As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
–1 Corinthians 15:22
In 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul said, “Christ has been raised from the dead.” There was no doubt in his mind. Paul saw the resurrected Christ. And not only that, Paul continued, but Jesus is “the first fruits of those who are asleep.”
That may sound strange to you, but the Jews understood what Paul was talking about. The Old Testament law included an offering of first fruits. When harvest time came, if you had a piece of land and were gathering the harvest, you would, first of all, take a sample of that harvest and bring it to the priest. This was called the offering of first fruits, a sample of what was to come. And in the same way, Paul said, the resurrection of Jesus is a sample of an even greater harvest that is to come, even more people who will be raised from the dead as Jesus was. Who is included in that harvest? It is everyone who has ever trusted in Christ. Paul wrote, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (v. 22). Every descendant of Adam is going to die not just physically but spiritually, separated from God. We have all come from Adam, so because of that, we are all going to die. If nothing happens in our life spiritually, we are going to die not just physically but spiritually because of our sin. As Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” But Paul told us the way of escape: “In Christ all will be made alive.” What does it mean to be “in Christ”? It means to put your faith in Jesus. Jesus said it this way in John 11:25: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.”
The only people who will be raised again and escape God’s judgment are those who have believed in Jesus. But many people don’t know what it means to believe in Jesus. They think to believe in Jesus means to believe the right things about Jesus, that He was the Son of God who died on the cross for the sins of the world and He rose again on the third day. They think, “If I believe those things, that’s all I need to do.” No, you can believe all of those things with all of your heart and go straight to hell when you die. The word “believe” in the New Testament means to cling to, to put your faith and trust in. It’s not just intellectually believing that Jesus was the Son of God who died for the sins of the world. There has to come that moment of faith when you kneel before a holy God and say, “God, I am a sinner. I deserve Your punishment. I don’t have any hope in myself, but I cling to the fact that Jesus died on the cross for me, that He took the punishment from You that I deserve. And right now I’m putting my whole weight on what Jesus did for me to save me from my sins.” The Bible says the moment you say that to God and mean it with all your heart, you are in Christ. You are in His hands. In John 10:28, Jesus said, “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” That’s what it means to be in Christ. And those who are in Christ have eternal life. It is a quality of life that begins right now and it extends throughout eternity.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “If Jesus Is Dead, So What?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.