Great Gospel Texts: 1 Corinthians 15:22

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1Co 15:22).[1]

This great gospel text follows closely after Paul dramatically emphasizes, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (v20). Christ is the first of a large harvest to follow in due season. As He enjoys a new and incorruptible body, so too will all who trust in Him in life, though they also experience death.

This is not speculation or a fanciful hope to Paul but an absolutely certain future. Christ is, at this moment, risen; others will follow. It’s not just logical to Paul but judicial, or righteous, as he goes on to suggest by the following verses (21,22). Since a man was the channel for death, so a man will be the channel for resurrection. Paul continues in our text with parallel truths indicating the current calamity, a future reality, and the entrance that is a priority.

The current or present calamity is that all people “in” or related to Adam die. This verifiable fact implies this is a human problem, both individually owned and universally applied. Romans 5 tells us that one man brought sin into the world, and yet also states that all have sinned. With Adam’s disobedience came consequences: a curse, condemnation and corruption. Man is responsible for the problems sin causes. Man’s sin is the root cause of the current condition of this world, not the result of infectious influence in the evolutionary process millennia ago or the “perpetual circle of life.” When people allegorize or reject the creation narrative, God, sin and eternal consequences can then be perceived as fantasy. Daily death tolls are, in fact, evidence of God’s truth and the great calamity sin causes. We all have an undeniable link “in” Adam and so all face death.

Yet Paul presents another statement of truth, one of a future reality. As death is certain for sinners, so resurrection is certain for believers in Christ Jesus. Only one person came into this world not naturally linked, or “in Adam” – Jesus of Nazareth, Christ the Lord. He is God’s eternal Son who was born of a virgin, the promised seed of the woman. He inherits the royal rights of David through Joseph’s line, but none of Joseph’s or David’s sinful nature “in Adam.” His humanity establishes a new start for man in perfect relationship with God. By offering Himself on Calvary’s cross, He presented to God the one and only sacrifice that would enable any others to be made right with God. A new and living way has been secured to God through Jesus Christ, and all who come to Him for salvation are secure “in” Him. Christ proved His claim, “I am the resurrection and the life” (Joh 11:25). Though death may come for the believer, all in Christ shall be made alive, or resurrected. Resurrection will yield a new, incorruptible body like our risen Lord’s body.

With death certain for all in Adam, but resurrection secured for all in Christ, getting to Christ must be a priority. All left in Adam alone are lost. Jesus Christ’s promise stands: “By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (Joh 10:9).

[1] All Scripture quotations in this article are from the KJV.