Brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the good news I preached to you. You received it and have put your faith in it.
Because you believed the good news, you are saved. But you must hold firmly to the message I preached to you. If you don't, you have believed it for nothing.
What I received I passed on to you. And it is the most important of all. Here is what it is. Christ died for our sins, just as Scripture said he would.
He was buried. He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as Scripture said he would be.
He appeared to Peter. Then he appeared to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than 500 believers at the same time. Most of them are still living. But some have died.
He appeared to James. Then he appeared to all the apostles.
Last of all, he also appeared to me. I was like someone who wasn't born at the right time or in a normal way.
I am the least important of the apostles. I'm not even fit to be called an apostle. I tried to destroy God's church.
But because of God's grace I am what I am. And his grace was not wasted on me. No, I have worked harder than all the other apostles. But I didn't do the work. God's grace was with me.
So whether it was I or the other apostles who preached to you, that is what we preach. And that is what you believed.
We have preached that Christ has been raised from the dead. So how can some of you say that no one rises from the dead?
If no one rises from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
And if Christ has not been raised, what we preach doesn't mean anything. Your faith doesn't mean anything either.
More than that, we would be lying about God. We have given witness that God raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if the dead are not raised.
If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith doesn't mean anything. Your sins have not been forgiven.
Those who have died believing in Christ are also lost.
Do we have hope in Christ only for this life? Then people should pity us more than anyone else.
But Christ really has been raised from the dead. He is the first of all those who will rise.
Death came because of what a man did. Rising from the dead also comes because of what a man did.
Because of Adam, all people die. So because of Christ, all will be made alive.
But here is the order of events. Christ is the first of those who rise from the dead. When he comes back, those who belong to him will be raised.
Then the end will come. Christ will destroy all rule, authority and power. He will hand over the kingdom to God the Father.
Christ must rule until he has put all his enemies under his control.
The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
Scripture says that God "has put everything under his control."(Psalm 8:6) It says that "everything" has been put under him. But it is clear that this does not include God himself, who puts everything under Christ.
When he has done that, the Son also will be under God's rule. God puts everything under the Son. In that way, God will be all in all.
Suppose no one rises from the dead. Then what will people do who are baptized for the dead? Suppose the dead are not raised at all. Then why are people baptized for them?
And why would we put ourselves in danger every hour?
I die every day. I really mean that, brothers and sisters. Here is something you can be sure of. I take pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done for you through my work.
Did I fight wild animals in Ephesus for only human reasons? Then what have I gotten for it? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, because tomorrow we will die." (Isaiah 22:13)
Don't let anyone fool you. "Bad companions make a good person bad."
You should come back to your senses and stop sinning. Some of you don't know anything about God. I say this to make you ashamed.
But someone might ask, "How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have?"
How foolish! What you plant doesn't come to life unless it dies.
When you plant something, it isn't a completely grown plant that you put in the ground. You only plant a seed. Maybe it's wheat or something else.
But God gives the seed a body just as he has planned. And to each kind of seed he gives its own body.
All earthly creatures are not the same. People have one kind of body. Animals have another. Birds have another kind. Fish have still another.
There are also heavenly bodies as well as earthly bodies. Heavenly bodies have one kind of glory. Earthly bodies have another.
The sun has one kind of glory. The moon has another kind. The stars have still another. And one star's glory is different from that of another star.
It will be like that with bodies that are raised from the dead. The body that is planted does not last forever. The body that is raised from the dead lasts forever.
It is planted without honor. But it is raised in glory. It is planted in weakness. But it is raised in power.
It is planted as an earthly body. But it is raised as a spiritual body. Just as there is an earthly body, there is also a spiritual body.
It is written, "The first man Adam became a living person."(Genesis 2:7) The last Adam became a spirit that gives life.
What is spiritual did not come first. What is earthly came first. What is spiritual came after that.
The first man came from the dust of the earth. The second man came from heaven.
Those who belong to the earth are like the one who came from the earth. And those who are spiritual are like the one who came from heaven.
We are like the earthly man. And we will be like the man from heaven.
Brothers and sisters, here is what I'm telling you. Bodies made of flesh and blood can't share in the kingdom of God. And what dies can't share in what never dies.
Listen! I am telling you a mystery. We will not all die. But we will all be changed.
That will happen in a flash, as quickly as you can wink an eye. It will happen when the last trumpet sounds. The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised to live forever. And we will be changed.
Our natural bodies don't last forever. They must be dressed with what does last forever. What dies must be dressed with what does not die.
In fact, that is going to happen. What does not last will be dressed with what lasts forever. What dies will be dressed with what does not die. Then what is written will come true. It says, "Death has been swallowed up. It has lost the battle."(Isaiah 25:8)
"Death, where is the battle you thought you were winning? Death, where is your sting?" (Hosea 13:14)
The sting of death is sin. And the power of sin is the law.
But let us give thanks to God! He wins the battle for us because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done.
My dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Don't let anything move you. Always give yourselves completely to the work of the Lord. Because you belong to the Lord, you know that your work is not worthless.