Summary: These verses reveal the essential nature of the resurrection of Christ so far as Christian truth is concerned. There were people in Corinth who were saying there was no resurrection. Paul presents logical consequences of denying the resurrection:
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
D. L. Moody, the great evangelist of the nineteenth century, assigned some ministerial students to conduct evangelistic tent meetings throughout the city of Chicago. The students were to preach nightly sermons as a means of winning souls for Christ and to practice their preaching. Dr. Moody personally showed up one night unannounced at one of the meeting places to hear one of his fledgling young ministers preach the gospel. The young man did quite well expounding on the death of Christ on the cross for the sins of the world. At the close of the service, he announced that everyone should come back the next night when he would “preach on the resurrection of Christ.” After the people left, Moody said, “Young man, many of these people will not be back tomorrow night and consequently have only heard half the gospel!” (Source unknown).
Most Greeks did not believe that a person’s body would be resurrected after death. They thought the soul would enter some eternal state but not the body. Christianity, by contrast, affirms that the body and soul will be reunited after the resurrection. These verses reveal the essential nature of the resurrection of Christ so far as Christian truth is concerned. There were people in Corinth who were saying there was no resurrection. Paul presents logical consequences of denying the resurrection:
1. If there is no resurrection, then Jesus Christ is still in the grave (v. 16).
2. If He is not raised, there is no gospel to preach (v. 17).
3. If there is no gospel, then you have believed in vain and you are still in your sins (v. 17).
4. If there is no resurrection, then believers who have died have no hope (v. 18).
Faith in a dead Savior means that our religious beliefs are of no value. If our hope in Christ does not take us beyond this life, then "we are of all men most miserable" (v. 19). Because we know that Christ did rise from the dead, we have the certainty that our sins have been forgiven and that He now lives in the presence of the Father and represents us to Him.
If I do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Bible teaches, my belief about everything else is meaningless. I serve a living and not a dead Christ.