This post is part of a new series from SM2 highlighting and following up on the sermon from Sunday morning. If you have any feedback, or you’re a student interested in helping to write or reflect on the week’s sermon, don’t hesitate to contact Jackson via JClemmer@nullsignalpres.org. Scott’s sermon can be found at signalpres.org/sermons.
The Resurrection of Christ
15 ”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.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”
The Resurrection of the Dead
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
This Sunday, we began our new sermon series in 1 Corinthians 15. We looked at what we mean when we say we believe in “the resurrection of the dead” (which we say most weeks when we recite the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed).
Most of us, myself included, probably believe in the resurrection of the dead the way we believe in the Earth’s atmosphere. That is, we agree that it’s real, and that it’s important, but if you asked me too many questions about it, I’d probably wind up way off base. The reality is, like the atmosphere, we just don’t really think about the resurrection of the dead very often.
Pastor Scott outlined how Paul argues that without the resurrection of the dead, our faith is groundless, futile, and pitiable:
- Groundless because the proof that Jesus is who he, and we, say he is is that God raised him up from the dead.
- Futile because if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then his death didn’t make us right with God.
- Pitiable because if the benefits of Christianity are only in this life, then frankly, the Christian life isn’t worth it. It’s just false hope.
Our belief in the resurrection of the dead is actually at the center of the hope we have in Jesus!
So let’s quickly say what we mean when we say we believe in the resurrection of the dead: When we die, our bodies go (typically) into the ground, and our souls are immediately present with God in heaven, BUT that’s not our permanent home. At the end of this world, Jesus is going to return and raise up the bodies of everyone who has died in faith, and transform their bodies into the vibrant, beautiful, imperishable bodies we are meant to have for eternity. For Christians who are alive when Jesus returns, their bodies will be changed into these immortal bodies on his return.
What This Means For Us
First, and maybe most obviously, the resurrection of the body gives us a picture of what eternal life will look like. God’s plan for eternity isn’t to pull our souls out of our bodies, but to actually glorify both our souls and our bodies! Our eternal future includes eternal bodies!
When we try to imagine what our lives will be like in the new Heavens and Earth (Revelation 21), we can rest assured that we’ll be humans with bodies there, too. Our hope for the future is not some foreign, bizarre non-bodily experience. In fact, we’ll be more in tune with our bodies than ever before!
Second, it means that God cares deeply about the body that you have right now! He loves you. Not just your soul, but your whole self, body and all. It’s so easy to pick apart our bodies. We wish we had bigger muscles, or smaller bellies, or clearer skin, or longer legs. We try constantly working out, or eating differently, or not eating at all to get our bodies to align with what we wish they would look like. We put filters to make our skin look clear, we avoid certain angles to show our faces and our bodies the way we want them to be seen on Instagram.
The resurrection of the body means that God sees your body, exactly as it is, and loves it so much that he’s going to make it exactly as it ought to be, and never let it fail you, for all of eternity!
Finally, the resurrection of the body means that God will, once and for all, heal and protect us from everything that harms our bodies. From acne to cancer, from broken bones to sexual assault, every sign of the brokenness of our world will be removed from our bodies, never to return. God has promised to bind up our wounds, and the resurrection of the body tells us that he means that literally!