1Corinthians 15 - Outline of 1Corinthians (MENU page)
Having dealt with specific disorders and difficulties in the Corinthian church, Paul now deals with a doctrinal error. Apparently, some were teaching that Christ had not risen from the dead, in a physical sense. Therefore, Paul declares the fact of Christ's resurrection, as attested by witnesses who saw the Lord alive after His death. Furthermore, he declares the necessity, of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, to the Gospel of Christ. He also describes the implications of the resurrection, as it affects believers now and in the future.
A. The resurrection of Christ is attested by Scripture and eye witnesses.
1. Moreover, brethren,
I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,
which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved,
if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you,
unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
how 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:
...I declare unto you the gospel {GK=euaggelion} which I preached {GK=euaggelizo, evangelize}...
Paul begins by reminding the Corinthian believers of the facts of the 'good news' which he had announced in their hearing, lest they turn aside to a false 'gospel' compatible with man's 'wisdom' (1Cor 1:23,24; cp. Gal 1:6-8).
...which ye received... wherein ye stand... by which ye are saved...
The Corinthian believers had received the message as God's Word (cp. 1The 2:13). Having placed their faith in Christ, they had been delivered from sin and its penalty, and had entered into peace with God (eg., Rom 1:16-18; 5:1).
...unless ye have believed in vain {GK=eike, without a cause, for no reason, without purpose}.
Their salvation and standing before God were contingent upon:
  1. the truth of what they had believed (cp. v.14), and
  2. their continued belief in that truth (cp. 2Cor 6:1; Luk 8:11-15; Joh 8:31,32).
For I delivered unto you first of all {ie., of first importance} that which I also received...
Paul received his understanding of the Gospel by direct revelation from the Lord. Later, he confirmed his understanding in conference with the apostle Peter, and other church leaders who had preceeded him in the faith. Gal 1:11-12,18; 2:1-2,9
What are the essential facts of the Gospel, preached by Paul and the other apostles?
  1. that Christ died for our sins (Rom 3:25),
    according to the scriptures (eg., Gen 3:15; Isa 53:1-12).
  2. that he was buried.
    (His burial for 3 days confirms that He was really dead. Isa 53:9).
  3. that he rose again the third day,
    according to the scriptures (eg., Psa 16:10,11; Isa 53:10-12; Hos 6:2)
The facts of the Gospel are attested by the OT Scriptures which foretold these events,
and also by the NT which documents their historic fulfilment and expounds their significance.
(Note: The OT references above are a very small sampling of such passages. See 1Pet 1:10-12)
The Resurrection of Christ is attested by a large number of eye witnesses (v.5-11).
5 And that he was seen of Cephas {Luk 24:33,34},
then of the twelve:
{Joh 20:19-29; Luk 24:1-53}
6 After that, he was seen
of above
{ie., more than} five hundred brethren at once; {perhaps at Mat 28:10,16-17}
of whom the greater part remain unto this present,
but some are fallen asleep
{in physical death, eg., Acts 7:59,60; 1The 4:13-15}.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
{Acts 1:2-12}
8 And last of all he was seen of me also,
as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles,
that am not meet 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 which [was bestowed] upon me was not in vain;
but I laboured more abundantly than they all:
yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore whether [it were] I or they,
so we preach, and so ye believed.
...he was seen {GK=optomai, appeared before the eyes of}...
In v.5-8, the repeated use of this word indicates that each of the named individuals and groups were eye witnesses, who having seen Jesus alive after His crucifixion and burial, could attest to the objective fact of His resurrection.
     The references with the Bible text, above, provide a sampling of such incidents. For more, see the complete record in the four Gospel accounts.
     Verse 7 is the only written record of His appearance to James (who was a half brother to Jesus). During Jesus' earthly ministry, James was an unbeliever who thought his brother was crazy. After being convinced of Jesus' resurrection, James became a leader in the church in Jerusalem. cp. Mat 13:55; Mark 3:21-35; Acts 15:4-6,13; 21:17,18
     As Paul wrote this letter, most of these eye witnesses were still living, and could have been interviewed by anyone seeking the truth of the matter.
And last of all he was seen of me also,
as of 'one born out of due time' {GK=ektroma, an untimely birth, a miscarriage}.
Paul understood that he had nearly missed the opportunity to be 'born of God's Spirit.' He had been blinded by his hatred against Christ and His followers (Acts 8:1-3). Following the martyrdom of Stephen, Paul had persecuted the church with vengeance... until the Lord appeared to him and turned him completely around (Acts 9:1-21). [Note: Sometime after his conversion, Saul changed his name to Paul.]
     Ashamed of his unworthiness, Paul declares that it was only by the Lord's grace, that he had been saved and appointed to serve as an apostle (1Tim 1:13,14).
     Constrained by the Love of Christ for His persecutor, Paul had thrown himself, without reserve, into the Lord's work. 2Cor 5:14,15; eg., 2Cor 10:12-18; 11:23-29
Therefore whether [it were] I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
Paul and the other apostles proclaimed the same Gospel, declaring that:
     "Christ died for our sins... he was buried... and he rose again the third day..." (v.3,4)
B. The resurrection of Christ is necessary for our salvation from sin and death.
12. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead,
how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain,
and your faith [is] also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God;
because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ:
whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised,
your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
we are of all men most miserable.
...how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
They were denying any bodily resurrection. The phrase 'resurrection of the dead' {GK=anastasis nekron} is literally the 'standing-up of corpses.'
     Some, in the Corinthian church, taught that there would not be a bodily resurrection of believers. The heathen religions and philosophies, which they had previously followed, held a hope of some form of spiritual existence beyond the grave. Following the thought of those religions, human observation and worldly wisdom, some in the Corinthian church considered the hope of bodily resurrection to be unreasonable (cp. Acts 26:8,22-24).
     Paul addresses their unbelief with a logical argument, showing that resurrection is an essential element of the Gospel which they claimed to believe:
  1. if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen.
  2. if Christ be not risen, then...
    our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain {GK=kenos, empty}.
    1. Regarding our empty preaching...
      We are discovered to be false witnesses of God, because we have testified that God raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
      For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.
    2. Regarding your empty faith...
      In v.17, 'vain' is GK=metaios, void of effect, without purpose, useless.
      • You are yet in your sins.
        You believe Christ died to pay the wages of sin (which is death).
        But if He did not rise out of death, the account remains unsettled.
      • Therefore, people who died believing the Gospel have perished in their sins.
      • Therefore, believers are the most miserable {pitiable} people in the world,
        because they wasted their lives, denying themselves worldly pleasures, in anticipation of Christ's future Kingdom, which will never come (if it were true that Christ has not risen). cp. Joh 16:2,33; 2Tim 3:12
C. The order of resurrection: the believer's hope.
20. But now is Christ risen from the dead,
[and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.
Because Christ has, in fact, risen from the dead (v.3-8), He is the first installment of the resurrection which will include all who believe in Him, though they may have died prior to His return for them.
     In the OT, at the beginning of the harvest season, at the Feast of Firstfruits, the first ripe stalks of grain were offered to Lord, in thanksgiving for the full harvest which would soon follow.
21 For since by man [came] death,
by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die,
even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Death came upon the descendants of Adam, through his sin,
for he is the head of the natural human race.
Life came upon all who are in Christ, through His righteousness,
which is imputed to everyone born of God's Spirit, through faith in the One who died for our sins and arose out of death (Rom 4:21-25; 5:12-21).
Note: All humans will be raised through the authority of the only righteous Son of Man (Joh 5:26-29).
In John 5:29, Jesus identified two distinct resurrections (not one general resurrection). These two resurrections do not occur at the same time. The resurrection unto life occurs first. The resurrection unto damnation occurs much later. See Rev 20:1-6,11-15.
{Also see "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth: Lesson #4 - The Two Resurrections [of dead men]."
This study can also be accessed from the Resource Menu.}
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits;
afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
Just as the two resurrections occur in consecutive order (not all at once),
the First Resurrection also occurs over a period of time (not all at once), in several stages.
[See the Notes at Rev 20:5.]
Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
Christ is "the resurrection and the life" for those who believe in Him (Joh 11:25,26). Jesus spoke those words shortly before calling Lazarus out of his tomb. But like all other people who were raised from death before him, Lazarus lived out his natural days, then he died and was buried again. It was necessary for Jesus Christ to die for our sins and rise again, to become the way through whom those who believe in Him "shall never die" both spiritually and physically. Joh 12:23,24: 14:1-6; Rom 8:11; Eph 2:1-6
     Jesus conquered sin and death, never to die again (Rom 6:9,10).
     "His was a glorious victory that brings those who believe on Him out of the state where sin and its consequences reign, and into a realm into which neither death nor judgment can enter." [in quotes, GWms]
     Thus, all, who are in Christ, already have eternal life (1Joh 5:11,12). When a believer dies, his or her 'person' is separated from their body, but present with the Lord (2Cor 5:6-8). When Christ returns for His own, their bodies will be raised out of physical death, enabling them to serve Him with a full set of faculties forever. 1The 4:13-18; 5:23,24
24 Then [cometh] the end,
when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;
when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet.
But when he saith all things are put under [him,
it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him,
then shall the Son also himself be subject
unto him that put all things under him,
that God may be all in all.
then [cometh] the end {GK=telos, the conclusion, the point aimed at}...
Between v.23 (the Rapture of the church) and v.24, there are many prophesied events (eg., the Tribulation Period, Christ's judgment of the world system, Christ's Millennial Kingdom, Satan's final rebellion and ultimate destruction, and the Great White Throne judgment of the unsaved). Verse 24 jumps to the conclusion of God's purposes on the earth.
...when he {Christ} shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;
when he {Christ} shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
In the end, everything will be brought into submission to God. All opposing entities will be deposed and displaced by the Kingdom of righteousness, which will have no end.
...For he {Christ} must reign, till he {God, the Father} hath put all enemies under his feet.
God will accomplish the conquest of all His enemies, through Christ, before the end comes (at the conclusion of His prophetic purposes). Isa 9:6,7; Psa 2:6-10; 8:4-6; 110:1; Heb 10:12,13
The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death.
This will occur at the Great White Throne judgment (Rev 20:14,15). Those who are saved will live forever in the eternal Kingdom, where there will be no death (Rev 21:3,4).
And when all things shall be subdued unto him {Christ}, (Heb 2:6-9; Php 2:9-11; Dan 7:14)
then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him...
God the Son, the Son of man, was always in submission to the Father's will. Joh 4:34; 8:29; 14:28
This accords with the order of authority established by God. 1Cor 3:23; 11:3;
that God may be all in all.
Yet, the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in God the Son (Col 1:15-19; 2:9; Heb 1:1-4).
After Christ has brought everything into submission to God, in the eternal Kingdom, the One dwelling in the midst of His people, will occupy "the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev 21:5,6; 22:1-4). That One is the 'end' who fills all in all (v.24; Eph 1:20-23; Col 3:11; Rev 1:8; 21:6; 22:13).
29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead,
if the dead rise not at all?
why are they then baptized for the dead?
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
31 I protest by your rejoicing
which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus,
what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?
let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not;
for some have not the knowledge of God:
I speak [this] to your shame.
Else {otherwise} what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?
What is meant by 'baptism for the dead'? The following have been suggested:
  1. Does 'baptism for the dead' refer to 'believer's baptism'?
    Some emphasize various aspects of such baptism...
    1. in baptism a believer publicly declares his or her faith in Christ. eg., Acts 8:36-38
    2. in baptism a believer testifies to union with Christ in death and resurrection. Rom 6:3,4
      Baptism by immersion provides a picture of this spiritual reality. The believer goes under the water, depicting death to sin and burial of his old ways. Then, he comes up out of the water, depicting being raised to newness of life in service of God.
         [Points 'a.' and 'b.' are both valid understandings of believer's baptism. However, neither of them fit Paul's argument in this passage.]
    3. by baptism a believer obtains salvation (ie., the erroneous idea that baptism is required before a person can be saved).
      Promoters, of this false doctrine, point to passages like Mark 16:16, where they emphasize the word "and." Yet, they ignore the last line which shows that a person is condemned, not for lack of baptism, but for not 'believing.'
         They also point to 1Pet 3:18-22, where they emphasize the first line of v.21. However, they do not understand Peter's "like figure" {ie., illustration}. Noah and his family were not saved by baptism in the waters of judgment. In fact, they never got wet, because they were safe in the ark. Likewise, those who are 'in Christ' are saved because He bore our judgment. Through faith in Him, who died and arose in our behalf, believers are cleansed of fleshly filth, and delivered out of death into life with Him.
         We are saved, not by water baptism, but by faith in Christ (v.22,23; Rom 3:24,25; Gal 3:26). The repentant thief, on the cross next to Christ, had no opportunity for water baptism. He was saved by faith alone, in Christ alone. Luk 23:42,43; cp. Joh 1:12,13; 3:36
    [Conclusion of point #1: If Christ is not risen, being identified with Him in baptism is of no benefit (v.16).]
  2. Does 'baptism for the dead' refer to vicarious baptism in behalf of dead people?
    This is the unbiblical teaching of the Mormon (LDS) church and some other cult groups. In Mormon temples around the world, Mormon 'saints' are baptized in behalf of people whose names have been acquired through genealogical research. They sincerely believe that they are saving multitudes through this activity.
       However, as discussed in point "1.-c." above, salvation is not acquired via baptism, rather, it is given to those who personally trust in Christ. Those who have died in unbelief await God's judgment. Joh 8:24; Heb 9:27,28
       There is no biblical support for the idea that anyone (other than Christ) can purchase salvation for himself, let alone for any other person. Psa 49:6-9; Eze 18:4,20
  3. 'Baptism for the dead' refers to new believers who commit themselves to fill the ranks of Christians who have died.
    True disciples of Christ will face hatred and trouble in the world. Joh 15:18-21
       If Christ is not risen, there is no reason to enter the struggle in the place of fallen martyrs. Yet, this is exactly what Paul and all true believers were willing and prepared to do (v.30-32; Mat 16:24,25).
       While this meaning is the best fit for the context, there is also grammatical support for this view. In v.29, all occurrences of the word 'dead' are plural. In believer's baptism, the believer is identified with One who has died and risen. Even in the false doctrine of vicarious baptism for dead people, each ceremonial baptism is applied to one dead person at a time. But believers, who enlist in the ranks of witnesses who have died, are identifying themselves with a multitude of God's faithful servants (eg., Heb 12:1,2).
       [This (point '3.') is the editor's understanding of 'baptism for the dead.']
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
ie., "I affirm by the pride in you that I have in Christ Jesus our Lord: I die every day!" [HCSB]
The word translated 'protest' {GK=ne} is a particle of strong affirmation used in oaths. [Vine]
Paul willingly exposed himself to danger for the sake of those who would come to faith in Christ. 1Cor 4:9-13; 2Cor 4:10,11; 1The 2:19,20
If after the manner of men {ie., 'from human motives' [NASB] or 'humanly speaking' [ESV]}
I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?
The book of Acts does not mention any fight between Paul and beasts. No doubt, this alludes to human enemies who had attacked him viciously. This may refer to a brief encounter early in his work at Ephesus (eg., Acts 19:8,9). Later, Paul's extended ministry in Ephesus would end, when his life would be endangered by a riot of unreasonable men, who acted like wild beasts (Acts 19:23-41). Apparently, this riot occurred in the interval between First and Second Corinthians (2Cor 1:8,9).
     Not long after Paul's death (by execution, several years later, in Rome), believers would literally be thrown to the lions, in Rome's coliseum and elsewhere, as entertainment for blood thirsty crowds. All of this suffering would be in vain, if Christ had not risen. Therefore, no reasonable person would endure such things, unless convinced of that fact. cp. Rom 8:33-39
Be not deceived: evil communications {or, companionship} corrupt good manners {or, morals}.
In other words, avoid those who say there is no resurrection, for they will undermine your faith and your walk with the Lord (v.12-19; eg., 2Tim 2:16-18).
Awake {GK=eknepho, rouse out of stupor} to righteousness, and sin not;
for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame. cp. Rom 13:11-14; Eph 5:14,15
D. The method of resurrection: the believer's transformation.
35. But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up?
and with what body do they come?
36 [Thou] fool
{GK=aphron, unthinking, imperceptive person},
that which thou sowest
is not quickened
{ie., vitalized, made alive}, except it die: {Joh 12:24}
37 And that which thou sowest,
thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain,
it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]:
38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him,
and to every seed his own body.
There are many different kinds of seeds. After a seed is planted in the soil, its seed-like body is soon lost. Each type of seed germinates and grows into a specific type of plant, according to God's design. We observe the change, but we cannot comprehend the intricacies of the life force that causes it. Mark 4:26-29
39 All flesh [is] not the same flesh:
but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men,
another flesh of beasts,
another of fishes, [and] another of birds.
Like plant life, God created animal life in many distinct varieties, each designed for life in very different environments. Gen 1:20-26
40 [There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial:
but the glory of the celestial
{lit., above the sky, heavenly} [is] one,
and the [glory] of the terrestrial
{ie., pertaining to the earth} [is] another.
41 [There is] one glory of the sun,
and another glory of the moon,
and another glory of the stars:
for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory.
We observe the beauty of the earth which varies with the seasons. We observe the beauty of distant objects in the space beyond earth's atmosphere. Each differs in glory. Some radiate light. Some reflect light. Some appear very bright and large. Others appear small and dimly glowing, due to their distance. Yet, each of these is placed according to God's design (eg., Gen 1:14-16).
42 So also {ie., Likewise} [is] the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown in corruption
{Gen 3:19}; it is raised in incorruption: {v.52,53; 1Pet 1:4}
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory:
{Php 3:20,21}
it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
{1Cor 6:14; 2Cor 13:4}
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
Jesus' natural body died on the cross and was laid in the tomb. His spiritual body rose up through the grave clothes leaving them undisturbed (Joh 20:6-8), and exited the tomb before the stone was rolled away (Mat 28:1-6), and appeared and disappeared where and when He willed (Luk 24:31; Joh 20:19). Yet, He was recognizable to those who had known Him before, and He bore the scars of His crucifixion (Luk 24:39; Joh 20:26-28). His spiritual body was able to consume food, but apparently did not need such nourishment (Luk 24:41-43).
     Late in His earthly ministry, in His answer to the Sadducees (who denied any resurrection of the dead), Jesus described some other differences between the natural and spiritual (resurrection) bodies of those who know and believe God's Word (Luk 20:34-36).
45 And so {Thus also} it is written,
The first man Adam was made a living soul;
{Gen 2:7}
the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual,
but that which is natural;
and afterward that which is spiritual.
{cp. Eph 4:22-24}
...the last Adam [was made] a quickening {life giving} spirit.
Note that the words in brackets are not in the Greek text.
The first man, Adam, 'was made' {caused to be} a living soul.
The last Adam, Jesus Christ, eternally exists as a life giving Spirit. Joh 1:1-4
He came into the world to give life to we who were dead in our sins. 1Joh 1:1-4; Joh 11:25,26
47 The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: {Gen 3:19; Joh 3:31}
'earth' {GK=ge, planet earth}; 'earthy' {GK=choikos, of the dust, dusty}
the second man [is] the Lord from heaven.
{Mat 1:23; Joh 3:13; 6:33-40; 17:1-5; 1Tim 3:16}
48 As [is] the earthy {dusty}, such [are] they also that are earthy {dusty}:
and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly.
{Joh 3:6}
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
{Rom 8:29}
50 Now this I say, brethren,
that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;
neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
{Joh 3:3-6}
Only those who are born of God's Spirit belong in His Kingdom. But their natural bodies, subject to moral and physical corruption, cannot enter that realm. Therefore, believers 'must' receive spiritual bodies, when the Lord comes to take us home (v.53).
E. The finality of resurrection: Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
51. Behold, I shew you a mystery {a secret (previously hidden, now revealed)};
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed
{lit., be made 'other', be transformed},
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:
for the trumpet shall sound,
and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal [must] put on immortality.
In a moment {GK=atomos, an 'atom' of time, an instant too small to divide}...
All {ie., all who are born of God's Spirit, through faith in Christ}, whether they had been 'asleep' in graves or active in earthly life, will be instantaneously transformed. Their 'natural bodies' will be changed into 'spiritual bodies.'
...at the last trump...
This is the Rapture of the church. The 'trump' is actually the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, calling His own into His presence (1The 4:13-18; Rev 4:1,2). This will occur shortly before the Tribulation period (the Time of Jacob's Trouble) comes upon the earth (beginning in Revelation ch.6).
     The 'last trump' of the Church Age will occur when the Body of Christ reaches 'fulness' {completion}, with the addition of the final Gentile believer (Rom 11:25). Only the Lord knows who and when. After that, Christ will make Himself known to Israel, during the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Rom 11:26,27; see Zech 12:10; 13:1).
     [Some confuse this 'last trump' with the last of the seven trumpets of judgment, which will sound during the Tribulation period (beginning in Rev 8:2). The last of those trumpets (Rev 11:15) announces the last half of that period (the Great Tribulation), at the end of which the 'Times of the Gentiles' (ie., the period of Gentile world dominion) will be displaced by the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth. However, at the last trump of the Church Age, the true church is taken into the presence of the Lord in heaven, prior to God's wrath being poured out on the earth (1The 1:10). At the close of the Tribulation, when Christ comes to reign on earth, He will return from heaven with His Bride, the church (Rev 19:6-8).]
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.
It will be a welcome change (2Cor 5:2-4; Php 3:20,21). But it is also an essential change, which 'must' be accomplished before we can enter the Lord's presence, forever (v.50; 1The 4:17).
54 So when this corruptible
shall have put on incorruption
{ie., incorruptibility},
and this mortal shall have put on immortality,
then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,
Death is swallowed up in victory.
{Isa 25:8}
55 O death, where [is] thy sting?
O grave, where [is] thy victory?
{Hos 13:14}
56 The sting of death [is] sin;
{Eze 18:4}
and the strength of sin [is] the law.
{Rom 3:19,20}
57 But thanks [be] to God,
which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 3:21-26; 6:23; 8:35-39; 1Joh 5:4,5
58. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
The 'blessed hope' of the church is not empty (as it would be if Christ had not risen, v.14,17).
The confident expectation, that the Lord will return and take us to Himself, should motivate us to serve Him with all that we are and have, while we wait for Him. Titus 2:13,14; 1Pet 1:3-9; 2Pet 3:14

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