1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise.
We now turn to the next section in chapter 15 – the certainty of the believer’s resurrection rests on the certainty of the resurrection of Christ (15:12-34).
There are nine negative consequences for rejecting bodily resurrection (15:12-19). Paul appeals to logic to show the implications of not believing in bodily resurrection.
12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
The “if” assumes something true in the Greek, so the assumptions here are hypothetical assumptions of fact. Paul uses “if” seven times in verses 12-19. If there is no resurrection, then that belief drives us irresistibly to seven awful conclusions for there is no escape from these consequences. Paul takes the viewpoint of the Corinthians who did not believe in bodily resurrection from the dead. Pagan philosophy of that day believed the body was evil and would not go to heaven. The spirit would go through a series of situations to make it to the “fullness.” Evidently, some believers in the church at Corinth also believed that the body could not go to heaven but the spirit could.
Ac 17:32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.”
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.
The first negative consequence of not believing in bodily resurrection is Christ did not rise from the dead. He is still dead to this day. If this is so, then there is no genuine Christianity. Jesus would be like other religious leaders such as Buddha or Muhammad – dead in the ground. Christianity would be a cruel hoax foisted on the public. If Christ did not rise, then no one will rise from the dead.
14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
The second negative conclusion is that the Corinthian faith rested on a lie of the gospel. Preaching is so much puff and wind.
The third consequence is the believer’s faith then would be “empty” and without worth or significance because he put his trust in a dead man. We subvert the whole gospel by denying the resurrection. Our faith would be void of truth and reality.
15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise.
A fourth consequence is that not only do the apostles err but also they are “false witnesses” about God. Why believe anything about Christianity if preachers of the gospel are liars? They would be guilty of intentional lie.
PRINCIPLE: There are consequences to not believing the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
APPLICATION: There would be no reason to attend church or believe in Jesus as our Savior if there was no resurrection. It would all be a lie. On the other hand, there are great consequences to believing in His resurrection. One is that when we face God we will be vindicated for standing before Him:
Ro 4: 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification [vindication].