1 Corinthians 15:50-54
Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.…
I. WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE SOUNDING OF THE TRUMPET? That this will announce our Saviour's coming to judgment is frequently asserted (Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). As at the giving of the law, so at the judging of men according to that law, God shall cause some such sound to be uttered as shall be heard over the whole world, and summon all men to appear before His judgment-seat, and when this sounds then shall the dead be raised.
II. WHO ARE THOSE DEAD THAT SHALL BE RAISED AT THE SOUND OF THIS TRUMPET?
1. There is a threefold life: natural, the union of the soul to the body; spiritual, the union of Christ to the soul; eternal, the communion of the soul with God. Answerable to this there is a threefold death.
(1) Natural, when the soul and body are divorced from one another.
(2) Spiritual, which is the separation of the soul from Christ. Though many by grace are redeemed from this, yet all by nature are subject to it. And as all by nature are subject to it, so do most by practice still lie under it. Dead as to all sense of sin, as to all spiritual graces, as to all heavenly comforts, as to that life of faith which the children of God are quickened with.
(3) Eternal, the separation of the soul from God; and you that lie under the spiritual death of sin must either get yourselves quickened by the life of faith in Christ, or else except by eternal death to be separated from the Lord of Life.
2. Which of these shall be raised? All of them, and yet it is the naturally dead which are chiefly to be understood here.
III. HOW SHALL THE DEAD BE RAISED? When the trumpet shall sound by the power of the most high God, every man's body being made fit to receive its soul, the soul shall immediately be united to it, and so we, even the very self-same persons that now we are, shall be raised to answer for what we have done here.
IV. HOW DOTH IT APPEAR THAT THE DEAD SHALL THUS BE RAISED?
1. From Scripture (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28, 29; Matthew 22:31, 32).
2. From reason.
(1) Christ has been raised.
(2) The soul is immortal, and it is against all reason that one essential part of man should be continued in its being, and the other should be turned to nothing.
(3) Justice requires that they that are co-partners in vice and virtues should be co-partners also in punishments and rewards. Though a sin would not be a sin without the soul, yet it would not be committed without the body. The body could not sin unless the soul consented; the soul would not sin so often unless the body tempted.
V. HOW SHALL THEY BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE? The apostle here treats of principally the resurrection of the saints, who shall be raised incorruptible.
1. In their souls, which being wrought up into an exact conformity to the will of God, will be emptied of all corruptions, and blessed with all perfections.
2. In body. As our souls shall be void of all corruptions, so shall our bodies be of all imperfections, for these our vile bodies shall be made like unto Christ's glorious body. What is sown a natural shall be raised a spiritual body; it shall not any longer be a clog to us in the performance of duties to God; but it shall be as quick, agile, and subservient as if it was advanced beyond the degree of a body, and had commenced a soul.
3. In their happiness. There shall be no crosses in their relations, no losses in their possessions, no disgrace in their honours, no fears in their preferments, no irregularities in their affections, no sorrow in their joys, no darkness in their light, not one drop of misery in the whole ocean of happiness they shall enjoy.
VI. WHAT IS MEANT BY WE SHALL BE CHANGED? There will be a change in —
1. Our opinions. We shall think otherwise of most things. Here we are apt to look upon sin as amiable, and grace as not desirable; but then we that once esteemed all things before God, shall look upon God as to be esteemed above all things.
2. Our conditions. A Dives in this may become a Lazarus in the other world; and a Lazarus here, a Dives there.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.