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1Corinthians  ◦   Chapter 15

1Now, my brothers and sisters, let me remind you of the good news about God that I taught you, which you embraced and to which you have committed your lives.2It is by the Remedy procured by Jesus that you have been healed–so long as you remain connected to Christ, holding firmly to the truth about God that I preached to you. For if you let go of this truth, you will relapse into selfishness and fear.

3The Remedy to selfishness–that I received and passed on to you as the single most important truth to share–is that Christ died in order to cure our selfish hearts and minds, just as the Scripture foretold.4He died and was buried, but because — by his death — he destroyed the infection of selfishness and restored perfectly God's law of love within his humanity, he rose again on the third day in a perfected humanity, according to the Scriptures.5Then he physically appeared to Peter, and then to the other twelve ambassadors.6After that, he physically appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive and can confirm this fact, though some have fallen asleep and rest in Christ.7Then he physically appeared to James, then to all the ambassadors,8and last of all, he physically appeared and spoke to me–a man who, like a premature baby, needed extra care and attention.

9For I am the least deserving of all Christ's ambassadors and not even worthy to be called an ambassador of Christ because I attacked and persecuted God's people.10But because God is so gracious, I am his representative, and his work in and for me has positively transformed me. I have worked harder than all of the other ambassadors–or rather God's grace had much more work of healing, restoring and re-educating of me to do.11So regardless of whether it was one of God's other ambassadors or it was I, the truth about God as revealed by Jesus is what we preach and what you have believed.

12Since we preach that Christ has risen from the dead, how is it that some of you are saying that the dead will never live again?13If it is impossible for the dead to come back to life, then not even Christ has risen from the dead.14And if Christ is still dead, then our preaching is worthless and so is all in what you have believed.15Even worse! We would be charlatans, conmen, and liars who misrepresent God, for we have testified that God raised Christ from the dead. But if in fact the dead are not raised to life, then he did not raise Christ.16So then, if the dead do not live again, Christ does not live either.17And if Christ does not live, then everything you have believed is pointless because you are still terminal, dying in selfishness without hope,18and those who have fallen asleep trusting in Christ are eternally lost.19If our hope in Christ is only for this earthly life, we are more pitiful than all, for we would have lived a hopeless lie.

20But Christ has risen from the dead as the living Remedy for those who have fallen asleep.21For since our terminal condition and subsequent death came through a human being, the Remedy to death and our terminal condition must also come through a human being.22We are all terminal and will die because of the infection of selfishness passed down from Adam, but all who unite with Christ will be cured and made alive!23But each in their proper time: Christ, the Remedy–first; then, when he returns, all those who have opened their hearts in trust to him will rise again.24Then the end of the earth as we know it will happen: Having destroyed all earthly and selfish dominance, authority and power, he will hand over the kingdom to God the Father.25For Christ's healing reign must continue until he has destroyed completely the infection of sin and selfishness, and all enemies of love are eradicated.26The last enemy to be destroyed is death,27for God has put everything under Christ's authority. Of course, when we say everything has been made subordinate to him, it obviously doesn't include God himself, who put everything under Christ's healing power.28When he has completed his mission — eradicating sin from God’s universe, healing all those who let him, destroying death, and restoring God’s creation back to its original design — then the Son himself will resume his place as God’s humble envoy to creation so that God will be utterly supreme and all will be fully reunited with him.

29Think of it another way: If there is no resurrection from the dead, why do some people get immersed in water for those who have already died? Isn't it that they expect to see them alive again?30And what about us? Why do we put ourselves in danger constantly?31It is because we glory in bringing the Remedy of Christ to people like you, so each day I accept the inevitability of my earthly death, knowing there will be a resurrection, and I don't let fear of death stop me from promoting Christ.32If my battles with wild beasts in Ephesus were merely for human reasons, what is the point? If the dead are not raised, then we are wasting our time and we might as well eat, drink, and party like the rest of the world, for tomorrow we die.

33But don't be deceived by what the world promotes! The reality is that unhealthy friends and associates corrupt good character.34Be sensible, do what's right and healthy because it is right and healthy, and stop acting like there is no life after this one; for there are still some among you who don't know God, and their fear of death, and living for self, is infecting your thinking. I say this to wake you up to what is happening.

35But some people, who doubt God's healing power and want to undermine your confidence in the resurrection, may ask, "How are the dead raised? What is the mechanism? What kind of body will they have?"36Such questions show their foolishness! What is planted in the ground doesn't sprout into new life unless it dies to what it was.37When you sow, you do not bury the mature plant that you harvest, but a seed–like a grain of wheat or something else.38Then God gives it its form and body, and it grows from the ground. To each plant, he gives its own unique body.39All bodies are not the same: humankind has one kind of body, animals have different body types, birds and fish–still other types of bodies.40The heavenly beings have their real physical bodies, just as we on earth have our earthly bodies; and each body, heavenly and earthly, is splendid in its own way.41Just look in the sky: The sun is splendid, but so is the moon, and the stars — and all in their unique way.

42This is how it will be when the dead are raised to life: The diseased body that was buried in its terminal state is raised brand new,43and though buried defective, it is raised perfected; though buried fragile, it is raised powerful;44and though it is buried mortal, it is raised immortal. If there is a mortal body, there is also an immortal body.45The first man, Adam, was formed out of the soil of earth, and God breathed into him, and he became a living being; Christ, the second Adam, is the source of life itself–eternal, immortal, everlasting.46Be clear on the sequence of events:47Humanity first received a mortal body, which became diseased through Adam, and then, through Christ came the immortal, perfected body. The first Adam was formed out of the dirt of the earth, but Christ came from heaven.48As the earthly man was mortal and became terminal in sin, so all born on earth are mortal and born terminal in sin; and as Christ — the man from heaven — cured the terminal condition and is sinless and immortal, all who accept his Remedy are cured and reunited with heaven.49And just as we have been formed in the likeness of fallen Adam–with our selfish natures and diseased bodies–so we shall bear the likeness of Christ with perfect bodies and natures of selfless love.

50Let me make this plain and simple: Sinful, selfish, fear-ridden humanity cannot enter into God's kingdom of perfect other-centered love, nor can malignancy produce eternal life.51Listen carefully and I will tell you a secret: Not all of us will sleep in death waiting to be resurrected; some of us will be changed–52in an instant, as quick as blinking an eye–when the last trumpet blows. For the trumpet of God will sound, and the dead in Christ will arise in perfect health, with perfect bodies, and we who are alive will be transformed. These diseased bodies will disappear, and we will be clothed with our perfect, heavenly bodies.53For this sick, terminally ill body must be replaced with the eternal, heavenly one; this mortal body must be replaced with an immortal one.54Then, when sickness has been replaced with eternal health, and mortality with immortality, the Scripture that says, "Death has been eradicated by life victorious," will be fulfilled.

55"Ha! Death, where is your victory now? Ha! Death, now, where is your bite?"

56Death's bite is sin–deviating from the law of love–and sin's power to destroy comes from the fact that life is built to operate only in harmony with the law of love. Therefore all deviations from the law result in pain, suffering and death unless the law is perfectly restored in the being.57So give thanks to God, for he has given us victory and Remedy through our Lord Jesus Christ who perfectly restored the law of love into humanity.

58Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, don't waver. Be rock-solid and let nothing move you away from the truth about God as Jesus revealed. Always live in harmony with the law of love, and give yourselves freely to the Lord's work, because you know that loving others — as the Lord does — is never a waste of time.