There is perhaps no greater chapter in the Bible that explains the doctrine of the resurrection than 1 Corinthians 15. In it, Paul helps those in Corinth with their struggle with a bodily resurrection.
Having been influenced by Greek thought, the Corinthians questioned how a physical body that is perishable could be made suitable for the spiritual realm. But Paul emphatically writes that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised (1 Cor. 15:13).
And if Christ has not been raised from the dead, there is no gospel. Our faith is in vain and we are to be pitied above all people. But Christ has been raised. Therefore, we will be raised as well.
Because Christ has been raised, there is life after death. All who are in Christ will receive new bodies because Christ is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor 15:20). In other words, Jesus is the first to be resurrected. In due time, those who are believers will experience the same.
Because Christ has been raised, we have victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57). The sting of death has been removed for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22).
Because Christ has been raised, our faith is not in vain. We are made alive. We have victory over death. We have the hope of a new resurrected body. So what does this mean? What does Paul encourage the Corinthians to do with this truth of the resurrection?
It’s important to note that in all of Paul’s letters, theology leads to praxis. Doctrine leads to the living of every day life. Therefore, the doctrine of the resurrection naturally leads to Paul exhorting believers in how to live.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).
So because Christ is risen, we should now…
- Hold strongly to the truth of the gospel. Our faith is not in vain. Christ is risen. Don’t be knocked loose from holding to that which is “of first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3-5), the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
- Get to work building up the church. Share the gospel, teach, encourage, serve, pray, and love others. And don’t do such things half-heartedly, but “abound” or “excel” in them.
- Realize that what we do for the kingdom is not wasted. Whatever you are contemplating on doing for the kingdom, do it! Michael Bird writes that “the resurrection moves us to take risks for God because the resurrection proves that God is behind us, before us and with us. Our labor in the Lord in this life plants seed that will sprout forth in the resurrection life; thus, what work we do in this age will flower in the coming age of new creation.”
From Paul’s understanding of the resurrection, Easter Sunday impacts Monday. It works itself out in everyday life as we seek to glorify God and make Him known.