Without the resurrection of Jesus there is no valid Christian faith. Yet some people in the church in Corinth believed their pagan culture which said that resurrection cannot happen. They were denying the gospel, and Paul was determined to expose their poisoning of the congregation. Otherwise, the church would lose assurance of their salvation and would not be able to proclaim His saving power to a sinful world ... it would lose its purpose and risked being removed (Revelation 2:4-5). So Paul laid out the implications of the false claim that Jesus did not rise from death.
Paul first puts his apostolic integrity on the line. If the resurrection of Jesus did not happen then the apostles would have been liars. Worse than that, they would have lied about God; they would have been blasphemers. If there had been no resurrection, Paul would have been a fool to have given away his comfortable and powerful position as a leading Jewish theological Rabbi (Philippians 3:4-6) and suffered much (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Whatever the church thought about him, they knew he was no fool nor a liar.
Paul then used the integrity of logic. Without the resurrection, the gospel would be a cruel deception. If Jesus did not rise there would be no evidence that Father God had accepted His sacrifice and forgiven those who believed in Him. If Jesus was still dead, all the believers who had died would also be lost for ever. If there was no resurrection, all those who have trusted in Jesus would have believed a vain hope, eternal life would be a fraudulent promise and Christians should be pitied as pathetic fools if their lives were built on a lie.
But Paul knew the integrity of personal and shared experience. He had met the living Jesus and been personally commissioned as His apostle. He continued to preach the gospel because he was fully confident, along with all the other apostles and hundreds of other eye witnesses (Luke 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:5-7), that Jesus really did rise from the dead. The resurrection assures us that our sins are forgiven; that we can be certain of being welcomed into heaven, and that we will be given new immortal bodies when Jesus comes again. Until then we have a real relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, receiving the love of God and the power which the Holy Spirit gives. So let us reflect on the massive and unique truth that Jesus was raised from the dead, and tell others the amazing truth which transforms both life and death.
© Dr Paul Adams