Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 13, 1956
NUMBER 19, PAGE 1,15a

If Christ Hath Not Been Raised

Robert H. Farish, Lexington, Kentucky

"The Gospel" could properly be written over the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians as the heading of the chapter. In the first two verses the apostle states some general facts about his relation to 'the gospel — its reception by the Corinthians and its accomplishments in their behalf. In the third verse he states that in preaching the gospel unto them, he delivered that which he had received — in delivering that which he had received he was not delivering something he had received from man, but that which came to him "through revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:112.) Neither man nor his own experiences "taught" Paul the gospel; he was not taught it, it came to him by revelation.

In the third and fourth verses Paul gives the substance of the gospel which he had received and delivered unto the Corinthians who, in their turn, received it. Paul received it by revelation — the Corinthians by preaching. The facts of the gospel are given, viz: (1) The death of Christ for our sins; (2) His burial; (3) His resurrection. The body of this chapter is then given over to a detailed discussion of the third fact — the resurrection of Christ.

After introducing his specific subject, the resurrection of Christ, the apostle deals with the witnesses, naming some of them, and reminding the Corinthians that some of the witnesses were still alive at the time of his writing. The number and character of the witnesses to the fact of the resurrection precludes the possibility of collusion on the part of the witnesses. Among these witnesses the apostle includes himself — he was qualified as a witness, to the fact that Christ hath been raised, by seeing him after his resurrection. As a qualified witness Paul delivers his testimony that Christ bath been raised. Furthermore he declares that the other apostles preached the resurrection of Christ — "Whether then it be I or they, so we preach and so ye believed." (1 Cor. 15:11.)

The Resurrection Of Christ And The General Resurrection

In view of the fact that Christ was preached as raised from the dead Paul asks the question "How say among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" (1 Cor. 15:12.) Paul exposes the inconsistencies of claiming to believe the gospel of the resurrected Christ while at the same time rejecting the doctrine of the resurrection. The two go together — to give up one is to give up the other.

The inspired argument here shows that denial of one part of the doctrine of the gospel involves denial of the rest. Here is a significant commentary on the necessity not only of the apostles declaring the "whole council of God" but of men believing the "whole counsel of God." Partial faith is vain. "If the dead are not raised, neither hath Christ been raised." (v. 16.) Denial of the resurrection of the dead involves denial of the resurrection of Christ and this involves denial of the entire gospel system — "the whole counsel of God." A careful study of this inspired line of argument will impress us with the vital indispensable place occupied by the resurrection of Christ in the scheme of redemption.

"If Christ Bath Not Been Raised" — The Preaching Of The Apostles Is Vain" (1 Cor. 15:14A.)

That which the apostle preached was the gospel. (v. 1) He preached the same thing that the other apostles preached. (v. 11.) But here in verse 14 he says that "if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain." The gospel is void if Christ hath not been raised. No wonder it is not regarded as the "power of God unto salvation" by those who reject the miracles of the Bible. Naturally those who do not believe that "Christ hath been raised from the dead" would cry for a "social gospel."

The apostles are false witnesses "if Christ hath not been raised" because they witnessed that God had raised Christ from the dead. What possible dependence can be put in anything in the New Testament if those who wrote it are false witnesses.

"If Christ Bath Not Been Raised — Your Faith Is Vain" (1 Cor. 15:14B.)

Our creed is that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. But our faith is vain if Christ hath not been raised for it is by the resurrection of Christ that God declares that he is his Son. (Rom. 14.) If Christ hath not been raised he is not the Son of God — but rather is the rankest imposter — the cruelest deceiver ever to move among men.

"If Christ Bath Not Been Raised" — Ye Are Yet In Your Sins (1 Cor. 15:17.)

The fact of the death of Christ for our sins has no merit if Christ hath not been raised. On the night of his betrayal he said that his blood was poured out unto remission of sins. But if he hath not been raised, he is not God's Son, hence there is no more merit in the blood he shed than in the blood shed by the thieves who were crucified with him. His death was no more than the death of any other blasphemer, and if he bath not been raised he is a blasphemer for he claimed to be the Son of God. Remission of sins is not fact but is fancy if Christ hath not been raised — we are yet in our sins.

"If Christ Bath Not Been Raised" — Hope Is Limited To This Life (1 Cor. 15:19.)

"If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men moat pitiable." (v. 19.) If Christ hath not been raised then any hope in him must be limited to this life, hence "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die ..." Death terminates all hope if Christ hath not been raised. The hope of being like Christ when we see him "as he is" causes us to purify ourselves, to abstain from many things which the flesh desires — how pitiable we are if that hope is a delusion — "if we have only hoped in Christ in this life" — and such is the case "if Christ hath not been raised." The resurrection of Christ is that by which we are begotten again unto a living hope ("hope of life") — "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Peter 1:3.) The hope of life hereafter has no basis if "Christ bath not been raised." For the fact of his resurrection is the basis of the Christian's hope.


This study should impress upon us the danger of any erroneous doctrine. The need of the whole counsel of God is very apparent; nothing less will suffice. People are not begotten again unto hope of life by the fact that the church is "on the march" — by costly and pretentious cathedrals nor by appeals directed toward the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life — but by truly believing that Christ "hath been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep." (v. 20.) Our attention and energies should be focused on bringing men to believe. This is done by preaching the gospel. Zeal for preaching the gospel can exist only with those who are not ashamed of it; whose conviction is that it is the power of God unto salvation.

Let us all remove our minds from the "things which are upon the earth" and set them on "things that are above."