12 Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that [a] some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain [useless, amounting to nothing], and your faith is also vain [imaginary, unfounded, devoid of value and benefit—not based on truth]. 15 We are even discovered to be false witnesses [misrepresenting] God, because we testified concerning Him that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised, either; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and powerless [mere delusion]; you are still in your sins [and under the control and penalty of sin]. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hoped only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied.
The Order of Resurrection
20 But now [as things really are] Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, [and He became] the first fruits [that is, the first to be resurrected with an incorruptible, immortal body, foreshadowing the resurrection] of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. 21 For since [it was] by a man that death came [into the world], it is also by a Man that the resurrection of the dead has come.
22 For just as [b] in Adam all die, so also [c] in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s [own will be resurrected with incorruptible, immortal bodies] at His coming.
24 After that comes the end (completion), when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after He has made inoperative and abolished every ruler and every authority and power. 25 For Christ must reign [as King] until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished and put to an end is death.
27 For He (the Father) has put all things in subjection under His (Christ’s) feet. But when He says, “All things have been put in subjection [under Christ],” it is clear that He (the Father) who put all things in subjection to Him (Christ) is excepted [since the Father is not in subjection to His own Son]. 28 However, when all things are subjected to Him (Christ), then the Son Himself will also be subjected to the One (the Father) who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all [manifesting His glory without any opposition, the supreme indwelling and controlling factor of life].
29 Otherwise, what will those do who are being [d]baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people even baptized for them? 30 [For that matter] why are we [running such risks and putting ourselves] [e] in danger [nearly] every hour [if there is no resurrection]? 31 I assure you, believers, by the pride which I have in you in [your union with] Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily [I face death and die to self]. 32 What good has it done me if, [merely] from a human point of view, I [f]fought with wild animals at Ephesus?
If the dead are not raised [at all], let us eat and drink [enjoying ourselves now], for tomorrow we die. 33 Do not be deceived: [g]“Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34 Be sober-minded [be sensible, wake up from your spiritual stupor] as you ought, and stop sinning; for some [of you] have no knowledge of God [you are disgracefully ignorant of Him, and ignore His truths]. I say this to your shame.
35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body will they come?”
36 You fool! Every time you plant seed you sow something that does not come to life [germinating, springing up and growing] unless it first dies. 37 The seed you sow is not the body (the plant) which it is going to become, but it is a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body just as He planned, and to each kind of seed a body of its own [is given].
39 All flesh is not the same. There is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies [sun, moon and stars] and earthly bodies [humans, animals, and plants], but the glory and beauty of the heavenly is one kind, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41 There is a glory and beauty of the sun, another glory of the moon, and yet another [distinctive] glory of the stars; and one star differs from another in glory and brilliance.
42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The [human] body that is sown is perishable and mortal, it is raised imperishable and immortal. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in strength; 44 it is sown a natural body [mortal, suited to earth], it is raised a spiritual body [immortal, suited to heaven].
As surely as there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written [in Scripture], “The first man, Adam, became a living soul (an individual);” the last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving spirit [restoring the dead to life]. 46 However, the spiritual [the immortal life] is not first, but the physical [the mortal life]; then the spiritual.
47 The first man [Adam] is from the earth, earthy [made of dust]; the second Man [Christ, the Lord] is from heaven. 48 As is the earthly man [the man of dust], so are those who are of earth; and as is the heavenly [Man], so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthly [the man of dust], [h]we will also bear the image of the heavenly [the Man of heaven].
The Mystery of Resurrection
50 Now I say this, believers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit nor be part of the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (mortal) inherit the imperishable (immortal).
51 Listen very carefully, I tell you a mystery [a secret truth decreed by God and previously hidden, but now revealed]; we will not all sleep [in death], but we will all be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed], 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at [the sound of] the last trumpet call.
For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [who believed in Christ] will be raised imperishable, and we will be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed]. 53 For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us that is capable of dying] must put on immortality [which is freedom from death].
54 And when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says,
“Death is swallowed up in victory (vanquished forever).
55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].
About Death and Dying… a series