Paul expresses himself from his heart in these words. After his astonishing encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road he was overwhelmed by appreciation and became totally committed to the service of Christ for the rest of his life. 1 Corinthians 15 must be read slowly to appreciate the emotion of Paul’s message. If there is no hope of resurrection then it cannot be true that Christ was raised “and if Christ be not raised your faith is futile” (verse 17).
In Corinth people were sure they had ‘immortal souls’ and that the body was of no value. Many found it impossible to accept the teaching of the resurrection of the body (verse 12). Today, all around us most people do not believe either and we must not let it undermine our convictions. We need to apply our minds to the clear facts of the Bible and declare with Paul with all our hearts, “But Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by man came death, by man has come also the resurrection of the dead” (verses 20,21).
In the final days “we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed … at the last trumpet. For the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (verses 51,52). Paul is concentrating on the resurrection so does not mention the judgement, but he does elsewhere (e.g. Romans 2:16; 14:10). The chapter concludes with a challenging message beginning with the significant word ‘therefore’!
“Therefore, my beloved brothers (and sisters), be steadfast, immovable, always abounding the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” Paul proved that “his grace toward me was not in vain” (verse 10). Let us do the same.