- 1 Corinthians 15:51-58
- 1 Cor 15:51 (KJV)
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall
all be changed,
Now the Apostle Paul is about to reveal a mystery to the Corinthians.
Probably many Christians in Corinth were wondering if they had to die first
before they were changed. Paul now explains that there is going to come a
time when many Christians will be alive when the Lord returns and these
Christians will be changed into their spiritual bodies without having to
face physical death. Since the Lord will be returning in contemporary times,
we can know for a fact that there will be billions alive when He returns.
1 Cor 15:52 (KJV)
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we
shall be changed.
Paul now gives the time frame in which the change will take place. Many
years ago General Electric did an experiment concerning how long the
twinkling of an eye was. The length of time was 11/100 of a second. All of
this will take place on the last day of Earth’s present age. The last trump
signifies the last day and that without any golden age following, last is
last. At that time, all the dead will be raised, and some will go to eternal
damnation but the believers will be raised incorruptible in their glorified
spiritual bodies. Those Christians that are alive at the return of Christ
will be changed into their glorified spiritual bodies and will enter into
the New Heaven and the New Earth.
1 Cor 15:53 (KJV)
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must
put on immortality.
Paul is now reaffirming that before any entrance into Heaven is made, there
must be that transformation from the earthly to the Heavenly. The natural
body cannot enter into the Kingdom of God but only the spiritual body will
be able to live in the New Heaven and earth. For no corruption or sin can
ever enter into God’s Kingdom and must be wiped out and that is why the new
spiritual body is necessary.
1 Cor 15:54 (KJV)
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this
mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the
saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
On that great day when mortality and corruption will be no more, then we
will understand more fully the fact that death has been swallowed up in
victory. (1 Cor 15:26 KJV) The last
enemy that shall be destroyed is death. Death will
be destroyed on the last day which means no Christian will ever have to face
that again and it will never again hang over us as it does in this life.
(Isa 25:8 KJV) He will swallow up death
in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and
the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the
LORD hath spoken it.
1 Cor 15:55 (KJV)
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
(Hosea 13:14 KJV) I will ransom them
from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will
be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid
from mine eyes. The Apostle Paul and Hosea had
much in common when they both wrote jubilantly about the abolition of death.
The sting of death has disappeared because of the resurrection of Christ and
the future resurrection of His followers. The grave may have a temporary
victory on this side because it holds the people we love and it stops many
ministries from continuing but in the light of the resurrection, where does
the grave hold any victory? The grave had no power over Christ and it will
have no power over the Believers.
- 1 Cor 15:56 (KJV)
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
Sin is the cause of death and as long as there is but one sin in this world,
there will be death. Sin is strengthened by the law, not to mean that the
law is sinful, but the law being the guideline for man shows how incapable
man is in keeping the law of God. Man breaks every law God has written
multiple times. This gives sin a strength and a hold in the life of a person
but when that person becomes saved, Christ has fulfilled the law and now
gives that child of God the strength through the power of the Holy Spirit to
resist sin and the wiles of the devil. No longer is sin strengthened in the
life of a believer, rather the grace of God now saturates the believer into
a life of sanctification.
1 Cor 15:57 (KJV)
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord
Victory comes in only one way and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. If
a person thinks they can become saved by keeping the law, they are only
strengthening sin in their life. Paul finalizes this section by thanking God
that He gives us the victory over sin and death only through the Lord Jesus
Christ. The word “victory” in the Greek carries with it the idea of
conquest. Christ has conquered sin and death, and has made us victors there
also. (Rom 8:37 KJV) Nay, in all these
things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
- 1 Cor 15:58 (KJV)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is
not in vain in the Lord.
Knowing everything that Paul has taught us concerning the resurrection we
now look at this very popular verse as an encouragement to all Christians to
continue to abide in the work of the Lord, even when things look bleak and
dangerous. No longer does the threat of death cause us to fear to the point
we stop the work. Normally, when things look bleak that is normally when a
great blessing ready to manifest itself. This verse is a fitting appendage
to this entire chapter which mainly focuses on the return of the Lord Jesus
on the last day and how we will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye
into our bodies which will be fit for the Kingdom of God. However, until
that day, God is giving us encouragement that we are to engage ourselves in
three primary requirements for doing the work of the Lord. Even though God
gives us great promises of what is to come, He doesn’t want us to sit on a
mountain top somewhere and just wait. God wants us to be working till the
Kingdom is filled with His Elect.
First of all, we are to remain steadfast in the faith. The word “steadfast”
means “to sit firm.” This reveals two aspects of the Gospel. First, we are
to sit (not literally) which means we are resting or having full assurance
in the Gospel which results in the fact that we are sitting firm and stable
on that Gospel. This means that no matter what teaching is thrown at us, we
can rebuke the false teaching and it will not hurt us. Remember in Mark when
the Lord said, “we would drink any deadly thing it would not hurt us.” If we
are sitting firmly on the true Gospel, no false teaching will ever harm us
nor affect our salvation.
Next God tells us to be “unmovable.” This means that we are to remain on the
Rock of Christ and never come off that rock to investigate false teachings
or other religions. When Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall, Satan’s people
tried to get him to come down. He was unmovable from the task at hand. This
is what God wants us to be. He does not want us to drop the work of the Lord
for every worldly thing which comes along. The world will divert the
Christian every which way it can but if we remain unmovable, it cannot budge
us until the task is complete. We are also to remain unmovable when it comes
to our beliefs. There are many teachings in this world which will try to get
our eyes off the Scriptures. This is where we must remain unmovable for if
we abandon our divine connection to the Scriptures, then we will fail in our
Then we are told to always be “abounding in the work of the Lord.” The word
“abounding” carries with it the meaning of “be over and above” and
“overflowing.” If we remain steadfast and unmovable, then we will be
overflowing in our work for the Lord. Our work in the Gospel always suffers
whenever we abandon the principles of unwavering dedication. This is why
many church leaders fall because they have allowed Satan to chip away at
their dedication. That holds true for every Christian. Whenever we allow
Satan’s people to throw us off track, we derail, and that flows down to the
people we know and can hurt them also. No Christian falls alone, there is
always effect on other people, especially younger Christians. This is why
God is giving us these principles in this verse. If we sit on a mountain top
somewhere and neglect our duties, we will never remain steadfast in the
faith. Our guard will be down. Then our labor in the Lord may be vain
because it is mixed with the world. Our labor for the Lord must always be
ordered according to biblical principles and only then will we abound.