1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Ask an unthinkable question: What if Jesus Christ had stayed in that tomb?
Paul deals with that question in 1 Corinthians 15. Here are six tragic things that would be true if Christ were still in that grave.
If Christ never rose, preaching would be profitless.
Every liberal preacher who does not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ ought to go get an honest job. This is the Gospel: “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3b-4). Without that, we have no Gospel to preach.
If Christ never rose, faith would be foolish.
“And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Why put faith in a dead Messiah?
How do we know that Jesus is the Son of God? Because He was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4a).
If Christ never rose, the disciples would be deceivers.
Paul goes on, “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” (1 Corinthians 15:15).
The disciples said, “We have seen Him, touched Him!” (Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Luke 24:36-42.) Why would they lie? They were tortured, burned at the stake. They reddened the mouths of lions. Hypocrites and martyrs are not made of the same stuff!
If Christ never rose, sin would be sovereign.
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17)
You are a sinner (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12, 3:11), and you have no hope of forgiveness apart from the death of Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
How do we know that God accepted the sacrifice of Calvary? By the resurrection. (See Romans 4:25.)
If Christ never rose, death would have dominion.
“Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Corinthians 15:18). If Christ did not rise again, all that any of us can look forward to is the grave.
But death does not have dominion! Christ is risen!
Ancient pagans and Christians buried their dead in the catacombs underneath Rome.
Here are some inscriptions the pagans left for their dead:
Live for the present hour, since we are sure of nothing else.
I will lift up my hands against the gods who took me away at the age of 20, though I had done no harm.
Now read some for the Christians.
Carried away by the angels. Called, he went in peace.
Victorious in life, victorious in peace, and victorious in Christ.
If Christ never rose, the future would be fearful.
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). A wise man once said, “If Jesus Christ is still in that grave, nothing really matters. But if Jesus Christ came out of that grave, nothing else really matters.”
You are going to die. You will be gone. But gone where? What is your future? Is it fearful? Jesus lives. The question is, do you? You do not have real life until you know the Lord Jesus Christ.