God Will Also Raise Us Up
"And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power." (1 Corinthians 6:14)
In Romans 6:1-4, Paul compares our coming up out of the waters of baptism to the resurrection of Christ. This raising up is similar to the resurrection of Christ, but not exactly the same thing. This is indicated by the comparative language of a “likeness” to the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:5). But there is a raising up that Christians will experience in the future that is not baptism. The Corinthians had already experienced baptism (Acts 18:8). They had already been washed; they had already been sanctified; they had already been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:11).
The raising up that we read about in 1 Corinthians 6:14 is a direct parallel to the resurrection of Christ. God both raised up Christ and He will also raise us up by His power. This refers to the raising of our mortal bodies to meet the Lord in the air when He comes again. (1Corinthian 15:12, 13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul speaks of Christ being the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (v. 20). Paul is referring to those who are physically dead. We know this because when Jesus returns all who are in Christ shall be made alive (vv. 22, 23). There are none in Christ Jesus who are spiritually dead, but there are many in Christ Jesus who have died physically.
Another point that indicates Paul is talking about the resurrection of physical bodies is the objection that he anticipates: “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” (v. 35) Everyone knows what happens to physical bodies when they die. They rot and decay and eventually break down completely. However, Paul goes on to explain how God will give us a new body. Paul compares the physical body to a seed planted in the ground. It is sown in weakness and corruption, but God will raise up our mortal bodies in incorruption and with power and He will give us a new body (vv. 42, 43). There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body (v. 44). The fact of a spiritual body becomes vitally important when we realize that flesh and blood [a physical body] cannot inherit the kingdom of God (v. 50). And so we will all be changed at the Lord’s coming, even those who have not died physically (vv. 51, 52)
The fact of a spiritual body also corresponds with the promise of an existence in which death has been destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). As long as those who are in Christ are confined to physical bodies, they will continue to die physically and they will remain dead. Jesus’ own triumph over death has been accomplished, but our victory has not yet been realized. Paul says: “when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” (1 Corinthians 15:54)
In 1 Corinthians 6, the promise of the resurrection was meant to encourage and motivate the Corinthians to put away sinful practices. They were struggling with their mistreatment of one another in civil disputes (vv. 5-9) and some were trying to make arguments to justify sexual immorality (vv. 12, 13). God is going to raise us up just as He raised up Jesus, and the Corinthians knew what the promise of the resurrection implied. The resurrection of Jesus, and the resurrection of the dead in general, had been preached in Corinth and the Corinthians had believed it (1 Corinthians 15:1-12). Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, but neither can those who have been washed - if they return to the practice of unrighteousness (1 Corinthians 6:8-10). Thus, Paul’s mentioning of the resurrection becomes an appeal to the promises of God in which these brethren already believed.
Have you laid hold of the promise of eternal life by dying with Jesus in baptism and being raised to walk in newness of life? (Romans 6:1-5) If you have not, we hope that you will seriously consider your need to respond to the Lord’s invitation. If you have died with Jesus, continue to live for Him. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).