If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
–1 Corinthians 15:17
What are the consequences of no resurrection? If there is no resurrection, you are still in your sins. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” That is, your sins have not been forgiven if there is no resurrection. What does our forgiveness have to do with the resurrection? The resurrection, first of all, verifies the deity of Jesus Christ. It is the signal proof that Jesus was who He said He was. Romans 1:4 says Jesus “was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.” If He had remained in the grave, then Jesus would have been no different than you and me, but His resurrection proved He was the Son of God. Second, the resurrection verifies the sufficiency of Christ to pay for our sins. Romans 4:25 says Jesus “was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” That word “justification” means “to declare not guilty.” By Jesus’s resurrection, we were declared not guilty in the eyes of God. Why? Because the resurrection proved that God accepted Jesus’s payment for our sins. Had Jesus remained in the tomb, it would have meant that He died for His own sins. But the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead meant that He died for our sins. To pay off somebody else’s debt you have to be debt-free. To pay off somebody else’s sin you have to be sin-free, and only Jesus Christ was sin-free. That’s why in John 19:30, when He was dying, He said, “It is finished!” Paid in full. The resurrection verified that the sufficient sacrifice of Christ was accepted by God.
If there is no resurrection, then all of our Christian loved ones have perished. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:18, “Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” The Bible uses “fallen asleep” to describe what happens to Christians when they die. Paul said if there is no resurrection, then our Christian loved ones have perished. That word “perished” means “to be damned forever.” If there is no resurrection, then nobody’s sins have been paid for, and that means your loved ones who have died are burning in hell right now. They are experiencing the same torture as Osama bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, and Charles Manson. Do you believe that about your Christian loved ones?
Finally, Paul said as a climax, “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (v. 19). If there is no resurrection, if this life is all that there is, we who are Christians are the most miserable people in the world. Some people say, “If I come to the end of my life and discover this was just a myth, I’m still glad I am a Christian because I’ve lived the best way possible.” Have you heard that before? Rubbish, the apostle Paul says. If you are a Christian, it means you’ve sacrificed something. I’m sure Paul thought about what he’d sacrificed and endured: the beatings, the stonings, the imprisonments, the shipwrecks. He was saying, “If I find out there is no resurrection then I am the most miserable person in the world because I’ve given everything to follow a risen Christ.” That is the result of no resurrection.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “If Jesus Is Dead, So What?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.