Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 4, 1964
NUMBER 5, PAGE 2,12b

If Christ Be Not Raised

Donald R. Givens

If Jesus Christ has not risen from the grave; if indeed there be no resurrection at all; then we are of all men most miserable or pitiable. The apostle Paul impresses this on our minds in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. If our Savior did not triumph over the grave, then there is absolutely no assurance that we can do such, During the time of Paul many were saying there was no resurrection of the dead. Paul argues against this false teaching in these verses.

Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Christ was raised from the dead — it stands. If He was not raised the third day — it falls. The resurrection of our Lord was and should be today the basis of all the preaching done by the disciples. Peter, beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:24, 32) and later on Solomon's porch (Acts 3:15) and still later at the household of Cornelius (Acts 10:40) was constantly preaching concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This Jesus did God raise up" was the wonderful theme of all of Peter's preaching. Not only Peter, but the rest of the disciples also.

If Christ was raised from the dead — then He is the Son of God, but if He was not raised — then He cannot be the Son of God. The resurrection is proof of His divinity. He was triumphant over death, and because He was victorious we shall be also. But Paul was cognizant of the fact that there were some people among the Corinthians that did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, so he now writes in refutation of this false assumption. Paul names five things that would naturally follow IF Christ be not raised.

The apostle stated in verse 14 "and if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain." All of the preaching that Paul and the other disciples did was worthless and void IF Christ has not risen from the dead. Their preaching was empty, useless and vain if Christ was not resurrected. His resurrection was the theme and heart of their messages, but if it was a lie then all of their messages were in vain. All preachers today who preach concerning the resurrection of the Lord are wasting their time and their efforts are worthless IF Jesus did not rise the third day. Paul's preaching at Athens (Acts 17:31) was nonsense and useless if Christ was not raised from the grave. One cannot be a Christian yet deny the resurrection of our Savior. He would be no Savior and no Lord IF He was not raised from the dead. Not only is all preaching vain if Christ was not raised, but Paul continues "your faith also is vain." Faith in Jesus is worthless, null and void IF He did not rise from the tomb. Faith in a man who claims he was to rise from the dead (Matthew 12:3840) but yet did not — would be a vain faith. Christianity is a religion of faith. We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7) but this faith is useless (no matter how strong it may be) if Jesus did not rise. Though we may have great and strong faith in Christ — it is worthless faith IF He was not resurrected! If Jesus was not raised, then our faith is vain because there is no fact to he believed, but only falsehood. Either Jesus was raised — therefore He is the Christ, the Son of God; or He was not raised — and is therefore a fake and imposter. If Jesus was a fake and imposter, then all faith in Him would he worthless and vain. Faith that saves is a faith in a resurrected Savior. Faith in a man who was crucified and buried and never rose is a worthless faith.

Paul continues with another affirmation: "Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we witnessed of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead are not raised." (1 Cor. 15:15) The apostles who claimed to be witnesses of the resurrected Jesus are found liars and false witnesses IF Jesus was not raised. They bore false testimony. They preached and taught a lie. The theme of their every message was a lie IF Christ is not risen. If the apostles falsified concerning this main doctrine; how can we believe them in anything they taught? If they told a lie here, how do we not know they told lies elsewhere? Paul is trying to convince the Corinthians that everything stands or falls with the validity of the resurrection of our Lord. If Christ was not raised, and we preach today that He was — then we bear false testimony and are liars also.

The apostle carries it even further: "For if the dead are not raised, neither hath Christ been raised: and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." (vv. 16, 17) If there be no resurrection of the dead — then we are still in our sins. If Jesus was not raised, then there is no remission of sins. There is no saving power in His blood if He was not raised from the tomb. He would have no "endless life" and be our high priest if He was not risen from the dead. (Hebrews 7:16, 25) This is a terrible consequence of affirming that there is no resurrection. You and I are still in our sins and iniquity and will be lost forever if Jesus our Lord did not rise that first day of the week! But not only this, "then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ have perished." All those who have passed on from this life, though they lived and died in the Lord, have perished and shall never be resurrected! They have no hope and neither do we. Death ends it all. Mankind is without hope and has absolutely no guarantee of immortality if Jesus did not rise. Jesus was wrong as He could possibly be in Luke 20:34-38 if the dead be not raised. Jesus claimed that the dead certainly would be raised, but if they are not, as some among the Corinthians were teaching — then Jesus is found to be a liar also. To claim that there is no resurrection is tantamount to blasphemy, for it calls God and His Son liars and false teachers. The hope of our own resurrection and the hope of heaven in the hereafter, rest on the resurrection of Jesus our Savior.

If Jesus was raised from the dead — then He is the Christ, the king of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our preaching is not in vain and faith in Him is not worthless and we who are Christians are not still held by our sins, and those who have fallen asleep in Jesus have not perished but only wait the resurrection morn! We see how glorious a fact is the resurrection of our Lord.

Paul emphasizes his former argument by adding: "If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable." (v. 19) How true it is. If we have only hope concerning Christ in this life, and no hope of a future life — then we are certainly to be pitied. We are miserable men. If there is no resurrection from the dead, then Christians are living in hope of what shall never come to pass. We live for a lie and we die for a lie. We have vain faith and worthless hope. We teach a false doctrine and serve a perished Lord. All of this is true IF the dead are NOT raised.

The entire superstructure of Christianity rests on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The evidence is sufficient to prove that He certainly did rise from the dead. If He arose — we shall arise! Some day you and I are going to rise from the grave to either meet Jesus in the air or depart into eternal hell fire. Which will it be? May we so live and die as to be among that number to which the Lord shall say "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

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