1Co 15:12-14 “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”
Are we still “preaching” today that Christ rose from the dead? Paul was not speaking of an academic presentation. He was not pointing to a debate, nor was he indicating that there was any doubt about the matter. It is important to note that Christ “be preached” that He rose from the dead.
Preaching is more than just making a speech. Preaching is more than just being a good orator. Preaching implies the leadership and motivation of the Holy Ghost moving men to declare, as ambassadors of Christ, the truth that He reveals in the hearts of His people. Strong’s gives the Greek word translated as “preached” to mean “to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth (the gospel).” That Christ rose from the dead is a matter of divine truth that should be publicly shared.
Paul asks the Corinthian brethren how it is that they have sat under the declaration of divine truth (preaching), and yet say there is no resurrection of the dead. The word “resurrection” does not mean the transitioning of life from one state to another. The word resurrection indicates the restoration of life from a state of being dead. While there are certainly times that the recovery of spiritual truth (see Strong’s) is considered as a “resurrection” in the scripture, Paul was dealing specifically here with the literal death of our Lord Jesus on the cross.
He indicates here that if we claim there is no resurrection from the dead, neither is Christ risen. If Christ is not risen, then where is the proof that God accepted His sacrifice? How do we know that He had power to lay down His life and power to take it up again? If Christ is not risen, then there is no point in anything that we do in service to Him.
Paul clearly states that our preaching is not divine truth if Christ is not risen and that if we say there is no resurrection we are in effect declaring that this is the case. We are just saying empty words into the air that have no real importance. Others are being deceived by our preaching if Christ is not risen.
If our preaching is vain, then the faith of those who hear the preaching is also vain. How can we expect an empty faith to move mountains? We have a lively faith because we have a living Saviour. He is living because, although He died on the cross, He rose from the dead as He said He would. According to Paul, there is no room for doubting the resurrection of the dead if we preach that Jesus rose from the dead.
May God give us the grace to hold fast to the truth of His death, burial, and resurrection!