What Is The Basis For Our Hope In Christ?
The church in Corinth was becoming divided by false teaching that had entered the church. Thus, causing some to question whether the resurrection of Christ was true. And to those who did, started thinking once they died that was the end of the physical body. But they did however, hold onto the belief of being able to still exist in the form of a spirit only, without a physical body. To never again to enjoy the physical aspects of a world such as walking on the Earth, enjoying the pleasure of food and drink or enjoying all the Creation God gave us to be enjoyed. The members of the Corinth church who held this thinking whether the resurrection was true or not were now saying that God’s promises of a glorious new kingdom and life were false promises according to their viewpoint. And this viewpoint about the resurrection was a direct contradiction of the Gospel message. Thereby, with denying the promise of resurrection the church was in all reality denying the resurrection of Christ Himself. So their faith had wavered by believing these false teachers and were challenging the truth of a risen Christ.
Paul begins by revealing their incongruous position, as they claimed to be followers of a resurrected Lord and at the same time were denying the achievability of the future resurrection for His followers.
1 Corinthians 15:19 (NKJV)
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
If, when we die and our body is no more, then the Gospel dies with us and of what value had it been to us? When did a faith in Christ produce a hope for eternal life if our body remains dead in the grave and can never be replaced? Verse 19 tells us instead of having that reward because of our faith, we are told we should be pitied by the world.
So as we live a life restraining our flesh from worldly enticements, the rest of the world is enjoying their flesh by eating, drinking and engaging in all kinds of self-indulgence.
If we restrain our flesh, then what is the benefit? If there is no resurrection, then when our flesh is gone (we have died), we lost the many opportunities to enjoy life in the ways as those who lived in self-indulgence. For if the resurrection isn’t true, then as Christians we are the most pitiful, deluded, confused and pathetic group of people on the planet.
While our faith in Christ does not promise it will produce happy outcomes in this
life, since its promises are focused on the resurrected life. So by denying and restraining our flesh in obedience to the promises of Christ, we know there will be joy in a new life, in a new body, in a future day that is coming. Because this is the reward we hold steadfast to our hope in the resurrection. And therefore, we hope in Christ for the life to come.
Reality of Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (NKJV)
The Last Enemy Destroyed
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Christ’s has done the work on our behalf. Verse 20 tells us Christ was the first fruits of those who had died before when He was raised from the dead. Thus making Him the first man to receive a resurrected body. Now, we are aware there were other men recorded in scripture who have bypassed death while on this earth. Enoch or Elijah who are a bit of a mystery but from scripture we know they have not received their resurrected bodies.. And there were men who experienced a temporary death but were raised from the dead like Lazarus. Such men as Lazarus came back to life in their original bodies and would eventually die again. However, these men have yet to resurrected in their new bodies. Because, according to scripture Jesus must be resurrected first. He is the first fruits of the dead. Christ leads the way of salvation. His death, burial and resurrection becomes our way to the Father in Heaven and none came before Him.
Reversing Adam’s Sin
Paul tells us that Jesus’ death and resurrection was required to reverse Adam’s sin in the garden. Adam’s sin put himself in a position with a fallen nature that was impossible to be reconciled with God. And in his fallen nature, Adam no longer had the perfection needed to continue his fellowship with God. What’s more Adam,no matter how hard he would try, did not have the ability to restore his relationship with God. Once he lost his perfection in the sight of God, it could never be regained. Therefore his nature was corrupt forever. After God’s curse on the ground, of which Adam came, He decreed that Adam and Woman would have offspring after their own kind which doomed them to reproduce sinfulness in the world. Therefore, the death we experience today is the consequence of Adam’s sin in the Garden. And because of that we share in Adam’s penalty since we share in his nature by our birth. And from that, Adam’s (one man’s) mistake brought consequences for us all. But Paul says if we can accept that by one man’s mistake we will all suffer death. Then we are also capable to know that by One Man’s (Jesus) resurrection we will all share in His resurrection. Christ came as a man for the express purpose of reversing the plight created by Adam’s sin in the Garden. Christ became a new Adam, a man created by God to establish a new beginning for mankind. To accomplish this Jesus was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit in her womb. Jesus was not born in the sin of Adam and was perfect in His living even through temptation. If Jesus had failed at any point in His life and sinned then He would not have been able to reverse Adams mistake in the Garden and Jesus would be just like you and me. A sinful man or woman.
But, we know Jesus lived a sinless life and was the new Adam giving us a new birth as the children of God and being able to say we are “born again” by our faith as our sinful likeness in Adam has been put to death and is replaced is the likeness of Christ. We receive Christ’s Spirit at the point of faith by the grace of God and when we are resurrected we will receive a new sinless body forever putting to death our old body.
How is this possible? Because of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection created a new path for mankind. Christ was the answer to death. The antidote if you will. We can be assured when we are resurrected we will never have to fear death again because we are a new creature in the likeness of Christ. And we no longer deserve the penalty of death. We have been born again into the family of Christ. This is why the Bible declares that Jesus conquered the grave and death. Death is no longer a part of our future even though our physical body must die. But that death is not the death that we are to be concerned with because the death of the body is a necessary step toward a new perfect
existence. Made possible by resurrection, our hope in Christ. Certainly, we don’t see those saints who have already died walking around in new bodies today, do we? It is evident they haven’t yet been resurrected yet. The question you might ask is, when do we join Christ in a new body?
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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