Can a person be a Christian but not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead? The apostle Paul says that denying Christ’s resurrection brings tragic results. We list three of them below.
Result #1) An Empty Faith and Preaching
“If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Here is the first tragic result of denying the bodily resurrection of Jesus: our preaching and faith are in vain.
If Christ did not rise, we are wasting our time when we study His Word at home and in church and when we worship with fellow believers.
If Christ did not rise, then the Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the apostles Peter and Paul were all liars.
And not only would the New Testament writers be liars, but the Old Testament prophets had to be lying as well when they prophesied of the resurrection of the Messiah and of all those who believe in Him. If Christ is not risen, then our entire religion is based on a chain of deceptions.
However, to deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the basic lie. There were hundreds of people who witnessed the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus told them to tell the world that He was no longer dead but alive.
These people didn’t keep it to themselves but passed the factual truth of the resurrection on to others. Our Christian faith is based on the words of those eye-witnesses. St. Paul says that if Christ is not risen, then “we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up…” (1 Corinthians 15:15).
Result #2) Still in Our Sins
According to Paul, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17) Our faith is futile—“good for nothing”—if it is based on a dead Jesus Christ.
Of course, faith in and of itself does not establish fact. Faith is only as good as the object one believes in. People have faith in Buddha, in Krishna, and other false gods; such a faith is not going to save them on Judgment day.
The same is true for Christians. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then His work for our redemption was not complete, and we are still in our sins. That means we would remain guilty before God and receive the just condemnation for our sins.
Result #3) No Life After Death
If Christ is not risen, Paul adds, “Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Corinthians 15:18). If Christ did not rise, then there is no promise of eternal life.
Our bodily resurrection from death is based on Christ’s resurrection. If Christ did not rise, then there is no hope in a life to come…
Our bodily resurrection from death is based on Christ’s resurrection. If Christ did not rise, then there is no hope in a life to come—neither for our loved ones who have died in Christ, nor for us.
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
But Now Christ IS Risen!!
Christianity without a risen Savior and without the sure and certain hope of our own resurrection from the grave is worse than no religion at all. If Christ is not risen, then we are the biggest fools who have ever lived, for our entire life is based on a fable.
“…But now Christ is risen from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20). The truth of Christ’s bodily resurrection shows the many and great blessings which are ours because of that resurrection. Our entire faith-living rests on the resurrection, and God has given us good reason to be confident in it. Christ is risen, and as a result our faith and preaching are not in vain, our sins are forgiven, the dead in Christ are living in heaven, and we are of all people the most blessed!
Thanks be to God that Jesus did rise from the dead—and for all the blessings which we receive along with His resurrection.
“But now Christ is risen from the dead!” Yes, He is risen indeed! ”