12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 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. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 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 1 Corinthians 15:12–19 Paul makes seven conclusions based on the Corinthians misguided belief that resurrection from the dead was not possible. In seven statements we learn the horrible prospect of a world without resurrection. Conversely, if the resurrection is true and Jesus Christ has been raised to life as the firstfruits of a great harvest, there are equally significant promises of hope.
Consider both sides and give thanks to God for Christ’s victory over the grave.
If there is no resurrection from the dead, then . . .
- Christ is not risen from the dead (vv. 13, 16)
- Preaching the gospel is empty (v. 14a)
- Faith in the gospel is empty (v. 14b, 17)
- The apostles are imposters, falsely representing God (v. 15)
- There is no remission of sins and guilt remains (v. 17)
- Death is a certainty and all who have died will perish (v. 18)
- We deluded fools have no hope beyond this short life (v. 19)
But if the resurrection from the dead is true, then . . .
- Christ is ruling and reigning on the throne of God, where he will certainly return and resurrect all those who have trusted in him.
- Preaching the gospel is fruitful, for the risen Christ is ensuring that his Spirit gives life to the elect who hear the word.
- Faith in the gospel is fruitful, for it promises forgiveness of sins and friendship with the Maker of the Universe and the Redeemer of Humanity.
- The apostles are the most important spokesman in the world; their message surpasses in importance everything else said—past, present, or future.
- Sins will be forgiven, death will be defeated, because the one who died for sins now lives to grant forgiveness to all who trust in Christ.
- Death is a defeated foe; all who die in Christ “sleep” with the certain hope of waking when the Son rises.
- We undeserving heirs have hope now and forever.
Praise God, Jesus Christ is risen! That, literally, means everything in life to those who trust in him.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds