“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2, NKJV).
No question, the cross of Christ was central to all that Paul lived and taught. But Paul didn’t teach the Cross in a vacuum; instead, he taught it in the context of other teachings, as well; and one of them, perhaps the one most intricately linked to the Cross, was the Resurrection, without which the Cross would have been in vain. Read 1 Corinthians 15:12–22. What do these verses say that show how crucial the death and resurrection of Jesus are to the gospel? Why is a proper understanding of death as a sleep crucial for making sense of these texts? That is, if the dead in Christ are already in heaven, what is Paul talking about here?
Unfortunately, the majority of Christian traditions, as well as nonChristian religions, believe strongly in the immortality of the human soul. Against this belief, however, Paul emphasized repeatedly that: 1. Only God has immortality (1 Tim. 6:16); 2. Immortality is a gift from God to the saved (1 Thess. 4:16); 3. Death is a sleep until Christ returns (1 Thess. 4:13–15; 1 Cor. 15:6, 18, 20). Worship in almost all religions includes numerous false teachings based on the false concept of the immortality of the soul. These errors include things such as reincarnation, praying to saints, veneration of ancestral spirits, an eternally burning hell, and many New Age practices, such as channeling or astral projection. A true understanding of the Bible’s teaching on death is the only real protection against these great deceptions. How unfortunate, too, that those who show the strongest inclination against accepting this truth are Christians of other denominations.
A believer closes his or her eyes in death and, after what seems like a moment of darkness and silence, he or she is awakened to eternal life at the Second Coming. What does the truth about the state of the dead reveal to us about God’s character?
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q3 2015 «Biblical Missionaries» Lesson 12 – Paul: Mission and Message