Someone has said, "Christianity either stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead—disprove it, and you have disposed of Christianity forever."
Apparently, the apostle Paul felt the same way, as well. To him, the doctrine of the resurrection was not incidental but it was central to the Christian message. If the resurrection of Jesus was simply a mythical appendage to the life of Christ, then the whole Christian cause is rendered null and void.
If the resurrection didn’t happen, there are seven consequences:
1. Christ is not risen from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:12-13)
If there is no such thing as resurrection of the dead, then all this about Christ is a lie. Gnostics got around this by saying that Christ was not really human; He only appeared to be human. But that’s not the testimony of Scripture. Jesus Christ was born of a woman (Galatians 4:4), grew as a boy, ate, drank, slept, became tired, experienced loneliness, was crucified, and died. He was completely human and divine.
2. Preaching is useless. (1 Corinthians 15:14)
Resurrection was not a fictional addition to a nice story; it was essential to the Christian message. If not true, there is nothing worth preaching. The Bible is reduced to an Aesop fable. Christ was just a good man who died an untimely death. There is no victory over sin and death, and I am destined for an eternity of nothingness.
3. Faith is meaningless. (1 Corinthians 15:14)
If the resurrection didn’t happen, any faith you have had is worthless. That so-called faith you exercised to become a Christian was just an emotion. That faith in God that has sustained you in difficult times is just a sham. The faith in God that comforted you during the loss of a loved one was just your imagination.
4. All Christians are liars. (1 Corinthians 15:15-16)
No one in their right mind would die for something they knew was a lie. The apostles were cowardly men who had abandoned Christ, but after the resurrection, they were transformed into courageous men. What made the difference? They had witnessed the resurrected Christ.
5. You are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)
Because the resurrection took place, it verifies the deity of Christ(Romans 1:4) and His sufficiency (Romans 4:23-25).Had Jesus Christ remained in the grave, it would have meant that He died for His own sins like everyone else, instead of our sins. But the fact that God raised Him up from the dead means that God accepted His payment for our sins and we are “justified”—declared “not guilty” on the basis of what Christ has done for us.
6. All Christian loved ones have perished. (1 Corinthians 15:18)
If Christ has not been raised from the dead, it means that our sins have not been paid for and that we who think our debt has been forgiven actually await the same judgment that unbelievers face.
That means the same punishment that Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, or the father who murdered his two little boys with an ax before setting them on fire—the same destiny that awaits people like that is also the eternal fate of D.L. Moody, Calvin, Luther, and your loved ones who were Christians.
7. Our lives are miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19)
There are benefits to being a Christian, but there is also a price to be paid. There is suffering, persecution, and missed pleasures. A true follower of Christ has sacrificed a great deal in this life for the expectation of what awaits him in the next life. If there is no next life, then that sacrifice has been in vain.
The Certainty of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20)
Everyone who is related to Adam—that’s all of us—will die. But only those who are in Christ will experience the resurrection to eternal life.
Jesus clearly taught that there is a heaven and hell. The Bible says that man is sinful and God is righteousness. Man's sin has become a barrier between himself and God. The only way to have eternal relationship with God is to rid ourselves of our sin. How?
Not by good works, not by being a better person, not by church membership, not by baptism. John 11:25 says, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
The only acceptable answer to why you should be allowed into heaven is: “Because I have put my trust in Jesus’ death for me on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
Jesus said it clearly in John 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”