Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
In the last post, we discussed four consequences to there being no resurrection. The first consequence is that Christ would not have been raised. From this first consequence, all others emerge. The next three were that the preaching of the gospel would be in vain, the Christian faith would be in vain, and the apostles, all other preachers of the gospel, and even the Scriptures would be lying about God.
The last three consequences to Christ not being resurrected have a deeper impact on the individual Christian. The first in this group is that every believer would still be in their sins.
We often think of the redemption process being only in the death of Christ. But it is also in His resurrection. It is true, the blood of Christ is what washes our sins. We know that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Jesus’ death was the sacrifice required to take away the sins of the believers. In verse 3 of this chapter, Paul states that Christ died for our sins.
But it would have all been meaningless if Christ were not also been resurrected. Paul says that we would still be in our sins. We would be like the rest of the world, no better off. Ephesians 2:1-3 would be true of us: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” We would be, “separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
Had God not raised Jesus, then we would still be in our sins. The sacrifice of Christ would not have been worthy. But when Christ resurrected, it showed that the sacrifice was acceptable to God. It showed that our sins are indeed paid for. Every believer who has ever lived has had hope in Christ because of the resurrection. Were Christ not raised, there would be no hope in His death; that His sacrifice was acceptable to God. There would be no hope that our sins are forgiven.
The next consequence to Christ not being raised from the dead is that we would have no hope for those who have died before us. If we who are alive would have no hope that our sins are forgiven, then it is also true that we would have no hope for any of the saints who have gone before us. Every single person, pious or wicked, believer or atheist, preacher or layman, would still be under the wrath of God. If Christ were not bodily resurrected, there is no hope that our sins have been dealt with or that we will be resurrected. Therefore, there is no hope for eternity, for those who are alive or those who have died.
The final consequence of there being no resurrection is that Christians should be pitied above all peoples. If our hope in Christ, as Paul says, is in this life only, then we should be pitied. Meaning, people should feel sorry for us. Apart from the resurrection, Christians have no Savior, no gospel, no life. Our faith is pointless; our hope is in vain.
The Christian’s entire hope is in Christ. We have no Lord and Savior apart from Him. If Christ were not raised, our Lord would be dead, and our entire faith pointless.
Jesus’ sacrifice was made in His physical body. His resurrection had to be in His physical body as well. Were He never raised, or raised only spiritually, all the consequences discussed would be true. His sacrifice would be pointless; our faith would be worthless. His death would be in vain; we would still be in our sins. His teachings would be lies; there would be no hope in eternity. No part of the Christian faith can stand apart from the bodily resurrection of Christ Jesus.