And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

1 Corinthians 15:17 (NIV, 1984)

“Click bait” is a term used in social media circles when the author of a post uses a title or photo that is so provocative or absurd that the reader is drawn to click open the post—only to find that the “bait” actually refers to information taken out of context that may leave the reader either confused, frustrated or both. Today’s title is an example of just that. In confronting those who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, the Apostle Paul explains how the very principles upon which our faith is built begin to fall like dominoes should their flawed understanding be correct. With the prowess of a skilled prosecutor, Paul dismantles their heretical doctrine by demonstrating how the resurrection is the central truth upon which the Gospel is established.

“So, there is no such thing as a bodily resurrection? That’s too bad. Then Jesus is dead and remains in the grave. My preaching is a waste of time, and your faith is useless. I am one of those liars that I warned you about because I have borne false witness about God. He could not have raised Jesus from the dead because that is simply an impossibility. And if Jesus is not resurrected, then your sins have not been forgiven and all those who have died are eternally lost. Here we are doing all this religious stuff (for which we are so proud) and it’s all over when we die. There is nothing else beyond that. What a hopeless bunch we are!”  (1 Cor. 15:12-19, David’s Unauthorized Version)

I actually caught myself in the midst of a recent funeral message being astounded at Paul’s ability to glorify the reality and power of the resurrection of Christ from the most negative of perspectives! Without the resurrection of the dead, of whom Jesus was the very first, literally nothing else about what we believe or do in His name matters. If there was ever a moment when the inability of mankind to save itself was more evident, it was when Jesus emerged from the tomb victorious over death and the grave and established hope beyond this life for those who believe.