The Resurrection Changes Everything
A question that has permeated my entire adult life (and especially the last few years in my ministry) has been: If the resurrection of Jesus were not true, would your life look any different? This is an essential question to ask ourselves. According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, the entire life of a Christian hinges on this question.
According to this passage, there are at least 6 implications for our lives that hinge solely on whether or not Jesus rose from the dead. During this Easter season, it is essential that we ponder deeply on these implications.
Implication #1: According to verse 14, the preaching of the gospel hinges on the resurrection of Jesus: "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain..." Millions and millions of Jesus-followers throughout history have given their lives for this cause. And that preaching is either futile if the resurrection is not true, or it will be fruitful if it is true.
Implication #2: According to the second part of verse 14, our faith (the trust we have in Jesus) hinges on the question of Christ's resurrection: "...and your faith is in vain." The whole point of faith is the object of that faith. If the object of our faith (which is Jesus) is dead, then our faith is dead. And therefore, He would not be able to change us, use us, or bring us to be with Him. If the resurrection is true, then we have a living faith in a living Savior!
Implication #3: According to verse 15, if Christ was not raised, then we are lying about God: "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." Our entire view of God, our idea of heaven, and our view of salvation is wrapped up in the resurrection of Jesus!
Implication #4: Paul continues to build his case. According to verse 17, if Christ was not raised from the dead, then we have not been freed from our sins: "And if Christ has not been raised...you are still in your sins." If Christ did not conquer death, then we are still dead in our sins, and sin still reigns in our hearts. But if Christ rose from the grave, then we who are in Christ are alive in Him and have been set free from that sin which once held us in bondage.
Implication #5: According to verse 18, the hope in death hinges solely on the resurrection of Jesus: "Then those also who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ have perished." This would mean that there could be no celebration at the funeral of a believer, no hope for the mother who lost her baby, no hope for the person who has lost all for the sake of the Gospel. They would just be dead, completely gone from any kind of existence. But if Christ has been raised, then all those who trust in Jesus will spend eternity with Him after death.
Implication #6: According to verse 19, if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then Christians are the most pitiful creatures imaginable: "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." This is because the life of a believer will be marked by suffering and persecution. Those who follow Jesus give up the lesser of this world for the better joy of the world to come. So, if the resurrection isn't true, then we are to be pitied more than anyone else. But if Christ has been raised, then they are the most blessed creatures, as they have the most meaningful life imaginable!
So I ask the question: If the resurrection of Jesus were not true, would your life look any different? Hopefully the answer to that question is "yes." Our lives should look so weird to the watching world because we are living for something completely counter-cultural. We are looking to the new creation that is to come. And we can trust these things are true, because Christ has been raised from the dead, as verse 20 makes clear: "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."
We serve a living Savior! And that should change everything about us!