Corinthians 15 10

Spiegel | 10 Lessons from Great Christian Minds

•May 21, 2009 •

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From philosophy professor James Spiegel:

  1. Augustine (5th century): Remember that you are a citizen of another kingdom.
  2. Martin Luther (16th century): Expect politicians to be corrupt.
  3. Thomas Aquinas (13th century): God has made himself known in nature.
  4. John Calvin (16th century): God is sovereign over all, including our suffering.
  5. Jonathan Edwards (18th century): God is beautiful, and all beauty is divine.
  6. Thomas a’Kempis (15th century): Practice self-denial with a passion.
  7. John Wesley (18th century): Be disciplined and make the best use of your time.
  8. Fyodor Dostoevsky (19th century): God’s grace can reach anyone.
  9. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (20th century): Beware of cheap grace.
  10. Alvin Plantinga (21st century): Moral virtue is crucial for intellectual health.

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The Resurrection of Christ

15 Now I would remind you, brothers,1 of the gospel gI preached to you, which you received, hin which you stand, 2 and by which iyou are being saved, if you jhold fast to the word I preached to you—kunless you believed in vain.

3 For lI delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died mfor our sins nin accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised oon the third day pin accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that qhe appeared to Cephas, then rto the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to sJames, then tto all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, uhe appeared also to me. 9 For vI am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because wI persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, xI worked harder than any of them, ythough it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, zhow can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, athen not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that bhe raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and cyou are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who dhave fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope2 in this life only, ewe are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact fChrist has been raised from the dead, gthe firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as hby a man came death, iby a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For jas in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then kat his coming lthose who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers mthe kingdom to God the Father after destroying nevery rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign ountil he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be pdestroyed is death. 27 For q“God3 has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When rall things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that sGod may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we tin danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by umy pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, vI die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, wI fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, x“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 yDo not be deceived: z“Bad company ruins good morals.”4 34 aWake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For bsome have no knowledge of God. cI say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will ask, d“How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! eWhat you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 fSo is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; git is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, h“The first man Adam became a living being”;5 ithe last Adam became a jlife-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 kThe first man was from the earth, la man of dust; mthe second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, nso also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just oas we have borne the image of the man of dust, pwe shall6 also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Mystery and Victory

50 I tell you this, brothers: qflesh and blood rcannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. sWe shall not all sleep, tbut we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For uthe trumpet will sound, and vthe dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and wthis mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

x“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55  y“O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and zthe power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, awho gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 bTherefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in cthe work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord dyour labor is not in vain.

Christians are not suppose to be boastful (1 Cor. 13:4; Prov. 27:2), but wasn’t Paul? (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 11:16-17)

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

2 Corinthians 11:16-17 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool.

The Bible does not hide the fact that saints sin. All of have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Noah drank too much, Jacob was a deceiver, David committed adultery and murder, and Peter denied Christ. Saints are sinners too. However, in these texts is Paul really sinning? Or is he making a unique point?

Look how the words of Paul are qualified. He says, “In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool” (2 Cor. 11:17). He calls himself the least of the Apostles (1 Cor. 15:9) and states that though in his opinion he worked harder than they all (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 11:23), it was God’s grace working in him (1 Cor. 15:10). In 2 Corinthians 12:11, though Paul says he is not less than one of the super-apostles, he calls himself a “fool” and “nothing”. So, his boasts need to be understood within the context of his words, “by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect” (1 Cor. 15:10). Paul’s words are actually clothed with humility.

Paul’s motive in these texts is not self-applause. He was not glorying in his flesh in a sinful way. Rather, he was praising God for taking such a sinner as he – one that had even persecuted the church (1 Cor. 15:9) – and using “such” to further the Kingdom of God. In other words, God reached into the bottom of the barrel and took out the worst mess he could find, cleaned it up, and still used it. To put this in more theological terms, the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible states concerning 1 Corinthians 15:10 that Paul’s point was, “where sin abounds, God’s effectual grace abounds all the more (Rom. 5:20); where we are weak, God’s grace is strong (2 Cor. 12:9, 10).” Divine grace did not make Paul lazy; it caused him to labor “more abundantly” than anyone else.

In 2 Corinthians 11:22-12:10 (known as the “Fool’s Speech”), Paul describes his ministry in terms that could not possibly be equaled by the false apostles. Yet, he does not boast about his own knowledge, speaking skills, or other abilities, rather about how much he has suffered for the sake of Christ. Here Paul’s boasting is ironic; he boasts of things normally considered shameful, signs of weakness, or defeat. Thus, his boasts are an imitation or parody of the boasting of his opponents, who praised themselves to the Corinthians in extravagant speeches.

If he used such a sinner as Paul – the chief of all sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) – can’t he use us as well? While our sins are nothing to brag about, God’s abounding grace is! When I read of Paul’s life and how it was transformed, I realize he does this with all his children. Where we may not have a reputation like Paul, or we will not write Scripture, or we may not have revelation upon revelation as Paul did, we will by God’s grace and in our own weak and yet unique way be used for God’s glory as he sees fit. His grace is amazing:

Amazing Grace
by John Newton

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.

And Grace, my fears relieved.

How precious did that Grace appear

The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

I have already come;

’Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far

and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.

His word my hope secures.

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun.

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see

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