1 Corinthians 15:12-19 "Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied."

What are the benefits of trusting the living God Who: (1) sent His son to earth; (2) allowed His son to stress His priorities and purposes during the son’s ministry; (3) sacrificed His son through execution; and (4) raised His son from death?

Are they seen in an ideal physical life? Christ’s cross says, “No!” The apostles’ deaths say, “No!” Christian martyrs say, “No!” Poverty stricken Christians say, “No!”

Are they seen in material advantages? Jesus’ teachings said, “No!” (See Matthew 6:19-34.) Paul said, “No!” (See Ephesians 4:28.) James said, “No!” (See James 5:1-6.)

Are they seen in incredible housing, unimaginable vehicles, secure retirements, or lavish inheritances? Everything above says, “No!”

Are they seen in a wonderful spiritual insurance policy that protects physical life? Death from natural causes, devastating disease, horrible accidents, random acts of murder, the enterprise of war, the terrorists’ merciless acts, and the ravages of poverty all say, “No!” Christians die, are diseased, experience accidents, physically suffer when war occurs around them, are victims of violence, and can lose material security.

Then what possibly are the benefits of faith in the living God? Consider some biblical understandings. We understand: (1) evil perverted all God’s intentions in physical existence; (2) the physical realm is so tainted by evil that God can never achieve His complete purposes in physical existence; (3) God will achieve His purposes and we will have our fulfillment when we live with Him; (4) physical death is not an end to life, but a transition to life as God intended it. Therefore, we confidently use this life for God in the expectation of experiencing life with God.

Why? We trust God’s resurrection of Jesus. If there was no resurrection, there is no reason to be a Christian, no benefits of faith in God. If that is the case, Paul said we are pitiful people who were deceived by lies.

The peace, joy, hope, and strength Christians have now are built on the foundation of Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection is the foundation of our resurrection.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 5 October 2003

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