6th, lastly, if Christ is not risen, then the living in Christ are hopeless. “If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19, ESV). The verb, “hope,” here is a participle, in the perfect tense. Since the main verb, “are,” is present tense, then its action happens at the same time with the main verb. Thus, it should be translated, “If in this life only, we are hoping in Christ, we are most to be pitied.”
The adjective, “pitied” (ESV) or “miserable” (NKJV) is from the Greek, eleeinos, “pertaining to being deserving of pity in view of one’s miserable condition – ‘pitiable, miserable’” (Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. ελεεινος). Paul is saying here that if Christ has not risen, then living for Him in this life, today, presently, makes us pitiful and pathetic. In other words, the most pitiful and pathetic people on earth are those who have trusted in a Savior who is still dead today!
What’s the use of living for Christ today, when He is still dead? What’s the use of suffering for Him today? What’s the use of following Him today, when God has not yet forgiven your sins, because God did not accept the death of Christ, by not raising Him from the dead?
If Christ is not risen, what’s the use of following a Christian religion today that offers no hope for tomorrow?
During our recent lunch fellowship after our summer Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS) at Sitio Ponce, Cebu City, there were delicious humba (Cebuano pork dish), fish, menudo, and kinilaw (Filipino raw fish in sauce), and lots of rice. Can you imagine coming to a party, and everybody brought rice, with no other food to mix it with? Then one of us will say, “Never mind the food, let’s get on with the rice!”
It’s like saying, “Never mind the resurrection, let’s get on with Christianity.” But without the food, there is no fellowship. Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity, and no hope.
But there is hope for the living and the dead today. In the next breath, Paul wrote, “But now Christ is risen from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20, NKJV).
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