I Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
The City of Corinth was one of the most culturally mixed cities in the world. It was strategically located on a major shipping lane between Spain & Italy to the west, and Turkey to the east. Its location gave rise to a complex, multicultural populous.
The church at Corinth mirrored the population, and this complexity spilled over into the church’s belief system. It seems the church was plagued by division. It may seem odd to say, but this division has been a blessing to every Christian since that time, because it gave us the Apostle Paul's response to doctrinal error. We have both the example of how to deal with error, and his clear statement of vital truth.
If it doesn't matter what a church believes then 1st and 2nd Corinthians would have never been written. And I am not speaking of the doctrinal confession of a church, even though that is of great importance, but the belief system of the people. Paul wrote these letters to the people not just the ordained leadership. The notion that professed Christ followers can believe anything and everything without accountability is invalided here. Belief systems matter.
In the case dealt with in this chapter, various groups in the Corinthian membership contended for the false notions that there is no resurrection of the dead, or the resurrection of Christ had not happened yet. So we are blessed with the Christian answer on this issue. Paul responded by stating that the resurrection:
- is a vital part of the Gospel, I Corinthians 15:1-4
- was testified to by witnesses, I Corinthians 15:5-10
- was preached and professed at the founding of the Church in Corinth, I Corinthians 15:11, 12
- was a required belief, I Corinthians 15:12-19, 31-34
- is vital to every other Christian doctrine, I Corinthians 15:16-18, 20-28
- is the hope and glory of all Christians. I Corinthians 15:51-58
Based on this chapter we know that faithful Christ followers must believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I affirm this truth... I believe, without any reservation, that Jesus has risen from the dead, and He is alive in a physical body at this very moment.