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Christ Was Raised to Life

15 My friends, I want you to remember the message that I preached and that you believed and trusted. You will be saved by this message, if you hold firmly to it. But if you don’t, your faith was all for nothing.

I told you the most important part of the message exactly as it was told to me. That part is:

Christ died for our sins,
    as the Scriptures say.
He was buried,
    and three days later
he was raised to life,
    as the Scriptures say.
Christ appeared to Peter,[a]
    then to the twelve.
After this, he appeared
to more than five hundred
    other followers.
Most of them are still alive,
    but some have died.
He also appeared to James,
and then to all
    of the apostles.

Finally, he appeared to me, even though I am like someone who was born at the wrong time.[b]

I am the least important of all the apostles. In fact, I caused so much trouble for God’s church that I don’t even deserve to be called an apostle. 10 But God was kind! He made me what I am, and his wonderful kindness wasn’t wasted. I worked much harder than any of the other apostles, although it was really God’s kindness at work and not me. 11 But it doesn’t matter if I preached or if they preached. All of you believed the message just the same.

God’s People Will Be Raised to Life

12 If we preach that Christ was raised from death, how can some of you say that the dead will not be raised to life? 13 If they won’t be raised to life, Christ himself wasn’t raised to life. 14 And if Christ wasn’t raised to life, our message is worthless, and so is your faith. 15 If the dead won’t be raised to life, we have told lies about God by saying that he raised Christ to life, when he really did not.

16 So if the dead won’t be raised to life, Christ wasn’t raised to life. 17 Unless Christ was raised to life, your faith is useless, and you are still living in your sins. 18 And those people who died after putting their faith in him are completely lost. 19 If our hope in Christ is good only for this life, we are worse off than anyone else.

20 But Christ has been raised to life! And he makes us certain that others will also be raised to life. 21 Just as we will die because of Adam, we will be raised to life because of Christ. 22 Adam brought death to all of us, and Christ will bring life to all of us. 23 But we must each wait our turn. Christ was the first to be raised to life, and his people will be raised to life when he returns. 24 Then after Christ has destroyed all powers and forces, the end will come, and he will give the kingdom to God the Father.

25 Christ will rule until he puts all his enemies under his power, 26 and the last enemy he destroys will be death. 27 When the Scriptures say that he will put everything under his power, they don’t include God. It was God who put everything under the power of Christ. 28 After everything is under the power of God’s Son, he will put himself under the power of God, who put everything under his Son’s power. Then God will mean everything to everyone.

29 If the dead are not going to be raised to life, what will people do who are being baptized for them? Why are they being baptized for those dead people? 30 And why do we always risk our lives 31 and face death every day? The pride that I have in you because of Christ Jesus our Lord is what makes me say this. 32 What do you think I gained by fighting wild animals in Ephesus? If the dead are not raised to life,

“Let’s eat and drink.
    Tomorrow we die.”

33 Don’t fool yourselves. Bad friends will destroy you. 34 Be sensible and stop sinning. You should be embarrassed that some people still don’t know about God.

What Our Bodies Will Be Like

35 Some of you have asked, “How will the dead be raised to life? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 Don’t be foolish. A seed must die before it can sprout from the ground. 37 Wheat seeds and all other seeds look different from the sprouts that come up. 38 This is because God gives everything the kind of body he wants it to have. 39 People, animals, birds, and fish are each made of flesh, but none of them are alike. 40 Everything in the heavens has a body, and so does everything on earth. But each one is very different from all the others. 41 The sun isn’t like the moon, the moon isn’t like the stars, and each star is different.

42 That’s how it will be when our bodies are raised to life. These bodies will die, but the bodies that are raised will live forever. 43 These ugly and weak bodies will become beautiful and strong. 44 As surely as there are physical bodies, there are spiritual bodies. And our physical bodies will be changed into spiritual bodies.

45 The first man was named Adam, and the Scriptures tell us that he was a living person. But Jesus, who may be called the last Adam, is a life-giving spirit. 46 We see that the one with a spiritual body did not come first. He came after the one who had a physical body. 47 The first man was made from the dust of the earth, but the second man came from heaven. 48 Everyone on earth has a body like the body of the one who was made from the dust of the earth. And everyone in heaven has a body like the body of the one who came from heaven. 49 Just as we are like the one who was made out of earth, we will be like the one who came from heaven.

50 My friends, I want you to know that our bodies of flesh and blood will decay. This means that they cannot share in God’s kingdom, which lasts forever. 51 I will explain a mystery to you. Not every one of us will die, but we will all be changed. 52 It will happen suddenly, quicker than the blink of an eye. At the sound of the last trumpet the dead will be raised. We will all be changed, so that we will never die again. 53 Our dead and decaying bodies will be changed into bodies that won’t die or decay. 54 The bodies we now have are weak and can die. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal. Then the Scriptures will come true,

“Death has lost the battle!
55 Where is its victory?
    Where is its sting?”

56 Sin is what gives death its sting, and the Law is the power behind sin. 57 But thank God for letting our Lord Jesus Christ give us the victory!

58 My dear friends, stand firm and don’t be shaken. Always keep busy working for the Lord. You know that everything you do for him is worthwhile.

A Collection for God’s People

16 When you collect money for God’s people, I want you to do exactly what I told the churches in Galatia to do. That is, each Sunday each of you must put aside part of what you have earned. If you do this, you won’t have to take up a collection when I come. Choose some followers to take the money to Jerusalem. I will send them on with the money and with letters which show that you approve of them. If you think I should go along, they can go with me.

Paul’s Travel Plans

After I have gone through Macedonia, I hope to see you and visit with you for a while. I may even stay all winter, so that you can help me on my way to wherever I will be going next. If the Lord lets me, I would rather come later for a longer visit than to stop off now for only a short visit. I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, because there is a wonderful opportunity for me to do some work here. But there are also many people who are against me.

10 When Timothy arrives, give him a friendly welcome. He is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. 11 Don’t let anyone mistreat him. I am looking for him to return to me together with the other followers. So when he leaves, send him off with your blessings.

12 I have tried hard to get our friend Apollos to visit you with the other followers. He doesn’t want to come just now, but he will come when he can.

Personal Concerns and Greetings

13 Keep alert. Be firm in your faith. Stay brave and strong. 14 Show love in everything you do.

15 You know that Stephanas and his family were the first in Achaia to have faith in the Lord. They have done all they can for God’s people. My friends, I ask you 16 to obey leaders like them and to do the same for all others who work hard with you.

17 I was glad to see Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus. Having them here was like having you. 18 They made me feel much better, just as they made you feel better. You should appreciate people like them.

19 Greetings from the churches in Asia.

Aquila and Priscilla, together with the church that meets in their house, send greetings in the name of the Lord.

20 All of the Lord’s followers send their greetings.

Give each other a warm greeting.

21 I am signing this letter myself: PAUL.

22 I pray that God will put a curse on everyone who doesn’t love the Lord. And may the Lord come soon.

23 I pray that the Lord Jesus will be kind to you.

24 I love everyone who belongs to Christ Jesus.

Footnotes

  1. 15.5 Peter: See the note at 1.12.
  2. 15.8 who was born at the wrong time: The meaning of these words in Greek is not clear.

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