1 Corinthians

by David Gibb

Day 29

Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

Justin was a Christian writer and apologist who lived in the second century. He was also a martyr. At his trial, the Roman prefect Rusticus who was issuing the sentence of execution apparently asked Justin, sneeringly: ″Do you suppose that you will rise and live forever?″ Justin replied: ″I do not suppose it. I know it!″15

Death, decay, decomposition are no obstacles to resurrection!

Justin was affirming the belief that everyone who trusts in Jesus will, on His return, be raised in a physical body, never to die again. That is the Christian hope.

But, in Corinth, some of the Christians were struggling to believe this. They were asking: ″How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?″ (1 Corinthians 15:35). They must have wondered if our decayed bodies would emerge from the ground looking like the living dead; the thought would have appalled the Greeks, who thought of the human body as weak and impure.

In response, Paul appeals to their intellect and understanding of the world that God made (vv. 36-41). No one walking through a field of ripened wheat for the first time could imagine that each magnificent plant came from a tiny seed. Yet, for this transformation to take place, the seed had to die. And that principle applies to human bodies, too. The body that is buried is ″perishable″ (v. 42), dishonourable, weak (v. 43), and ″natural″ (v. 44). But when resurrection occurs, it will be ″imperishable″ (v. 42), glorious, powerful (v. 43), and ″spiritual″ (v. 44). Death, decay, decomposition are no obstacles to resurrection!

God makes all sorts of bodies (vv. 38-41). Fish, birds, the sun, the moon, and the stars are all different and splendid in their own way, so a physically resurrected version of us is well within His capability.

Our bodies, which are linked to Adam, ″the first man″ (v. 45), are of the earth and will die. But, as we are now linked to Jesus, ″the heavenly man″ (v. 48), we will inherit His spiritual nature and, ultimately, His resurrected body, too (v. 49). In fact, if we are ever to live with God, that must happen (v. 50). Our present bodies are totally inadequate for the kingdom of God-we need to be changed. And, Paul says, that is precisely what will happen to us at the very end, when ″the last trumpet″ sounds (v. 52), heralding the end of this perishable world, the end of death, and the victory of God over sin (vv. 54-57).

This passage isn't just for funerals, it's for us to grasp today. With such a future, we have every reason to ″stand firm″ and to throw ourselves into serving the Lord now, while we live and await that final day (v. 58).

Heavenly Father, thank You for the promise of a resurrected body with You, in Your never-ending kingdom. I long to be with You. Help me to live for You now, confident of my destiny.

15 Charles E. Moore and Timothy J. Keiderling, eds., Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship, (Walden: Plough, 2016), 15.

Think through:

Why is bodily resurrection necessary?

How will our resurrected bodies be similar and different from our present ones?




About Author

David Gibb has a deep love for the Bible and a passion to communicate it relevantly. After ministering in churches in Oxford and northwest England for over 25 years, he is presently pastor and team leader of Duke Street Church in Birmingham, UK.

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Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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