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First Corinthians 15, along with the rest of the Bible, is saying that when Jesus returns, our bodies will be resurrected and reunited with our souls. This is what we read last week in 1 Corinthians 15:22–23:
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
So follow this. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and His resurrection was the firstfruits, the foretaste, of resurrection from the dead to come for those who belong to Christ. When Jesus returns, those who belong to Christ shall be made alive. That’s not talking about the resurrection of our souls; that’s talking about the resurrection of our bodies. That’s the whole point here.
There were Christians in Corinth who were thinking that only the soul was immortal. But the Bible is saying here, “That wasn’t the case with Christ; His body is risen.” And it’s not the case with Christians; their bodies will be risen.
The Bible is teaching here that most followers of Jesus will die. I emphasize “most” because Jesus is going to come back one day and some of his people will still be alive on that day. It’s what we just read in 1 Corinthians 15:51–52:
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, [we’ll not all die] but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to be among those living when Jesus comes back, to hear that trumpet and see that site? May it be so. May it happen today. May we walk out of this room after singing in worship and hearing God’s Word, and the trumpet sounds. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!
So, most followers of Jesus will die, but not all. Regardless, all followers of Jesus will be resurrected. When Jesus returns, all followers of Jesus will receive a resurrected body. This is the same thing the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17:
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
If you put this together with 1 Corinthians 15, you realize that those who are alive when Jesus returns will be physically transformed in their bodies, while those who are dead when Jesus returns will be physically reunited with their bodies. The Bible is teaching here that just as Jesus’ body was raised from the dead, so our bodies will be raised from the dead.
–This excerpt is taken from David Platt’s sermon titled “How Do You Press On In Difficult Days?” (Part 2).