A Foot in Both Camps

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.”     

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 (: 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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30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 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.”

15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 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.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.