Thursday, 12 March 2015
Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 1 Corinthians 15:18
Paul has been noting the consequences which would exist if Christ is not risen. The list has been sobering –
1) Preaching the gospel is empty
2) The faith of the believer is also empty
3) The apostles are actually found to be false witnesses of God
4) The believer’s faith is futile
5) All remain in bondage to their sins
Now he notes another saddening consequence. If Christ hasn’t risen, “then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” If someone called on a dead “Lord,” then they are “in” that dead Lord. Because He is dead, when they die (Paul continues with the theme of “falling asleep” because his words are rhetorical), then they will “have perished.”
A dead “Lord” who is not raised can certainly not raise another! Therefore, it is the end of the line for those who followed him as Lord. The dreams of a future restoration were lost. The efforts they put forth for their trusted Lord were wasted. The things they taught their own family and friends were lies. And the stake they were burned at, or the bullet which ended their life as they called out “I am Yours, O Christ” was of no merit. If Christ is not risen, then all of the hopes, dreams, aspirations, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, heartfelt prayers, and longing desires for His return… it was all misguided waste.
Paul will show the final consequence of such a notion in the coming verse.
Life application: There are a jillion religions on earth and the adherents of those various religions all believe that they are pursuing the true avenue to spiritual healing. And yet, only one can be true if God is truly God. There is but one way to be restored to our Creator and it is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The resurrection proves this is so, and the resurrection is not a mere vain hope. Instead, it is the truth of God. Be confident that your faith in Christ will be rewarded with eternal life in His wondrous presence.
Lord God, as the seasons begin to change, I adapt according to them – always being prepared for what is coming. In the winter, I have different preparations than the summer. In the spring, I look for different pleasures than I do in the fall. I know the timing of the seasons and what to expect. How much more then should I be prepared for the changing seasons of my life! An early winter storm may be unexpected and I need to be equipped. And my last breath may come today – have I properly prepared? Give me wisdom to remember that my span is set by You and that I need to be prepared for that day. Help me to use my time rightly. Amen.