“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)
One of the problems in the Corinthian Church which Paul needed to address was the erroneous teaching that there was no bodily resurrection from the dead. The result was that some thought they were already in their glorified state. They considered that their physical bodies were expendable and useless because they thought Resurrection was spiritual not physical. Thus the body was considered unimportant. The problem was that this belief meant they could indulge their sinful fleshly cravings.
Paul had to remind them of their common belief in the resurrection of Christ. He was not trying to prove to them that Christ rose from the dead. He was demonstrating to them the foolishness of their belief. If they denied the resurrection of the body they were denying Christ’s resurrection as well. And since His resurrection is the proof that Christ died for our sins, to deny that means that we are still spiritually dead.
The belief in the literal bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead is a central truth of our faith. It is one which we affirm in our liturgy as we recite the creeds. We deny this truth to our peril. Christ’s bodily resurrection is the ultimate proof that He defeated sin and death on the cross. In these days of violence and turmoil, the Resurrection of Jesus gives us great cause for rejoicing. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead means that our sins have been forgiven. Jesus’ resurrection is proof that we too will rise from the dead. It means that we need not fear death for it is not the end. We need not worry about what is on the other side. We need not fear God’s wrath or His judgment. We can rejoice that because of His mercy, we are not going to spend eternity in torment, separated from God. We know we will enjoy eternity in heaven in the presence of the Lord and in the company of our fellow Saints. So we have much to look forward to despite our current afflictions.