16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
The fifth consequence is that Christ did not rise from the dead (repeat of verse 13). If the dead do not rise, then believers will not meet Him in heaven. His body would still lie in the Middle East.
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile;
The sixth consequence is a futile faith. The word “futile” means void of useful aim or content. If Christ did not rise, then our faith in Him is to no purpose. If we do not believe in the resurrection, then our faith is useless – it will not do anything. It will not comfort those who sorrow. It would be an imitation or synthetic faith. It would not stand up under the stress and strain of life.
you are still in your sins!
In addition, the seventh consequence would be that there can be no forgiveness of sins and no anticipation of eternal life. Christians would embrace a shadow of reality, not reality itself. If so, we ought to junk Christianity. The cross of Calvary would be nothing more than a tragic ending – no salvation, no eternal life.
Jn 8:24, Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Re 14:13, Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (This is the right way to die!)
Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
The eighth consequence is that Christians already dead remain dead. “Perished” is the opposite of salvation (Jn 3:16; 1 Co 1:18); it means to be lost forever.
The spirit or the soul does not sleep; only the body sleeps in death. God separates the soul and spirit from the body at death, but the body will be restored to the immaterial part of man at the resurrection.
Da 12:2, And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
1 Th 5:23, Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
The ninth and last consequence of no resurrection is that Christianity would be a very pitiable belief system. If there is no life beyond this life, then those who believe in heaven believe a lie. Most everyone lives for this world, not the next, for it is the only world most people see. Christians have hope beyond the grave. They do not believe that death will end in the bleak, barren terminus of the grave. Jesus “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Ti 1:10).
Ti 1:2, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
1 Pe 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
we are of all men the most pitiable.
Pity poor Christians if there is no resurrection, for they are deluded idiots. What a pity that martyrs gave their lives for Christ! No, when Christians stand by a freshly made grave, they have a faith that sustains them because they will see their loved ones again. There is as much difference between a Christian funeral and a pagan funeral as there is between night and day.
The resurrection of Christ and our resurrection stand and fall together.
Karl Marx said that religion was the opiate of the people. The implication is that if people believe in Christianity, then they believe in a pipe dream. Many today believe Christianity is a delusion, for to them, it is a narrow belief held by the hoodwinked.
All values of Christianity rest on the central fact of the resurrection. The resurrection gives man higher ideals than to eat, drink, and be happy. If we deny the resurrection, then we are dishonest to call ourselves Christian. Job in the Old Testament declared that he would see God in his body:
Job 19:26, “And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God.”
Jesus made many assertions about the resurrection:
Jn 11:25, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
Paul clearly made the same point:
2 Co 4:14, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
1 Th 4:16, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.