- The future resurrection has a great impact on how we live now (29-34)
- a)Influences us to be baptized (29)
- b)Makes persecution worthwhile (30)
- c)Reminds us to unselfishly live for Christ (31)
- d)Reminds us to face whatever difficulty in this life with an eternal perspective (32)
- e)Influences who we spend time with (33)
- f)Reminds us to live righteously (34)
- Contrasting the earthly body with our future heavenly body (35-49)
- a)Insincere questions (35)
- b)Our present body must die first (36-38)
- c)The earthly body is of one kind and the heavenly body is completely another kind (39-41)
- d)Imperishable instead of perishable (Eternal instead of temporary) (42)
- e)Honorable instead of dishonorable (no more shame from sin) (43)
- f)Powerful instead of weak (44)
- g)Spiritual instead of natural (45)
- h)Adam as the natural man, Christ as the spiritual man (46-49)
III. Victory over death (50-58)
- a)Our present fleshly bodies cannot see heaven (50)
- b)At the rapture we will receive new glorified bodies (51-52)
- c)Victory over death and sin through Christ (53-57)
- d)Be firm and serve the Lord heartily because this life is not the end (58)
What are the main points from this section of Scripture and how does it connect with last week’s?
What does it mean to baptized for the dead?
What does baptism accomplish?
Can it save anyone?
What impact should the resurrection have on our life?
What kind of life does it make sense to live if death is the end for us?
What kind of life should we live if death is not the end?
How does verse 33 fit into this passage? (Some people were denying the resurrection. They were the bad company and it was influencing the behavior of some of the people in the church. Notice that this “bad company” was actually people in the church.)
What is the solution for how we are to live our lives now? (34)
Were the people asking the questions in verse 35 sincere? Are these reasonable questions?
Why does Paul call them fools?
Explain the parable here he uses of sowing and its connection to our glorified body?
What kind of body will we have? How is it different from now?
Tell the four contrasts between our present body and future body?
Why is this important (gives us a hope)?
Who is the “second man”?
Explain Adam and second man and their connection to our bodies/resurrection.
What is the image of the earthly?
What is the image of the heavenly?
If flesh and blood cannot go to heaven, who can?
What does verses 51-52 refer to?
When will this occur?
What should we do while we are waiting?
How can we obtain victory over sin and death?
What should we do with all of this knowledge about the resurrection, the rapture, our glorified bodies, etc?
Exodus 3:6- God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the living, not the dead.
Romans 3:28, Ephesians 2:8-9 – We are saved through faith and not through works.
Proverbs 13:20 – He who walks with wise will be wise. Companion of fools suffers harm.
2 Timothy 2:16 – Avoid worldly and empty chatter.
Philippians 1:29 – To you it has been granted to suffer for Christ.
Hebrews 10:24-25 – Stimulate one another to love and good deeds.
Philippians 3:20-21 – Our citizenship is from heaven. Our Savior will give us new glorified bodies.
Revelation 21:4 – No more pain or death.
Revelation 20:14 – Hades and death will be thrown into the lake of fire.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – Rapture.
Hebrews 3:14 – Stand firm.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 – Your faith produced endurance.
Galatians 6:9 – Keep doing good and we will harvest in due time.
Verse by Verse Commentary:
- The fact that we/believers will be raised again and death is not the end should have a huge impact on our lives. We must look at things with an eternal perspective
The overall message of these verses from 29-34 are clear. Death is no the end for us. One day, all true believers will be raised again. This is not just a doctrinal point, but has massive implications for our life. Paul says if it is not true that we might as well just eat, drink, and be merry. If death is the end for us then we should enjoy this life to the max, caring only for ourselves and our temporary pleasures. Nothing else holds any meaning.
BUT, if the dead are raised, then death is not the end. This life has great meaning. What we do has a huge effect on what will happen to us and others after we die. Every action takes on great significance. What specifics does Paul mention?
- Our baptism/salvation itself is deeply meaningful. If the dead are not raised, then salvation and hence baptism would have no meaning. There would be no eternal life. This verse is quite difficult to understand. Firstly, it in no way means that we can be baptized for someone else before or after their death. Salvation and baptism is a personal decision and cannot be done by proxy. Also, we can be saved only by our own faith and not by our own works. If I can’t save myself through my own works, then surely I cannot save another person (and especially a dead person) by my works. So what does it mean? I won’t be dogmatic on it, but I think the word “for” is integral. This word can also be properly translated because of, which would make much more sense. See Hebrews 12:1-2. In other words, we are baptized/saved because of the testimony, preaching, and witness of believers who have died before us. If they are not raised then why should we believe them and be saved and baptized? Their word should only be believed if in fact they are raised and experiencing eternal life and heaven for themselves right now.
- Persecutions are not to be avoided. If the dead are not raised we should avoid persecutions at all cost, including compromising and giving up our faith. BUT, if they are raised then persecutions are worthy. They are only a short term trouble that pales when looking at things through an eternal perspective. Philippians 1:29.
- We should be self-sacrificing and unselfish. If the dead are not raised we have every reason to care only for ourselves, but since they are we should care for others and die to ourselves.
- We should be warriors for God. If the dead are not raised we don’t need to fight for the things of God because they are not meaningful, but since the dead are raised the things of God are worth fighting for. We must not compromise. We must not just follow the easy ways of the world. We must go the narrow way.
- We should be careful who we spend time with (more on that later).
- We must be alert and we must kill the sin in our lives. Judgment is coming after death when good deeds will be rewarded. Therefore we must live life righteously now, knowing that we will see God face to face and have to give an answer for what we do in our lives now.
On a side note, we will discuss peer pressure. Read cross-references. It is clear from the Bible that who we spend our time with will have an influence on who we are. We need to all make the effort to form godly relationships and avoid worldly ones. Notice also that this bad company was in the Corinthian church. They were bad because they doubted the word of the Lord and because they were spreading false doctrine, people’s actions were also being influenced. Bad company doesn’t only include drunkards and murders, but it can even include people in the church who can have a negative influence on us. Does this mean we need to leave the world? How can we balance our desire to win the world for Christ to the need to avoid bad company? Practice deep fellowship only with other true believers who will strengthen our spiritual walk. That means we form our closest relationships with other believers. Have witnessing relationships to those who are not believers.
- We have a glorious hope that one day we will have a glorious body. There will be no more death, no more pain, no more sickness, and no more sin!
Some fools asked insincere and mocking questions (kind of like “can God build a rock so big He can’t lift it?”) they thought were very clever. Paul calls them fools. It is not wise to doubt God’s word. If He can create Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from his rib, surely he can create a new glorified body from our old ones.
The parable of the seed and sowing is just an example of God’s plan for our bodies. It is an example from nature with some similarities showing that sometimes something must die before it grows even better. Another example might be a caterpillar. It is ugly and enters a cocoon and comes out beautiful and able to fly. How? God’s creative genius. Our bodies which are to be are far different from those which exist now. We can’t comprehend it.
In the world there are all kinds of different objects, each with its glory and its own purpose. The moon is different from the sun. A bird is different from a beast, etc. Our new body will be vastly different from the one we have now. It will be heavenly, but the one we have now is earthly. Two different worlds, two vastly different bodies.
Paul then gives four contrasts. Discuss them one by one. Read cross-references. Talk about our hope for the future and our final sanctification.
Paul gives one final evidence of the resurrection of the dead. This is from Adam and Christ. The natural is first and then the spiritual. Adam was first and then Christ. Adam brought death into the world, and was the representative of natural man. Christ brought life and is the representative of spiritual man. Adam finally died. Christ also died, but Christ raised from the dead. Christ is the first-fruits of the resurrection. Right now we bear the image of Adam, the earthly one. After our bodies are resurrected we will bear the image of Christ, the spiritual one.
This doctrine once again is really important. It affects our future hope and our current life’s meaning. Besides that, it gives us answers to one of life’s most important questions and helps us to understand the fate of those who have died and be able to comfort the family member’s of believers who have passed on.
III. The rapture. Jesus will rapture believers. We will all have an eternal, imperishable body. In light of the coming rapture and the fact that death is not the end, we must abound in our work for the Lord. Do not approach the Christian life half-heartedly. Give praise to Christ, our victory.
In verse 50, Paul gives yet another reason why the resurrection and changing of our bodies is necessary. The one we have now is lacking. It is sin-filled, unholy, and unfit for heaven. What’s the solution? 51-52, our bodies will be changed in a moment, the twinkling of an eye. See 1 Thess 4. Discuss the rapture. When might Christ rapture believers? Is this an important doctrine? Why?
This passage is describing the end of death for us. I’ve heard many people talk about how they hate wars and fighting. Doctors get so tired of seeing people die week after week. The world is filled with death everywhere. Roughly 155,000 people die every day. 57 million per year. Over 6 thousand per hour. I’m sure we all know people who have died. Three of my grandparents passed away in the last five years. Billy’s father just passed away. Right now this is a sad fact of life. It is destined for man to die once. But, the good news is that this will not go on forever. Read Revelation 20:14. There will be an end for death, for each of us as individuals and for the whole world. This is a temporary situation brought about by Adam’s sin and sin reigning in the world. But sin too will pass away. One day there will be no more death or wars or pain or destruction.
For us, even if we die, this itself is a victory. It doesn’t sting, because death will take us home to be with the Lord. So what sin brought into the world and is on the surface an evil thing, God once again turns into good to those who love Him. Death for us is the beginning, the beginning of a life with Christ. So if you look around and see all the death, don’t be discouraged. Know that one day it will be gone. Know that you yourself if you place your trust in Christ can have victory even in the midst of death. And finally, share the good news with everyone you can so that they can also have the final victory over death. Christ gives the victory. Science and doctors try every way. People now sometimes even pay tens of thousands of dollars to freeze their bodies hoping that one day science will find a cure for their death. The only cure is Christ.
58 – Therefore. This word is filled with meaning because it tells us there is an application for us. All of this doctrine is not just to fill our head with data. It affects how we live. We have to change our lives based on this information. We have to take action with this information. What do we have to do? Stand firm and work as hard as we possibly can for the Lord. None of it is in vain because Christ has risen and so will we. Read cross-references.