For an introduction to this series, click here.
Paul continues his discussion of the importance of the resurrection.
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For 'God has put all things in subjection under his feet.' But when it says, 'all things are put in subjection,' it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all." (15:20-28)
This section doesn't really need comment. It's pretty self-explanatory, as opposed to the next section:
"Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? Why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'" (15:29-32)
Now I try not to shy away from difficult scriptures, but that first one in that section is a doozy. It's clear that baptism does not save even the person who is baptized, so what does it mean being baptized for the dead? MacArthur suggests that this means that people who were saved and baptized because of the testimony of those who have already passed on, perhaps because of persecution. I don't know. Maybe the Corinthian church had some sort of weird ritual that was not Biblical, and Paul was just using the ritual as a point to prove that even their ill-conceived ritual showed they believed in a resurrection. That doesn't seem right as I write it, but I don't know.
Paul also continues his discussion of the meaning of life. He says that if there is no resurrection, then he might as well give up what he is doing and go out and live a life of ease. Why put yourself out? If this is all there is, then you better enjoy it while you can. No point in making life difficult if there is no resurrection. People get the idea that the Christian life is just a breeze and that God wants to solve all our problems. God isn't as concerned about our physical comforts and what we want as we think He is, or as some preachers paint Him out to be. Paul certainly was living proof that God is more concerned about using us in His service, no matter the physical cost, than He is about making us happy.