And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.

1 Corinthians 15:19

“…if our hope in Christ is only for this life…” (1 Corinthians 15:19) – be sure to read verses 18 and 19 in full.

A popular contemporary Christian song back in my youth group days was If Heaven Never was Promised to Me. The song tried to convey the idea that a person did not follow Jesus for the sole purpose of getting to heaven – even if there was no heaven, it was still worth following Jesus in this life only.

It is a well – meaning sentiment, with some truth to it, but today’s reading argues strongly against it!

In verse 18, Paul says if Christ has not been raised, then every person who has already died believing in Jesus has “perished.” It is a strong word which means to be ruined or to have lost your well-being.

And what of those who are still alive and following Jesus? Well, they are miserable, the most pitiable people in the whole world! (v19)

Considering what Paul has said previously, he wants to reinforce the fact that a Saviour who is still in the grave has no power at all to set people free from their sin. When they die, they will certainly not be going to heaven and instead of the hope of being resurrected into a new heaven and earth, their bones will lie rotting in the grave for eternity.

The whole purpose of God in sending Jesus to die and rise again was for our relationship with Him to be restored and giving us the hope of living with Him in eternal relationship, in His Presence, in Heaven.

A salvation which offers anything less than that, is no salvation at all. In fact, it is worthless – it is completely incapable of producing any worthwhile result and is totally aimless – a point Paul makes several times in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

Christianity without the resurrection is just as ineffective as any other belief system because it cannot forgive sin or give new life.

Is it worth serving Jesus in this life? It certainly is! But the Christian faith is also built on the hope of us spending eternity face to face with the One Who made us, joyfully serving Him.

And that hope is founded on the bedrock of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead!

For reflection: What excites you when you think about heaven?

A popular contemporary Christian song back in my youth group days was If Heaven Never was Promised to Me. The song tried to convey the idea that a person did not follow Jesus for the sole purpose of getting to heaven – even if there was no heaven, it was still worth following Jesus in this life only.

It is a well – meaning sentiment, with some truth to it, but today’s reading argues strongly against it!

In verse 18, Paul says if Christ has not been raised, then every person who has already died believing in Jesus has “perished.” It is a strong word which means to be ruined or to have lost your well-being.

And what of those who are still alive and following Jesus? Well, they are miserable, the most pitiable people in the whole world! (v19)

Considering what Paul has said previously, he wants to reinforce the fact that a Saviour who is still in the grave has no power at all to set people free from their sin. When they die, they will certainly not be going to heaven and instead of the hope of being resurrected into a new heaven and earth, their bones will lie rotting in the grave for eternity.

The whole purpose of God in sending Jesus to die and rise again was for our relationship with Him to be restored and giving us the hope of living with Him in eternal relationship, in His Presence, in Heaven.

A salvation which offers anything less than that, is no salvation at all. In fact, it is worthless – it is completely incapable of producing any worthwhile result and is totally aimless – a point Paul makes several times in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

Christianity without the resurrection is just as ineffective as any other belief system because it cannot forgive sin or give new life.

Is it worth serving Jesus in this life? It certainly is! But the Christian faith is also built on the hope of us spending eternity face to face with the One Who made us, joyfully serving Him.

And that hope is founded on the bedrock of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead!

For reflection: What excites you when you think about heaven?