Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians that he preached a gospel that had been given to him by the Lord. And he went on to explain that that gospel was no strange gospel. It was a clear gospel. It was the gospel that Peter and the apostles were also preaching. It was so clear that it could be distinguished from the countless false religions (and even pseudo-gospels) of the day.
He preached that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Paul clearly proclaimed that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were “of first importance.” Both events are fundamental to the Christian faith, the foundation without with our faith would crumble into a million pieces. Some of the Corinthians had obviously forgotten this truth, so the apostle had to remind them.
Today, people talk a great deal about the Cross of Christ and its resulting effects on the Christian life, sometimes without placing an equal emphasis on his resurrection and its impact. The resurrection also has great implications for the Christian, Paul said to the church at Corinth.
A Christianity without the resurrection of Christ would be a weak one. According to Paul, without the resurrection of Christ, his preaching of the gospel was in vain, the faith of the Corinthians was worthless, they were all still in their sins, the apostles were liars for saying God raised Christ from the dead, and the dead in Christ were never to rise again. Finally, Paul wrote that they were to be pitied because they had hope in this life only.
But Christ did rise on the third day. They had hope beyond this life on earth, and so do we. But we often live as though our hope is in this life alone. Many of our pursuits in this world only exist because we strongly desire to acquire all that can be gotten in this life. We heap for ourselves treasures on earth, forgetting that moth and rust and thieves can take them away from us.
The resurrection of Christ liberates the Christian from the struggle to obtain satisfaction and fulfillment in this life alone. If we think this life is all there is, then we would invest all we have in this life without any thought of life beyond this dying world.
A hopeless man is one who invests all he has in this life because he thinks this life is all there is. He doesn’t look beyond this world. He really has nothing to look forward to.
But we are not without hope. We are not miserable. We are not be pitied. And regardless of our lots here on earth, we do hope for that city with eternal foundations, where we would be with our Lord. And that is hope indeed.