But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20)
Today’s big question: what does Christ's Resurrection mean for us?
Over the past several devotionals, we have considered what would it would mean if Jesus had not risen from the dead. Without the Resurrection, Christians would be hopeless and still in our sins! As Paul wrote, “if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
But the glorious truth is Christ did not remain in the grave, which Paul made clear in today’s verse. Jesus could not be held by death. On Pentecost, Peter proclaimed in the Spirit that “God raised [Jesus] up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Acts 2:24; emphasis added). He is risen, praise the Lord!
Since Christ did rise from the dead, He is the “firstfruits” of those who will be resurrected. Paul went on to describe this concept in greater detail in the following verses:
For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15:21–23)
Just as the first man Adam sinned and brought the curse of death on mankind, so also the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, was the first Man to be resurrected from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:45). We should distinguish between Christ’s “Resurrection” in a body that would never die and “resuscitations” from the dead of people (Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, etc.) who would eventually die again. And just as Christ was raised, so also we will be raised after we die.
By the word of Christ, everyone who has died will be raised—not only those who believe in Him, but also those who do not. Everyone will have to give an account to the Creator. However, there is a major difference: believers will be raised to a glorious, eternal life with the Savior, but unbelievers will be raised to everlasting judgment (John 5:25–29).
What a wonderful hope we have of eternal life—not just physically, but also spiritually! In Christ we are set free from the power of sin and death because He has conquered the grave and satisfied the wrath of God. In light of this amazing truth, we ought to live every day no longer for ourselves but for the glory of our risen Redeemer.
Today’s big idea: because Christ is risen, believers can have confidence that God will also raise us at His coming.
What to pray: praise God for resurrecting Jesus Christ from the dead and giving you a sure hope of your resurrecting to eternal life with God!