“Why am I in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 1 Cor. 15:30-32
Paul was in danger constantly. He could say that he died every day! He fought wild beasts! His gospel ministry took him constantly into danger.
Why is Paul talking about this? The Corinthians were denying the resurrection. Paul wants them to be very clear on this: if there is no resurrection we should indeed eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. We should not be risking our life for the sake of the gospel. If we will not be raised from the dead, we should be partying! Yes, folks, non-Christians have the right idea: if this life is all there is we should maximise our fun and partying.
But this life is not all there is. If it was all there is, I can’t understand why anyone would deny themselves or want to waste their time on religion. I can certainly understand why parents who aren’t Christian would be very disturbed by their children giving up their career to go into full time ministry or going overseas as a missionary to a country where they could be in danger. If this life is all there is, why give up a career or endanger your life?
But this life is not all there is. Jesus has been raised from the dead. There were many post-resurrection appearances of Jesus; one to more than 500 people at the same time (1 Cor 15: 6). Jesus has really been raised from the dead, and that means that we will be raised from the dead too.
Do you believe that you will be raised from the dead? Or do you think that this life is all there is? Your answer to these questions should have a radical effect on how you live. If you don’t believe in the resurrection, then you will live for this life. If you do believe in the resurrection, then you will not live for this life, but for the sake of the gospel, even if you lose out or fall into danger.
Paul knew he would be raised from the dead. Therefore he could face wild beasts. He could face death every day. He knew that this life is not all there is. Missionaries today can go to countries where their life is in danger, because this life is indeed not all there is.
But what if you weren’t sure that you would be raised from the dead? What if you had doubts? What if you thought that this life may well be all there is? Perhaps you would have a foot in both camps. Perhaps you would live as if this life is all there is, but try and be a Christian at the same time. What would that look like? You would make sure you had a nice house and all the nice things of comfort for this life, and in your spare time you would live for God as much as possible. Of course you wouldn’t give up your career, let alone go as a missionary to a dangerous country. You wouldn’t give up the comforts of this life to give more to gospel ministry. If you did such things you would be betting your whole life on the truth of the gospel! And what if you get to the end of this life and find out that this life is all there is?
Do you believe in the resurrection? Do you believe this life is not all there is? Or are you having an each way bet, with a foot in both camps?
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