30 “And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’”
We come now to the second and third incentives of believing in the resurrection for ministry:
Incentive because of salvation, 15:29
Incentive to service, 15:30-32
Incentive for sanctification, 15:33-34
The second incentive is service (vv. 30-32).
And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?
Paul continues his argument for the resurrection. “Why do I risk life and limb?” It makes no sense to put ourselves in bodily danger every hour if there is no resurrection. Christians willingly face death because they believe in the resurrection.
Ro 8:36, As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
1 Ti 4:10, For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
Paul asserts a pledge to the Corinthians to certify his genuineness in believing the resurrection. His statements are no mere rhetorical affirmations. This issue lay at the heart of the apostle. His life was a powerful statement about the resurrection.
by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Paul’s founding of the church at Corinth was the basis of his pledge.
I die daily.
His pledge showed the genuineness of courting the daily peril of losing his life. He constantly risked life and limb in ministry.
If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus,
One case of his dying daily was fighting with beasts at Ephesus. Paul writes from Ephesus. The “beasts” here may not be wild animals but figurative for antagonistic human opponents acting like wild beasts. As a Roman citizen, Paul would not have fought with wild animals. Possible candidates for these human wild beasts were Demetrius and Alexander (Ac 19:24-41; 2 Ti 4:14). “Wild beasts” may also be the wild crowds at Ephesus incited against him by Demetrius (Ac 19:23-34).
what advantage is it to me?
What profit would there be in Paul risking his life if the dead do not rise if he operated in the manner of men? Paul keeps his perspective on eternal values.
If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
This is a quote from Isaiah 22:13. If there is no resurrection, then we might as well live for the present. This is unadulterated hedonism – the Hugh Heffner philosophy. Isaiah 22:13 is the exclamation of people in Jerusalem during the siege by the Assyrians. This philosophy of libertinism is indicative of a dissolute and empty life.
Those who believe in the resurrection live with eternal values in view.
Paul’s ad hominem arguments from his life experiences show his burning conviction of the resurrection of the body from the dead. This is why Christians do not believe the commercial, “You only go around once in this life, so grab all the gusto you can get” – they believe with passion in a future resurrection. They keep eternal values in view.
2 Co 4:17, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
Christians are willing to suffer for the work of Christ because of their future.
Ro 8:18, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
The crying shame of the church today is the glaring difference between what we believe and how we behave. There is little correlation between doctrine and deeds or creed and conduct with some Christians. High talk and no walk is a problem. We quote the Bible by the mile and live it by the inch.