If Jesus did not physically rise from the dead, the following is true of every single Christian who ever lives:
- Preaching is vanity (1 Cor. 15:14). Every sermon you’ve ever preached or ever listened to is a massive waste of your time.
- The Christian faith is false (1 Cor. 15:14). Without the resurrection of Jesus the Christian faith is without good news (gospel) and Jesus is a colossal failure. To be a Christian is to take the name of a dead man who died naked, crucified on a cross, in front of his family, friends, and enemies two-thousand years ago. No Christ–no royal Messiah–would ever die this way. Therefore your belief is meaningless, foolishness, and without validity.
- You are bearing false witness against God (15:15). In other words, you’re saying the God of the universe did something he never did. How dare you speak of God in such a way! Who do you think you are?
- All of those who have died before you trusting Christ–are just that dead, dead, and dead (15:18). If there is no resurrection their end is the grave. Quit comforting yourself with after-life foolishness if Jesus did not rise.
- You live a pitiable life (15:19). Pathetic, really. You testify to a mythical legend. The monetary, familial, and physical sacrifices you have made for the advance of the gospel have been wasted. Your striving against sin and your resistance to temptations is just unnecessary psychological pressure you have placed on yourself. You may even die for your faith, if it comes to that, for nothing.
- You should indulge in as much sin as possible (15:34). Enjoy all that this world offers. Get on with your life. All that “God’s word” said to avoid–experience. In fact, sin isn’t really sin at all. You don’ t need to be saved from anything let alone saved from some kind of fictional internal religious defilement called sin.
- Death was stronger than Jesus, and Jesus’ claims are false (15:20-28). The last enemy–Death–has not been defeated but remains the end of every human being. Even someone like Jesus of Nazareth, thought of by many to be a great and ethical human being, is simply dead. Death is it–the end for everybody without exception.
But. If Jesus did rise from the dead–and there is credible evidence that he did–therefore the reverse is true. Jesus reversed the effects of sin and death by dying in the place of sinners in accordance with the Old Testament, was actually buried, physically rose to life three days later, and vindicated this by physically appearing to his closest friends and more than 500 people at one time (1 Cor. 15:3-6).
Since Jesus has risen from death, therefore as a Christian you can live this kind of life: “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Why? Because Jesus rose from the dead, and, someday, so will you (1 Cor. 15:22).