In the preceding verse Paul says that our resurrected bodies will be spiritual bodies. As we now bear the image of the first man, Adam (from whom we descended), having a natural body like his, so we shall one day bear the image of the second man, the Lord Jesus, having a spiritual body like his!
(Vs. 45.) Adam was the first man made, the parent, head and representative of all his posterity. Adam had a body which was animated by the soul, which was supported by eating, drinking, sleeping and which was capable of dying. The last Adam is the Lord Jesus Christ, called Adam because he is really and truly man. He was raised from the dead with a spiritual body - not that it was changed into a spirit, for it still remained flesh and bones (Luke 24:36-40); but it was no longer supported in an animal way nor subject to the weaknesses of animal bodies. It is called "a quickening spirit" because it has life itself, and he is called a quickening Spirit because he gives life (John 14:19).
(Vs. 46, 47.) It is not the spiritual life which came first, but the physical and then the spiritual. The first man was formed out of the earth (Gen. 2:7), and the word there signifies red earth. He had an earthy constitution, like the earth out of which he was taken, and he was doomed to return to it. The second man is the Lord from heaven, in distinction from the first man, who was of the earth. Though he was formed in the womb of the virgin, was flesh of her flesh and was supported by earthly means, yet he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and is very God of very God.
(Vs. 48, 49.) As was Adam's body, so are the bodies of those who descend from Adam. They are houses of clay which rise out of the earth, are maintained by the things of earth and will return to the earth. As in Christ's spiritual body after his resurrection (in which he now lives in heaven and in which he will come again), so will be the resurrected bodies of all (Acts 1:9-11; I John 3:2). As we have borne the frailty and mortality of our representative, Adam, a body subject to sin, infirmity and death, so we shall one day bear the image of our representative, Christ Jesus, a spiritual body created in righteousness and true holiness (Rom. 5:l 7-19).
(Vs. 50.) "Flesh and blood" here signifies our bodies in their present state. These cannot inherit the kingdom of God they are corrupt, subject to disease, supported by things and dying. We must be changed; we must put on incorruption and immortality and be raised a spiritual body.
(Vs. 51.) Someone may say, "But there will be many saints alive on earth in natural bodies, when Christ returns, who shall not and be buried in the common way." That is true, but they must be changed. Their natural bodies must be turned into spiritual bodies.
(Vs. 52.) This change will take place in a sudden moment. When the trumpet sounds, when Christ returns, when the dead are raised incorruptible, immortal and made like Christ, those who are alive shall also be changed (1 Thess. 4:16-18).
(Vs. 53.) God has decreed, and heaven requires, that our bodies be changed from their present state of mortality and corruption to immortality and incorruption before we can enter into eternal glory.
(Vs. 54.) This quotation is from Isaiah 25:8. Christ (by his obedience, death and resurrection) has obtained a full victory for all his elect over sin, the curse and condemnation of the law, death, the grave judgement and hell. So when this glorious change takes place at his coming, this promise shall become a reality. He will swallow up all death in victory.
(Vs. 55.) The reference may be to a bee or a wasp which, having lost its sting, can do no more harm and is no longer feared. When believers arise from the grave, they shall fear the sting of death no more it is gone. The grave gets its victory over all men, for we shall all lie there one day. But in that resurrection morning, when death is swallowed up in victory, we may reasonably ask, "Now, grave, where is your boasted victory?"
(Vs. 56.) Death has a sting and it is sin, which is the cause of death (Rom. 5:12). If it were not for sin, death would have no power over us. Sin gives death power over us. The strength of sin is the law of God, without which there would be no sin. Sin is the transgression of the law. It is the law which binds sin upon us, pronounces us guilty and condemns us to death (Rom. 3:19; Gal. 3:10).
(Vs. 57.) "Thanks be unto God, who has given us the victory", over the law by answering in perfect obedience all of its demands, and over death and the grave by dying and rising again. He lives for evermore; and because we are one in him and with him by God's sovereign mercy and grace, we shall never die (Rom. 8:33-39).
(Vs. 58.) "Therefore, my beloved brethren, because we have such a blessed and certain hope of resurrection, victory over death and the grave and perfect conformity to the image of Christ Jesus, let us be steadfast and unmovable in the doctrines of the gospel, in our walk with Christ, in the preaching of the gospel and in encouraging one another; for your faith, labour and hope are certainly not in vain."