If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
–1 Corinthians 15:14
What if the whole idea of resurrection is fiction? Does it really make that much difference? Paul said yes. Beginning in 1 Corinthians 15:12, he gave the consequences of no resurrection. The first consequence, Paul said, is Christ is not risen from the dead. Look at verse 13: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised.” The Gnostics said that Jesus rose from the dead spiritually, but the New Testament said He was flesh and blood. In 1 John 1:1 the apostle wrote, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life.” John was saying, “We were there. We saw Him. We touched Him. He was a human being, and He rose from the dead.”
Second, if there is no resurrection, our preaching is useless. 1 Corinthians 15:14 says, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain.” There’s no reason for me to preach if there is no resurrection. There is no reason for you to come to church if there is no resurrection. If there’s no such thing as resurrection, the Bible is just a nice book about a nice man who went around saying nice things to people. Anybody want to hear that week after week? I sure don’t. If there is no resurrection, preaching is in vain.
Third, if there is no resurrection, our faith is meaningless. Look at verse 14 again: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” Do you remember the faith you exercised to become a Christian? That was just an emotion. It wasn’t faith. You know that faith you have told people about that sustained you in a difficult circumstance? That was a sham. It didn’t exist. You know that faith you said empowered you when you lost a loved one? That was just your imagination. Faith is meaningless, Paul said, if there is no resurrection.
Fourth, if there is no resurrection, all Christians are liars. Verse 15 says, “Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.” Paul was saying, “If Christ wasn’t raised from the dead, the apostles and I are all liars, because we’ve testified that He rose from the dead.” Do you believe that all the apostles were liars? Except for one, every one of them died an excruciating death because they believed in a resurrection. You may say, “Lots of religious people die for a lie.” That’s true. There are fanatics who die for a lie, but they think it’s the truth. Nobody in his right mind dies for a lie they know is a lie. But if there is no resurrection, every one of the apostles died for something they knew wasn’t true. And everybody who’s ever proclaimed the resurrection since that time is a liar. Martin Luther is a liar. D. L. Moody is a liar. Billy Graham is a liar. And not only are they liars, but that godly grandparent or parent who led you to Christ is a liar as well. That is the consequence 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.