Summary: The French philosopher Albert Camus once said, “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't a God and to die to find out that there is.”
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION.
1 Corinthians 15: 12-23
The French philosopher Albert Camus once said, “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't a God and to die to find out that there is.”
HERE the apostle reasons on this great truth from two different standpoints:
1. The NEGATIVE. “If Christ be not risen”—then what?
2. The POSITIVE. “But now is Christ risen,”—then what? As if one should say: “If the sun should not rise again, then what would happen?” But now the sun is risen and it becomes self-evident. Life goes on.
I. IF CHRIST BE NOT RISEN.
1. THEN CHRIST’S OWN TESTIMONY WAS UNTRUE. He had given His promise: (John 2:19). “I will rise again.” “Destroy this temple (body) and in three days I will raise it up”
If He failed here, how could He be (John 11-25) “the Resurrection and the Life?”.
2. THEN HIS DISCIPLES WERE COMPLETELY DECEIVED. For this was the keynote of their joyful testimony. (Acts 4:2) “They taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead”. When their Lord was crucified, the disciples were of all men the most miserable, hiding in shame from their countrymen. But suddenly they became the most joyful and courageous of mortals.
What had happened? They had seen their Lord rise from the tomb.
3. THEN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IS A GIGANTIC FRAUD. It would be a magnificent structure, without any foundation. If there was no empty grave on the third day, then this is the emptiest thing on earth. It is built on the supposition that Christ rose from the dead. If He did not rise from the grave, then how are we to account for its strength and longevity all these years?
4. THEN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE IS A GRAND DELUSION. Our assurance of forgiveness, our joy in being justified in the light of God, our peace of heart and mind, our answered prayers, our sweet fellowship with God, our bright hopes for the world to come, are all imaginary; and all the millions in every age who have had these experiences have been betrayed.
5. IF NOT WE WHO BELIEVE IN IMMORTALITY HAVE BEEN LIVING IN A FOOL’S PARADISE. Instead of “departing to be with Christ,” those who have died in this faith have simply perished. The joys, hopes, and visions of the dying Christian have all been destroyed. Their expectation of seeing Jesus and meeting the loved ones gone before have been but a treacherous empty fancy. Their whole life has been a mere hallucination.
6. THEN WE ARE OF ALL MEN MOST MISERABLE. Charles Spurgeon said, “For we, of all men, have stood on the highest pinnacle of expectation, having the brightest outlook and the most confident hopes of any other man. It means for us to be cast down from the high tower of our personal blessedness into the abyss of darkness and despair. If Christ be not risen then the Christian life is but a ghastly mirage, for there will be no resurrection of the dead (v. 12), our preaching has been in vain, and our faith is also vain (v. 14).”
We have been false witnesses, and we are yet in our sins, and all who have died in the faith are perished (v. 18).
II. BUT NOW IS CHRIST RISEN (V. 20).
What a joyful ring there is in this shout. It is like the blast of the trumpet of victory. “Now is Christ risen,” and the foundations of Hell have been shaken. The sun has risen in His strength and scattered the darkness, and brought health and beauty with His healing beams. “Now is Christ risen.”
1. THEN OUR PREACHING IS NOT IN VAIN. The great commission still stands: “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore.”
(Matthew 28:18-20). “Lo, I (the Risen One) am with you alway.” He will not fail you. The Gospel of the Risen Christ is still the power of
God unto salvation to every believer.
2. THEN OUR FAITH IS NOT VAIN. We are not trusting a dead Savior, but one who is “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11: 25). It is no vain thing to trust in the Living Lord, who had the power to lay down His life and to take it again. He who conquered death and the grave can easily restore our sickly faith and raise our dying efforts from the tomb of uselessness.
3. THEN WE ARE NOT NOW IN OUR SINS (v. 17). He died for our sins, “but He rose again for our justification.”
His death paid the price. His resurrection was the evidence that God had accepted the price paid for our redemption. Now we who believe are accepted in Him, being raised together with Him in the purpose of God.