Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 15

How can people live in God’s kingdom?

1 Corinthians 15:50

‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’ Paul uses a series of phrases with special meanings in 1 Corinthians 15:50.

‘Flesh and blood’ means, simply, people; but the phrase refers especially to their weakness in front of God (Matthew 16:17). They are so weak because of the wrong desires that have become part of their nature. In such a state, they cannot receive the good things that God wants to give them.

‘The kingdom of God’ is a phrase that Jesus used often. It means ‘the place where God rules as King’. I think that, by the use of this phrase, Jesus was comparing himself to Moses. Moses led his people to the country that God had promised to them. Jesus is leading his people to the place where God rules as King.

God’s rule has already begun in the lives of his people. However, Paul is referring to the place and time where God’s rule is complete. God will rule all things (15:28).

To ‘inherit’ means to receive as a personal possession. So, the sentence means; ‘Because of their weakness, people cannot receive any right to live in the country where God rules.’ Of course, they cannot. Because people are certain to die, it is impossible for them to live permanently with God.

However, as Paul has explained, God will change his people completely (15:42-43). These people do not trust in their human weakness, in other words, ‘the flesh and blood’ that they received from Adam. They trust in their relationship with Christ (15:45-49). When Christ returns, they will be like him. Then they will not have weak bodies that are certain to die. God will give them strong bodies that will always live with him (15:51-55).

Next part: The last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.