Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact 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 worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. — 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
The Apostle Paul seemed to have been receiving some push-back on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the church at Corinth. Perhaps the account of someone coming back to life from the dead was a bit too hard for the rational Greek intellect to accept. Perhaps it all seemed a bit too farfetched. Whatever, the case, there seemed to be enough skepticism around the resurrection for Paul to confront it.
And he did so by offering three arguments (as laid out in the verses stated above).
First, if Christ had not been resurrected from the dead, then the faith of the Corinthian believers was in vain. After all, they had come to believe in Jesus Christ as the One who would save them from the power of death. But there was no point in believing this if He Himself was still dead.
Second, if Christ had not risen from the grave, then Paul and the apostles were guilty of spreading lies in the name of God — that He had raised Jesus from the dead when in fact, He had not.
Third, the reason Paul and the apostles risked their own lives to spread the message of Jesus was because they believed that just as Jesus returned from the grave, they would too. That the same power which resurrected Him would resurrect them as well. But if Jesus’ resurrection was nothing more than a fable, then there was no afterlife to look forward to. What a pitiful state to be in! No wonder Paul goes on to say, If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. (1 Corinthians 15:32) And that makes sense doesn’t it — if this life is all there is, then why not devote yourself to partying and pleasure?
Clearly then, if the resurrection is a myth, then all Christians who say that Jesus rose again are nothing but liars. And all of them who live in the hope that He will raise them in the afterlife are to be pitied. Because they have sacrificed their whole lives by forgoing world pleasures when in fact, they could have enjoyed them to the full.
What do you think of Christians who say Jesus rose from the dead? Are they all liars? Are they pitiable fools?
Unfortunately, there’s no way for you to tell in the here and now; except by faith.
For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then once you die, that’s it. You won’t be able to gloat about the mistaken view of Christians. Because once your lights go out, there’s no scope to gloat. Because there is no consciousness left that will allow you to gloat.
And if there is resurrection of the dead, then once you die, your opportunity to have eternal life is gone. You will have consciousness; oh yes, you will. But it will be a consciousness filled with regret. Because you didn’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus while you had the chance.
This Easter, heed the words of Jesus, Himself: “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29)
There is life after death. What’s more there is judgment after death.
Believe in the resurrected Jesus who died to save you from the penalty of sin — eternal death.
Believe while you still have life to do so.