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Showing posts from January, 2018

First Adam – Last Adam

1 Corinthians 15:44b-49
44bIf there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
I have often wondered what Paul would write to the modern Church. But those ponderings are brought up short by the realization that we have everything we need to know in the words already written. But – I still wonder. In the passage for today we find Paul continuing to address the wrong-thinking that was happening in the Corinthians church. Paul may have been addressing a tendency in Jewish or earl…

From Seed to Glorious Resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:35-44a
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44a It is s…

Comfortable Now or Future Hope

1 Corinthians 15:30-34
30Why are we in danger every hour? 31I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

After our weird verse about being baptized in the name of those already dead, the strangeness just continues for me. But ultimately, Paul is continuing the same discussion about the importance of recognizing Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection is the forerunner of our own and thus incredibly important.

Paul takes a negative approach at first, as he describes the utter futility of lives lived for Jesus that will not result in resurrection. He’s right. If there is no resurrection for us …

Our Righteous Shield

Psalm 119:113-120 — Samekh
113 I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.
115 Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117 Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!
118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.

With this stanza of Psalm 119, the tone turns rather harsh. He is still very positive about the Lord and his love for God’s law. But his tone toward “evildoers” is dramatically dark. If you look at the letter, you will see that its shape is similar to that of a shield. Then read verse 114 and I believe you will agree, that is not an accident.

The root of …

It’s a Weird Verse

1 Corinthians 15:29
Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

The temptation to skip over this verse is great. I honestly considered putting it into a larger passage and forgetting that it’s there. But that doesn’t seem fair and so, instead of trying to make sense of this myself, I’m drawing a lengthy passage from Lockwood’s commentary on 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 15:29 is one of the most obscure passages in the NT. The phrase “those … who are being baptized on behalf of the dead” seems to imply a kind of baptism otherwise unknown in the history of Christianity. The dozens of suggestions advanced to explain this apparently eccentric practice may be summarized in six categories.

1.Most scholars think Paul is speaking of a vicarious form of baptism in which living Christians were baptized on behalf of persons who had already died [a ritual practiced by the Mormons today]. If this maj…

Not Going to be My Experience

1 Corinthians 15:20-28
20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

When I was going through confir…

Without the Resurrection We’re Lost

1 Corinthians 15:11-19
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of 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 in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Having described his own conversion as being one who was abnormally born (in the faith), Paul now takes on the implication for all believers if Christ had not been resurrected from death. I be…

The Importance of the Resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:1-11
1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved if you hold fast to the word I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than an…

A Lamp to My Feet

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As Women of God, Where Do We Stand?