1 Corinthians 15: 1-28, Death, the last enemy
Heavenly Father, thank You that You rose from the dead to be the first fruit of the resurrection. Thank You for the promise of our resurrection at the rapture. Thank You for defeating death, the last enemy, and rendering it powerless, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-2, 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.
Paul preached the message of the gospel and those who believe and hold fast to the message will be saved.
VV 3-8, 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
The gospel is the death and burial of Jesus Christ on Good Friday as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of mankind, followed by His resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday, according to scripture. Peter, the other eleven apostles, more than five hundred other disciples, James, and lastly Paul had witnessed this resurrection. Most of the eye witnesses of Christ’s resurrection were still alive at this time although some had died.
VV 9-11, 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Pail was very humble. He called himself the least of the apostles although he was undoubtedly the greatest of the apostles. He felt unworthy because he brutally persecuted Christians before his conversion. He acknowledged God’s grace for his salvation and achievements.
VV 12-19, 12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Some Corinthian Christians were sceptical of the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the dead. If Jesus Christ had not resurrected from the dead, Paul’s preaching would be in vain, Christian’s faith would be in vain, the apostles would be liars and false witnesses of Christ. If Jesus Christ had not resurrect from the dead, Christians will still be living in sins and Christians who died would have died in vain. If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christians will be the most pitiful among all men.
VV 20-22, 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
But Jesus Christ had indeed resurrected from the dead. He is the first fruit of the resurrection, the first person to be resurrected from the dead. At a future event called the rapture, all Christians, whether they are dead or still living, will be resurrected to meet the Lord in the air, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. The resurrection of Jesus Christ vindicated His claim of Deity.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
VV 23-28, 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christs at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Christ is the first person to be resurrected. At the rapture, all Christians will be resurrected from the dead. This event will trigger the onset of the 7-year tribulation on earth, followed by Christ’s second coming, Christ’s 1000 years reign on earth, the new heaven and new earth, and the eternal state, Revelation 20-22. Christ’s resurrection from the dead destroyed the last enemy, death. Paul quoted Psalm 110:1.
Psalm 110:1, The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
Paul’s definition of the gospel in one sentence is very handy. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to scripture.
Jesus Christ is the first fruit of the resurrection. At a future event called the rapture, all Christians whether dead or still living will be resurrected from the dead to meet the Lord in heaven, 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18. Resurrection from the dead is the hope of every Christians. Jesus Christ’s resurrection proved that He is God and everything written about Him in the Bible is true.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing love. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ from heaven to earth to die for our sins. Thank You for His death, buried, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures. Thank You for salvation by grace and justification by faith in Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.