Christ's victory over death
Christ was raised to life
1My friends, I want you to remember the message that I preached and that you believed and trusted. 2You will be saved by this message, if you hold firmly to it. But if you don't, your faith was all for nothing.
3I told you the most important part of the message exactly as it was told to me. That part is:#Is 53.5-12.
Christ died for our sins,
as the Scriptures say.
4He was buried,#Ps 16.8-10; Mt 12.40; Ac 2.24-32.
and three days later
he was raised to life,
as the Scriptures say.
5Christ appeared to Peter,#15.5 Peter: See the note at 1.12.#Lk 24.34; Mt 28.16,17; Mk 16.14; Lk 24.36; Jn 20.19.
then to the twelve.
6After this, he appeared
to more than five hundred
Most of them are still alive,
but some have died.
7He also appeared to James,
and then to all
8Finally, he appeared to me, even though I am like someone who was born at the wrong time.#15.8 who was born at the wrong time: The meaning of these words in Greek is not clear.#Ac 9.3-6.
9I am the least important of all the apostles. In fact, I caused so much trouble for God's church that I don't even deserve to be called an apostle.#Ac 8.3. 10But God was kind! He made me what I am, and his wonderful kindness wasn't wasted. I worked much harder than any of the other apostles, although it was really God's kindness at work and not me. 11But it doesn't matter if I preached or if they preached. All of you believed the message just the same.
God's people will be raised to life
12If we preach that Christ was raised from death, how can some of you say that the dead will not be raised to life? 13If they won't be raised to life, Christ himself wasn't raised to life. 14And if Christ wasn't raised to life, our message is worthless, and so is your faith. 15If the dead won't be raised to life, we have told lies about God by saying that he raised Christ to life, when he really did not.
16So if the dead won't be raised to life, Christ wasn't raised to life. 17Unless Christ was raised to life, your faith is useless, and you are still living in your sins. 18And those people who died after putting their faith in him are completely lost. 19If our hope in Christ is good only for this life, we are worse off than anyone else.
20But Christ has been raised to life! And he makes us certain that others will also be raised to life. 21Just as we will die because of Adam, we will be raised to life because of Christ. 22Adam brought death to all of us, and Christ will bring life to all of us. 23But we must each wait our turn. Christ was the first to be raised to life, and his people will be raised to life when he returns. 24Then after Christ has destroyed all powers and forces, the end will come, and he will give the kingdom to God the Father.
25Christ will rule until he puts all his enemies under his power,#Ps 110.1. 26and the last enemy he destroys will be death. 27When the Scriptures say that he will put everything under his power, they don't include God. It was God who put everything under the power of Christ.#Ps 8.6. 28After everything is under the power of God's Son, he will put himself under the power of God, who put everything under his Son's power. Then God will mean everything to everyone.
29If the dead are not going to be raised to life, what will people do who are being baptized for them? Why are they being baptized for those dead people? 30And why do we always risk our lives 31and face death every day? The pride that I have in you because of Christ Jesus our Lord is what makes me say this. 32What do you think I gained by fighting wild animals in Ephesus? If the dead are not raised to life,#Is 22.13.
“Let's eat and drink.
Tomorrow we die.”
33Don't fool yourselves. Bad friends will destroy you. 34Be sensible and stop sinning. You should be embarrassed that some people still don't know about God.
What our bodies will be like
35Some of you have asked, “How will the dead be raised to life? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36Don't be foolish. A seed must die before it can sprout from the ground. 37Wheat seeds and all other seeds look different from the sprouts that come up. 38This is because God gives everything the kind of body he wants it to have. 39People, animals, birds, and fish are each made of flesh, but none of them are alike. 40Everything in the heavens has a body, and so does everything on earth. But each one is very different from all the others. 41The sun isn't like the moon, the moon isn't like the stars, and each star is different.
42That's how it will be when our bodies are raised to life. These bodies will die, but the bodies that are raised will live for ever. 43These ugly and weak bodies will become beautiful and strong. 44As there are physical bodies, there are spiritual bodies. And our physical bodies will be changed into spiritual bodies.
45The first man was named Adam, and the Scriptures tell us that he was a living person. But Jesus, who may be called the last Adam, is a life-giving spirit.#Gn 2.7. 46We see that the one with a spiritual body did not come first. He came after the one who had a physical body. 47The first man was made from the dust of the earth, but the second man came from heaven. 48Everyone on earth has a body like the body of the one who was made from the dust of the earth. And everyone in heaven has a body like the body of the one who came from heaven. 49Just as we are like the one who was made out of earth, we will be like the one who came from heaven.
50My friends, I want you to know that our bodies of flesh and blood will decay. This means that they cannot share in God's kingdom, which lasts for ever. 51I will explain a mystery to you. Not every one of us will die, but we will all be changed.#1 Th 4.15-17. 52It will happen suddenly, quicker than the blink of an eye. At the sound of the last trumpet the dead will be raised. We will all be changed, so that we will never die again. 53Our dead and decaying bodies will be changed into bodies that won't die or decay. 54The bodies we now have are weak and can die. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal. Then the Scriptures will come true,#Is 25.8.
“Death has lost the battle!
55Where is its victory?#Ho 13.14 (LXX).
Where is its sting?”
56Sin is what gives death its sting, and the Law is the power behind sin. 57But thank God for letting our Lord Jesus Christ give us the victory!
58My dear friends, stand firm and don't be shaken. Always keep busy working for the Lord. You know that everything you do for him is worthwhile.