WE will now finish Paul’s wonderful resurrection chapter.
1 Corinthians 15:35–58
35–38 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? (The insinuation is, that a dead body decays and cannot be raised again. Paul has little patience with the sceptical question, and cries,) Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his (or rather its) own body. (You cannot tell from looking at a seed what the plant is to be, neither can we determine from our present bodies what their future form will be. How lovely is the flower compared with the shrivelled grain! How fair will our bodies be in comparison with these trembling frames!)
39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. (As all these things differ from each other, so will the resurrection body differ from that in which we now live. It will be the same body as to identity, yet will it differ in many important points.)
42, 43 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body (or a soulish body, animated by the animal life); it is raised a spiritual body (fit for the immortal spirit which will quicken it). There is a natural (or soulish) body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural (or for the soul); and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48, 49 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (Blessed assurance!)
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51, 52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. (Those who are alive when Jesus comes must undergo a transformation ere they can enter heaven.)
53–55 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 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.
The saints who now in Jesus sleep,
His own almighty power shall keep,
Till dawns the bright illustrious day,
When death itself shall die away.
How loud shall our glad voices sing,
When Christ his risen saints shall bring
From beds of dust and silent clay,
To realms of everlasting day!
C. H. Spurgeon, The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964), 623.