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1 Corinthians 15:1-58 - Homilies By J.r. Thomson

The exposition and defence of the resurrection.

This chapter stands, as it were, by itself in the Epistle, and indeed in the Scripture. The Gospels relate the fact of our Saviour's rising from the dead; but St. Paul in this passage, remarkable alike for closeness of reasoning, for fervent of eloquence, and for elevation of spiritual treatment, writes as the theologian of the resurrection. In opposition to false teachers who had arisen in the Corinthian Church, the apostle maintains the fact of Christ's resurrection to be the basis of Christian faith, practice, and hope; and especially deduces from the historical event the expectation of a glorious immortality, then and ever the possession of the Church, and destined to be the possession of humanity.

I. THE FACT OF CHRIST 'S RESURRECTION IS PROVED AND PREACHED . ( 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 .) This is here exhibited as:

1. The substance of Christian preaching.

2. The fulfilment of Old Testament predictions.

3. Verified by the witness of the apostles and of five hundred brethren.

4. Attested by Paul himself.

5. Believed and professed by the whole Church of the Redeemer.

II. INFERENCES FROM THIS FACT . ( 1 Corinthians 15:12-28 .)

1. Destructive inferences. ( 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 .) The resurrection of Jesus is represented as conflicting with and altogether overthrowing the belief inculcated by false teachers, that the dead rise not.

2. Constructive inferences. ( 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 .) The Lord Christ, as a risen Saviour and King, is represented as the Firstfruits of the spiritual harvest, and as the supreme Governor and Controller of the universe.


1. Christian practice, and especially the endurance of opposition, persecution, and martyrdom, can only be accounted for by the power of a belief in worlds to come. Nothing is more evident than that the apostle himself, and many of the early Christians, came under the influence of this new and mighty power, making of them nothing short of new men.

2. Natural analogies support the doctrine of the resurrection. Especially the analogy of the seed sown from which vegetable life takes its rise, and to which the harvest of fruit is traceable. The manifest order subsisting in nature, and the progressive revelation of God himself, are in harmony with the Christian's hope.

IV. THE GLORIOUS PROSPECTS OF CHRIST 'S PEOPLE . ( 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 .)

1. The mystery told. The inheritance of incorruptible and immortal blessedness.

2. The triumph foretold. Man's worst foes, sin and death, shall be vanquished, and that by the might of the Divine Conqueror, Christ.

V. CONSEQUENT EXHORTATION TO STEADFASTNESS . ( 1 Corinthians 15:58 .) Against apathy on the one hand, and enthusiasm on the other hand, Christians are warned. Labour is not in vain, for its fruits shall be reaped in eternity. Steadfastness and diligence are the appropriate attitude and habit of those who, believing that their Lord has risen, themselves look forward to the Divine, immortal life of heaven.—T.

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