The sixth principle is the resurrection of the dead. Paul’s thesis of the resurrection is found in 1 Corinthians 15. This is a critical chapter to understand because it relates to all aspects of the Gospel. For the purpose of this book, it is important to the subject of spiritual warfare. It lays out the Gospel that Paul preached, the Gospel that the Corinthians received, and the Gospel in which we stand. Standing is critical to the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged. We are not to run, hide, nor neglect: “Having done all to stand” (Ephesians 6:13b NKJV). Stand is the instruction. Standing includes being strong. That is our order which Paul, the apostle of the Lord, stated: “Stand therefore. . .” (Ephesians 6:14a NKJV).
Paul wrote that we are saved by the Gospel he preached if we hold fast to the Word he preached. If we do not hold fast to the Gospel, then our belief was in vain.
What did Paul preach? He preached that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day. The risen Christ was then seen by Peter, then by the twelve, and then by over five hundred people at once (many of those people were still alive at the time of Paul’s writing). After that the risen Christ was seen by James and then by all the apostles. Paul stated that last of all Christ was seen by Paul himself.
Even in Paul’s day, some said that there was no resurrection. Paul made the case that if there was no resurrection, then our faith is futile and we are still in our sins. Those that have fallen asleep (died) have perished.
The Good News is that Christ is risen and that He became the first of the new creation of the Spirit. In Adam all die, but in Christ all shall be made alive. Christ will be followed by those who belong to Him at His coming. Paul declared:
Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and all power. 1 Corinthians 15:24 NKJV
Paul gave us the order of God’s purpose by summing up everything in Christ. He quoted from Psalms 110:1 and Psalms 8:6 with his own explanation for clarity in the following:
For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:25–28 NKJV
Paul stated his own position in his understanding of the battle in which he found himself. We are in the same battle. However, many believers are not engaged because they do not know (or they do not understand) God’s purpose and plan in taking back the earth and all that is in it. Paul understood it and said, “I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31 NKJV). Those Corinthians were not perfect, but Paul boasted in them. For the cause of Christ and His whole church, Paul chose to die to his own self-interest for the sake of Christ and Christ’s body. That is standing, that is spiritual warfare, and that is what a soldier of the cross looks like!
Paul called believers to “Awake to righteousness and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:34a NKJV). We are in a battle for the souls of God’s creation: man. God’s will is for the whole church to be engaged in this battle against principalities and powers in the heavenly realm. It will take the corporate body of Christ to disciple nations and baptize them into Christ and His Kingdom reign as Matthew stated:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Matthew 28:18–20 NKJV
Paul continued to unfold the mysteries of God in 1 Corinthians 15 as he dealt with the natural man verses the spiritual man. As he wrapped up his teaching, he made this statement: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:50 NKJV). He continued with a mystery: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruption has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:51–55 NKJV).
Paul then ended with this exhortation: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV).