Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 15

Why is death so powerful?

1 Corinthians 15:56-57

In 1 Corinthians 15:55, Paul repeated the questions from Hosea 13:14. Hosea did not give answers to those questions. The verse in Hosea is describing the time when God will defeat the power of death. Then death will have no power; it will be unable to hurt Godís people. The purpose of the questions was to emphasise that fact. God was using those questions to laugh at the weakness of death, as a soldier laughs at his enemyís defeat.

Paul too used those questions to emphasise how God will defeat death. However, Paul chose to answer those questions. In the future, death will lose its power. In the future, death cannot hurt Godís people. But now it does both these things; death is powerful, and it hurts Godís people. Like Paul, we may wish to ask why.

Paulís answer is that death hurts people because of sin. That is, the wrong and evil things that we all do (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). Genesis chapter 3 (especially Genesis 3:19) tells us that death entered the world because of sin. Paul then explains that death has power over people because of Godís holy law. The purpose of Godís law was not to cause death but to bring life. However, people did not obey Godís law and the punishment for that is death. Paul explains this idea further in Romans 7:7-13.

Christ dealt with both these matters at this death. On the cross, Christ suffered for our sin (Isaiah 53:4-6). He made it possible for God to forgive us. At the same time, Christ satisfied all that Godís holy law demanded (Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 9:11-14). That is why the defeat of death is so complete.

Although death still seems powerful, the defeat of death is certain. In fact, Christ has already done everything necessary to defeat death (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Next part: Brief instructions for the Christians in Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:58)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.