v 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
Paul takes the story a step further. Those who think of trying to get God ‘On their side’ are looking to solve life’s problems, and fix good solutions for the here and now. But that is not the real issue, Paul suggests. What really matters is the lasting relationship between individual people and the God who made them – a relationship that transcends time and carries us forward into God’s eternity. In fact, he argues, if we are trying to fix something that only affects this present life then all our work, the travelling and preaching of good news that costs us so much personally, is just a waste of time and effort. The Gospel Paul was preaching looked beyond the present existence, and if it didn’t then he was wasting his breath and should be pitied for all the hardship he suffered. But there is a resurrection, there is life beyond the grave, and God’s remedy for sin deals with that too! That makes it all so worthwhile.
So it all hinged on how he could be certain that there was such a thing as resurrection. It was on this point that he and all the Apostles were so sure because they were witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. Here was the incontrovertible evidence that life existed beyond the death of the body. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, then everything that Christians believed and longed for was a mere hoax. That is the whole argument of verses 12 – 20, culminating in the climactic statement in verse 20. ‘ But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. ‘