By Rolland W. Fritz
In regard to the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead and that we will be raised from the dead, Paul the apostle said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19). That there will be a resurrection from the dead, Paul affirms there is no doubt, for Christ’s resurrection is proof of the fact of resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-8) and Christ promises all will be resurrected (Jn. 5:28-29).
Hope In This Life Because Of Resurrection
The main blessing we can receive now is because of the resurrection of Jesus which Paul discusses here in the fifteenth chapter of first Corinthians. We are saved by the gospel containing the story of Christ’s resurrection (15:1-2). Paul said he preached it, they received it, they stood in it and are saved by it. He then reiterates for them what he had delivered unto them when he told them of Christ’s resurrection:
1. Christ died for our sins (3).
2. He was buried (4).
3. He rose the 3rd day (4).
4. He was seen (5-8).
If There Was No Resurrection
The teaching that there was no resurrection from the dead was taught among the Corinthians and other brethren. Paul shows the inconsistency of this false teaching inasmuch as they also believed that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead. He reasoned:
If There Is No Resurrection From The Dead:
1. Christ is not risen (13, 16).
2. Apostle’s preaching vain (14).
3. Corinthian’s faith vain (14).
4. Apostles are false witnesses (15).
5. Corinthians yet in sin (17).
6. Dead in Christ perished (18).
It is at this point that Paul concludes his affirmation with the statement, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).
Hope In This Life
Peter explains that to have hope in this life means being begotten to an incorruptible inheritance in heaven by a resurrection from the dead (1 Pet. 1:3-5). Paul says this begettal of the Corinthians was by the gospel (1 Cor. 4:15). James adds that it is by the word (Jas. 1:18). This is a spiritual birth, not a physical one (Jn. 3:3,5,7). Our hope includes a number of other things too, like those found at 1 Peter 1:4-9.
1. An inheritance in heaven (4).
2. Being kept by God’s power unto salvation (5).
3. Receiving the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls (9).
We Have Hope In Christ In This Life.
This means hope now (1 Cor. 15:19). We don’t have to be in darkness on this, because “whatsoever things were written beforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). Let us notice that the faithful have confidence of salvation and resurrection now and don’t have to wait and wonder. This occurs “in Christ” (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:7). Sins are forgiven when we contact the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rom. 5:9; Rev. 7:14). We have constant cleansing from sins if we walk in the light (1 Jn. 1:7). God’s Word tells us when and how we come into contact with the blood of Christ. We come into contact with the blood of Christ, receiving forgiveness or remission of sins when, as a repentant believer, we are baptized into Christ for that purpose (Acts 2:38; 8:22; Rom. 6:3-6).
We Have Hope In Heaven After This Life
If we are saved, we have been added to Jesus Christ and to His church by the Lord Himself (Acts 2:47). It is quite obvious in Scripture that we are added to the Lord’s church when we become saved from sins (Acts 2:38,41,47). Having been saved from sins and added to the Lord’s church, we must remain faithful to the Lord to be saved at the end (Rev. 2: 10; 3:10; Mt. 24:13).
What Is Your Hope?
Christ loved and purchased His church with His blood (Eph. 5:23; Acts 20:28). The hope of every member of the Lord’s church who remains faithful unto death is reserved for them in heaven (1 Pet. 1:4; Col. 1:5). Dear friend, may God’s grace include you among the faithful that you might share this wonderful hope of eternal inheritance, for “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).
Guardian of Truth XXX: 16, p. 499
August 21, 1986