1 Corinthians 15:12, “12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?”
1 Corinthians is written by the Apostle Paul and Paul’s life has been radically changed through faith in Jesus, and the resurrected Jesus has sent Paul from city to city proclaiming the name of Jesus around the world.
One of those cities is Corinth, and in verse 12 there are some men and women in the Corinthian Church who are saying, “There is no resurrection of the dead.” Now, it is important to remember the people in the Corinthian church believe Jesus resurrected from the dead, but the people in the Corinthian Church are not sure if there is a future resurrection of the dead for those who are followers of Jesus.
This can be confusing, but the common belief in the Corinthian culture was the physical was inferior to the spiritual, therefore, the physical body didn’t really hold any lasting value in the Corinthian culture. The Greeks influenced the Corinthian culture to place more emphasis on the spiritual, or philosophical being of a person, and less emphasis on the physical being of a person, so that the Corinthian church had little value for the physical body.
Now, it would be easy to think, “Those first century people sure are funny!” But, we still see this teaching in our culture today. Yes, we can over value our physical bodies by focusing too much on physical appearances, but we can also devalue our physical bodies in subtle ways.
Think about the motto in Las Vegas, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” because the assumption is what you do with your body in Vegas doesn’t matter. As we get older we might quote the German Poet Hermann Hesse, “Age is a state of mind.” Implying our physical age isn’t important.
Surely there are some of us who have disdain for parts of our physical body. We might be discouraged by certain physical limitations. We might be frustrated with the health of our physical bodies. We might think certain parts of our bodies lead us into sin, and if I could just “cut off my tongue I wouldn’t hurt people with my words.”
Do you see how easy it is to separate ourselves from our physical bodies? What about you? When you think of yourself in heaven one day with Jesus do you see your body? Do you see your body as a gift from the Lord today? Do you see your physical features, the color of your skin, shape of your body as a gift from the Lord?
Jesus didn’t just purchase our souls at the cross, but also our bodies. 1 Corinthians 12, “We are to honor God with our bodies.” Romans 12, “Our bodies are a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God.” It is because our physical bodies are important to God.
Therefore, the Apostle Paul is writing to the Corinthian church to challenge their views on the physical body, and his whole argument is based on the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.