1 Corinthians 15:22 says,
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
Nobody wants to die.
Yet everybody dies.
But the good news is that “in Christ” all will be made alive!
What does this mean?
What is Paul, the writer of 1 Corinthians, writing about when he says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive”?
Let’s take a look at the context.
Some in Corinth were believers in Christ, his death, and resurrection, but not believers in the resurrection of those who belonged to Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:12).
Paul writes to confront this false belief and to present evidence that just as Jesus rose from the dead, so will those who belong to him.
Not only does he write about our resurrection from the dead, but also he describes our resurrection bodies.
Furthermore, Paul writes about the consequences if there is no resurrection and about the benefits because there is a resurrection.
Let's take a look at the good news of the resurrection.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Paul gives evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, presenting eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection, of which he was one.
He then asks, “How can some of you say there is no resurrection?” (12)
His reasoning is that if those who belong to Jesus are not resurrected from the dead, then Jesus himself has not been resurrected (13), and if Jesus has not been resurrected, then Paul’s testimony about Jesus resurrecting from the dead is false (14-16).
Additionally, Paul states that if Jesus did not resurrect from the dead, then people’s faith is futile, they are still in their sins, they are lost, and they are to be pitied more than all people (17-19).
Paul also says that he faced death every day as he delivered the message that Jesus arose from the dead (31).
He reasoned that if Jesus had not risen from the dead, then why would he put himself in such life-threatening situations (30-32).
Then he quotes from Isaiah 22:13, when he says, “…if the dead are not raised, then ‘let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’ ” (32).
As Paul presented the hopelessness we experience if the dead are not raised, he also presented the hopefulness we experience because Jesus did rise from the dead (20-28).
Paul explains that Jesus was the “firstfruits” of all who will be resurrected from the dead.
Paul’s phrase he used for those who died in Christ was “fallen asleep.”
He used this phrase because he knew their deaths where only temporary, and they would one day be resurrected from the dead and be clothed in a new body, just as Jesus was resurrected and clothed in a new body.
Paul explains that death came through Adam, but the resurrection of the dead comes through Christ (see also Romans 5:12-21).
The sin of Adam brought death to all men, but the resurrection of Christ flows to and brings life to all who belong to him (22-23).
Paul writes, “For in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (22).
Let’s look at the verses following 1 Corinthians 15:22.
Paul writes that when Jesus returns, all who belong to him will be made physically alive and no one will ever die again because Jesus will put death under his feet (23-28).
Death will be swallowed up in the victorious return of Jesus and its sting will never be felt by anyone again (54-57).
When Christ returns, we will be clothed in our new resurrected bodies (23).
Paul contrasts our resurrected bodies with the current bodies we have now (35-54).
According to Paul’s description, our resurrected bodies are “imperishable” and "immortal" - meaning our new bodies will never age and never die (53)!
Yes, no one wants to die.
However, because of the resurrection of Christ, no one has to die eternally.
Yes, our physical bodies will die.
But for those who are in Christ, for those who belong to Jesus, for those whom the resurrection of Jesus flows and brings life to, we will receive a new resurrected body where we will live forever in God’s kingdom (24, 50).
For in Christ, all will be made alive!