderful solution for our Medicare and retirement fund crisis! The imperishable will be immortal.
"In 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, for this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:52-53).
Fourthly, death will be conquered. The resurrection of God’s people steals all of God’s people from death’s grasp. The risen life will taunt death with its very life. We have been set free from death. Of course, this happened because sin, which caused death, was effectively dealt with through the cross.
"But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
Lastly, we need to be greatly affected by the fact of the coming resurrection. Paul says it so clearly in 15:58.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
a) Be steadfast. We are to be constant in our walk with God. Never veer from His way.
b) Be immovable. We are to stay focused. We are not to have anything, even crises, emotional ups and downs, temptations, persecution, etc. to disturb what we are about. We are living for the next age. We can let things go as needed.
c) We are to abound in the work of the Lord. This is the key. Paul is hardly talking to pastors or even just the leaders here. He is referring to all Christians everywhere. All are to do abundant works through the Lord. This is the resurrection power that affects us now. We are so convinced of the value of storing up good works, we value that more than ten times the storing up of money or wealth on earth.
The resurrection is coming. Our activities, even as hard as they might be, are not in vain. They are very effective. I tell my children where we invest our money. It is not in things but in giving to the poor or helping out some missionary. What about you? Are you steadfast, immovable and abounding in God’s work?
We only have a little time left. Of course we don’t know if the Lord will return today. He might. Or we might need to die first. The point is when our heart is there, and then this is no longer home. We want to be elsewhere because our heart is already there.