“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised ..” (1 Cor 15:12-20)
“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. … See things from his perspective.” (Col 3:1 MSG)
As John Piper put it: “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.” I long for five things and they are met in the resurrection of Jesus.
What are the implications of the resurrection of Jesus?
V14: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain.” ” . . . and your faith is in vain.”
V15: If Christ has not been raised, “we are found to be misrepresenting God because we testified of God that he raised Christ.”
V17: “If Christ has not been raised then your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
V18: If Christ has not been raised, then “those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”
V19: If Christ has not been raised, then “we are of all men most to be pitied.”
Now turn it round…. and the “Ifs” become “Buts”
But Christ IS risen, so we are not in our sins! FORGIVENESS
But Christ IS risen, so our faith is not in vain! FRUITFULNESS
But Christ IS risen, so the apostles spoke Truth! TRUTHFULNESS
But Christ IS risen, so we are not to be pitied but to be envied! SIGNIFICANCE
But Christ is risen, so those who have fallen asleep have not perished but are alive! ETERNAL LIFE
- I long to be forgiven
V17 Because of the resurrection we are forgiven for our sins.
How is the resurrection connected to our forgiveness?
Check out Romans 4:25. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
“Everybody needs forgiveness” But Paul says, because Christ rose from the dead, we are no longer in our sins. No longer in them! Imagine that!
- I long for a fruitful life
Second, from verse 14, instead of saying negatively that our faith is in vain (or fruitless), we can say positively that because of the resurrection our faith is fruitful.
Everyone wants to be useful; to feel that they make a difference. It’s a feeling has never changed, in spite of sin. But now that we are no longer in our sins, this longing too is satisfied by the resurrection of Jesus.
“The life I live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
- I long for absolute truth
Third, from verse 15, instead of saying negatively that the apostles are false witnesses about the work of God, we can say positively that because of the resurrection the apostles preach what is true.
It’s like finding solid ground in the middle of quicksand. I can stand on this truth and even help others too. This is truth itself; it’s the truth that I’ve always longed for. And it sets me free from every kind of doubt and confusion.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
- I long for significance
V19: Instead of saying negatively that we are to be pitied, we can say positively that because of the resurrection we are to be envied! Envied! Our preaching is not in vain—it is full, meaningful, valid, valuable, significant.
If Christ is not raised, then living for him, doing what he says, following his will is a great delusion.
Paul knows this. That’s why he ends this whole chapter on the resurrection (v. 58) with the words:
“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.”
- I long for life… and life eternal
Finally, there is the longing that we shall live forever in joy, that we do not come to an empty end after a full and valuable life.
v18. So because Christ is raised those who have fallen asleep in him—those who have died in faith—have not perished. They are alive and will live forever! They live the way Christ lives. They will enter into the joy of their Master.“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. … See things from his perspective.” (Col 3:1 MSG)