1 Corinthians 15:18
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
15:12-19 Having shown that Christ was risen, the apostle answers those who said there would be no resurrection. There had been no justification, or salvation, if Christ had not risen. And must not faith in Christ be vain, and of no use, if he is still among the dead? The proof of the resurrection of the body is the resurrection of our Lord. Even those who died in the faith, had perished in their sins, if Christ had not risen. All who believe in Christ, have hope in him, as a Redeemer; hope for redemption and salvation by him; but if there is no resurrection, or future recompence, their hope in him can only be as to this life. And they must be in a worse condition than the rest of mankind, especially at the time, and under the circumstances, in which the apostles wrote; for then Christians were hated and persecuted by all men. But it is not so; they, of all men, enjoy solid comforts amidst all their difficulties and trials, even in the times of the sharpest persecution.Then they also ... - This verse contains a statement of another consequence which must follow from the denial of the resurrection - that all Christians who had died had failed of salvation, and were destroyed.

Which are fallen asleep in Christ - Which have died as Christians; 1 Corinthians 15:6 note; 1 Thessalonians 4:15 note.

Are perished - Are destroyed; are not saved. They hoped to have been saved by the merits of the Lord Jesus; they trusted to a risen Saviour, and fixed all their hopes of heaven there; but if he did not rise, of course the whole system was delusion, and they have failed of heaven, and been destroyed. Their bodies lie in the grave, and return to their native dust without the prospect of a resurrection, and their souls are destroyed. The "argument" here is mainly an appeal to their feelings: "Can you believe it possible that the good people who have believed in the Lord Jesus are destroyed? Can you believe that your best friends, your kindred, and your fellow Christians who have died, have gone down to perdition? Can you believe that they will sink to woe with the impenitent, and the polluted, and abandoned? If you cannot, then it must follow that they are saved. And then it will follow that you "cannot" embrace a doctrine which involves this consequence."

And this argument is a sound one still. There are multitudes who are made good men by the gospel. They are holy, humble, self-denying, and prayerful friends of God. "They have become such by the belief of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus." Can it be believed that they will be destroyed? That they will perish with the profane, and licentious, and unprincipled? That they will go down to dwell with the polluted and the wicked? "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Genesis 18:25. If it "cannot" be so believed, then they will be saved; and "if" saved it follows that the system is true which saves them, and, of course, that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead. We may remark here, that a denial of the truth of Christianity involves the belief that its friends will perish with others; that all their hopes are vain; and that their expectations are delusive. He, therefore, who becomes an infidel "believes" that his pious friends - his sainted father, his holy mother, his lovely Christian sister or child, is deluded and deceived; that they will sink down to the grave to rise no more; that their hopes of heaven will all vanish, and that they will be destroyed with the profane, the impure, and the sensual.

And if infidelity demands "this" faith of its votaries, it is a system which strikes at the very happiness of social life, and at all our convictions of what is true and right. It is a system that is withering and blighting to the best hopes of people. "Can" it be believed that God will destroy those who are living to his honor; who are pure in heart, and lovely in life, "and who have been made such by the Christian religion?" If it cannot, then every man knows that Christianity is not false, and that infidelity is not true.

18. fallen asleep in Christ—in communion with Christ as His members. "In Christ's case the term used is death, to assure us of the reality of His suffering; in our case, sleep, to give us consolation: In His case, His resurrection having actually taken place, Paul shrinks not from the term death; in ours, the resurrection being still only a matter of hope, he uses the term falling asleep" [Photius, Quæstiones Amphilochiæ, 197].

perished—Their souls are lost; they are in misery in the unseen world.

Some think that the term in Christ in this text, is of the same significancy with for the sake of Christ, which would restrain it to martyrs; but I know no reason for that, because what is said is true of all; for it is plain, from what was said before, that if Christ be not risen from the dead, all that die must die in their sins, there being no object for their faith to work or lay hold upon; the door of salvation remaineth as fast shut as ever, so as those whom they looked upon as being asleep in Christ, must necessarily perish, if Christ be not risen; there is no forerunner entered into the heavens for us. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ,.... That is, who are dead, and have died in Christ: death is often represented by a sleep, and that more than once in this chapter; and doubtless with a view to the resurrection, which will be an awaking out of it, since it will not be perpetual: some understand this of such only who were fallen asleep, or died martyrs for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; as Stephen, James the brother of John, and others; but rather it designs all such as die in Christ, in union with him, whether in the lively exercise of faith, or not; of whom it must be said, if Christ is not risen, that they

are perished: soul and body; for if there is no reason to believe the resurrection of the dead, there is no reason to believe the immortality of the soul, or a future state, but rather that the soul perishes with the body, and that there is no existence after death: though should it be insisted on that the soul survives, and shall live without the body to all eternity, it must be in a state of misery, if Christ is not risen, because it must be in its sins; and neither sanctified nor justified, and consequently cannot be glorified, so that the whole may be said to be perished; the body perishes in the grave, the soul in hell; but God forbid that this should be said of those, who have either died for Christ, or in him: can it be that any that are in Christ, that are united to him, one body and spirit with him, should ever perish? or those that are asleep in him be lost? no, those that sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him at the last day, who shall be for ever with him, and for ever happy.

{8} Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

(8) Secondly, unless it is certain that Christ rose again, all those who died in Christ have perished. So then, what profit comes of faith?

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ] See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 7:39. “The word does not apply to the soul, for that does not sleep (Luke 16:22-23; Luke 23:43), but it describes the state of the bodies of those who sleep in Jesus.” Wordsworth.

are perished] “You are required to believe that those who died in the field of battle, bravely giving up their lives for others, died even as the false and coward dies. You are required to believe that when there arose a great cry at midnight, and the wreck went down, they who passed out of the world with the oath of blasphemy or the shriek of despair, shared the same fate with those who calmly resigned their departing spirits into their Father’s hand;” in short, “that those whose affections were so pure and good that they seemed to tell you of an eternity, perished as utterly as the selfish and impure. If from this you shrink as from a thing derogatory to God, then there remains but that conclusion to which St Paul conducts us, ‘Now is Christ risen from the dead.’ ” Robertson.1 Corinthians 15:18. Ἀπώλοντο, perished) they were, they are not. Paul speaks conditionally: the heathen denying the resurrection might, if that supposition were true, regard the dead just the same as if they had never been. Nor was there here any necessity for Paul distinctly to express, what it is for a man to be in his sins.Verse 18. - Which are fallen asleep in Christ. Christians whose bodies have sunk into the sleep of death. Are perished. A notion which he feels that Christians must reject as utterly impossible. All that goodness, faith, tenderness, love, have not been dissolved to nothing.
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