By Brooke Holt
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” - 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Chapter fourteen ended with Paul questioning the Corinthian believers about where they found their authority—the Lord Jesus Christ or themselves. As Paul continued his letter, it appears that the Corinthians were not just confused about the practice of spiritual gifts but also about some important tenets of the Gospel.
It was time to go back to the beginning when Paul began his ministry among them. Long before they knew anything of spiritual gifts, there was the Gospel message that Paul preached to them: Jesus was the Messiah sent by God to deliver his people from the bondage of sin and death. Jesus lived as a man then died on a cross to bear the punishment for the sins of the world. On the third day, he rose again conquering death, sin, and Satan. Through this atoning work of Jesus, the Corinthians (and all people who put their faith in him) were saved from their sins and declared children of God.
When Paul preached this message, the Corinthians believed and came to saving faith. That was their hope, their truth, and their eternal salvation. Yet, while that message had once seemed abundantly clear among them, Paul addressed them as people who had drifted or were drifting from the truth. Apparently, there were some who doubted the physical resurrection of God’s people.
So, what happened to these once fervent, faithful Christians? It seems they were still clinging to their old ways or their own understanding of things instead of submitting fully to God’s way and truth. Paul wrote in full clarity here—if they did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ which made the way for the resurrection of his people, then their faith was in vain. It was pointless, useless, without any true foundation.
Paul wanted God’s people to live with clarity and commitment to God’s truth, especially these fundamental truths which were to bring hope to God’s people. Earthly lives will come to an end. People will die and leave us for a time, but for those who trust in the salvific work of Jesus Christ, death is not the end. When Jesus returns to establish his kingdom, the dead will rise with glorious, resurrected bodies. What a day that will be!
What is your view of the resurrection, and what is your hope? Do you have your heart set on that resurrected body and the glory that awaits you? Paul wanted the Corinthians (and us) to live in that truth so that we may embrace the hope God has for us. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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