The Dead Will Rise!
The apostle Paul had visited the city of Corinth on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:1-18). As he did everywhere, Paul preached the gospel, or good news, about salvation in Christ Jesus. Later on, some of the brethren in Corinth started to think that when Christ returned, He would raise only those who were living at the time. In other words, any Christian who had died would not be raised.
Paul wrote to tell them that this was a very bad idea (1 Corinthians 15). He reminded them that the gospel was founded on the fact that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, that He was raised again on the third day, and that He was seen by many different people. All of this happened just as the Old Testament Scriptures said it would.
Here is how Paul defended His faith in the resurrection of the dead. If you say that dead people will not be raised, then you have to say that Christ was not raised, because He was dead at the time of His resurrection! But if you say that Christ was not raised, then preaching the gospel is a waste of time, and your faith is empty or vain. Why? Because you still would be in your sins. You see, we all die because of Adam’s sin, but all of us may live because of Christ’s resurrection. When He rose from the grave, He defeated the death that came with man’s sin.
Not only that, but Paul and the apostles were telling everyone that they really had seen the resurrected Christ. If Christ had not been raised, then this would make them out to be liars. Surely this is not something the Corinthian Christians would want to say about these men of God.
Also, if you think you have to be alive to be raised at Christ’s coming, then what about all the people who have died as Christians? They have worshipped God, given money to the poor, and suffered because of their faith. And for what? Nothing! There is no point to being a Christian if you cannot look forward to eternal life with God in heaven.
The apostle Paul loved the brethren in Corinth, but some of them were wrong. As Christians, they needed to know how important it was to believe that God can raise the dead. He had to tell them this, because it could affect their faith, or the faith of others around them. We learn from this great chapter that Paul was “ready to give a defense,” even to people who claimed to be Christians already.
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