- Love and Liberty
We Too Shall Be Raised
1 Corinthians 15
Some believe there is no God, that Christians believe in fairy tales, and when we die we merely cease to exist. Others believe there is a God and that the spirit part of people goes to be with God at death, unless they are lost, which results in the spirit going to hell. Other beliefs, like reincarnation or assignment to purgatory also exist, as well as a mixture of some of these beliefs. Many professing Christians only know what they have been told by a pastor or what they have learned in their church or denomination, so it is no surprise to find out they are unable to present a sound biblical argument for their views. As do many others, I believe the Bible teaches that when we die, our death is likened to sleep. There is no part of a person that consciously exists while his body is in the grave, he is dead. Both saved and lost sleep in the grave, awaiting the culmination of many centuries of church history – the return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead. The resurrection is the good news of the gospel. Those who follow Christ will sleep in death, but when Christ returns, they will be resurrected to life eternal. On the other hand, the lost will be raised, judged, and condemned to a second and everlasting death. They will be destroyed in the lake of fire.
The dead will be resurrected – some to eternal life, some to face the second and permanent death. The proof we have is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The resurrection is the key element of the Christian gospel (Romans 10:9-10). It sets Christianity apart from the world’s religions whose founders are still in the grave. To deny this is to deny the truth and to miss salvation. The truth of Christ’s resurrection has implications for us that are too important to ignore. The Bible does not attempt to prove the resurrection of Christ, for Christians knew that he had been resurrected. The Bible does point to the resurrection of Christ to prove that we too will be raised from the dead.
Since we will all be resurrected, there are areas of life that have major significance.
What does it mean to be baptized for the dead? Some have taken this to mean that a living person can be baptized for a dead person in order to obtain his salvation. This belief has no biblical basis. Remembering that the context of this chapter is the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the rest of humanity, we can understand this phrase to mean “baptized to take the place of the Christian witnesses who have died.” If there is no resurrection, why bother to win others to the Lord? Why seek converts, and baptize them, so they can become witnesses for the Lord to take the place of the witnesses that have died if there is no resurrection?
Christian suffering (30-32)
If Christianity ends at the grave, why go on suffering in the face of danger? However, since we will all be resurrected, then it makes sense to suffer for Christ’s sake. Paul faced constant persecution and threats against his life. The Jews, his own countrymen, tried to kill him. The tyrant Nero unleashed a sickening fury on the Christians in his day. We are told that he used Christians as human torches to light his garden. Nero would have them sewn in animal skins and thrown to wild animals. Christians were brought into arenas and thrown to lions for the sport. There have been so many more examples of hatred being directed toward Christians, not because they went around claiming “God loves you”, but because true Christian preaching and living are rebukes to sinners. The world’s governments and religious establishments have been the greatest persecutors of the Lord’s followers. If we are not going to be resurrected, why endure or resist? But we will be resurrected and those who suffered with him will also reign with him.
Separation from sin (33-34)
Many people deny the resurrection so they can excuse their sins, but the Lord is coming back and how we live truly does matter. “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” (Malachi 3:18) We must awake to righteousness and turn from sin. False preachers say that turning from sin is not necessary for salvation, but the Bible shows this to be a lie (Isaiah 55:7, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Acts 3:19, Proverbs 28:13, Proverbs 16:17, Ezekiel 18:27, Romans 6:16, Galatians 5:19-21 and many more could be listed). The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.
We as Christians have victory over death and in death because we belong to Christ. These bodies will wither and die, but at the resurrection we will receive new bodies that will never see corruption. Because he lives, we shall live too. Because he was raised, we will be raised. This is why we witness to others, why we endure suffering, why we turn from sin, and why we are not afraid of death. There is victory in Christ.