Concerning the resurrection the apostle Paul wrote, “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? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Cor. 15:12-14). If we read over this text quickly, we might not pick up all of the significance of what Paul said.
First, Paul was speaking from the assumption that the reader accepts the fact that Christ arose from the grave. The phrase “Now if” at the beginning of vs. 12 has the sense of “Now since.” It could be rephrased along the line, “Since Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead…” And, the tenor of the verse is such that this preaching is accepted as truth by the reader. In other words, “We all know and believe the truth that Christ has been raised from the dead.”
The resurrection of Christ is not really being questioned in this verse. In fact, the certainty of its having happened is used as a point of reference and guarantee for the real subject of these several verses. If we live faithfully in the teachings of Christ we can be assured of our own resurrection at the final judgment.
Paul asked the rhetorical question, “If you believe that Christ arose from the grave, why do some of you have a problem believing that we shall also arise?” The sense of his reasoning is, “If you believe in Christ’s resurrection,” (and they did), “then you can be assured of our resurrection.” Christ’s resurrection guarantees our resurrection!
What an incredible promise! Death is not the end. We shall live on, for eternity! We can be assured of this because we know that our Lord arose from the grave, victorious over death.
Now it is important that we grasp the gravity of this doctrine. Christ arose from the grave. Because He arose, we are promised that we shall also arise. If we cannot expect to arise from the grave, then He is not risen. He arose, we shall arise. We shall arise because He arose. That’s not double-talk. Both resurrections- Christ’s and ours- are inseparably connected. If He did not arise from the dead, then we will not arise on that final day of judgment. If Christ did come forth from the grave, then so will we.
Our resurrection at judgment is certain because of the certainty of Christ’s resurrection almost two thousand years ago. If either one is not truth, then neither one is truth. Either both are true, or neither is true. If we do not rise, then Christ is not risen. If Christ arose, then we are assured that we shall arise. Christ did arise, and as a result we are assured of our resurrection. Just another blessing bestowed upon us through the resurrection of Christ…
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Gary L. Hutchens