The apostle Paul presented this question to the Corinthians because there were some who denied the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:12). I would like to say that if there was no resurrection of Jesus Christ then there is no Christianity. We would have no reason to meet and worship each week. Our sacrifices to serve, study the Word, and be different are a waste of time. There is no need to give to the church or to missions because there is no message of hope for the world. The only thing that matters is the here and now. Someone would have been correct when they said, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" if there was no resurrection. The resurrection has massive implications and it is part of the Gospel and the Good News! It is the cornerstone without which the building collapses.
Here is what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:13-20 concerning the implications if Christ had never been risen from the grave. If there was no resurrection of Jesus Christ....
- Then our preaching of the Gospel is useless (1 Cor. 15:14). There is no point in preaching. The Gospel (according to Scripture) is the Good News "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3-4). There is NO Gospel without the resurrection!
- Then our faith is useless (1 Cor. 15:14). All this repentance and all this faith is absolutely meaningless. We have labored in vain and we are all fools.
- Then the apostles were liars (1 Cor. 15:15). They fabricated a story of a Christ that did not rise from the grave. These liars even wrote the New Testament which now cannot be believed. Even the Old Testament spoke of an event that never happened (Psalm 16). Jesus even said himself that he would come out of the grave but he would have lied to his followers as well.
- Then the dead are not raised (1 Cor. 15:16). If Christ was not raised then nobody will ever live after the grave. All Old and New Testament saints are still in the grave today and that is where we will forever remain after death. Game over.
- Then we are still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17). Without a resurrection there is no satisfaction of God's wrath. There is no forgiveness of sins, no penalty has been paid, no justification, no salvation.
- Then our current sufferings are for nothing (1 Cor. 15:18). It means we trusted and lived for a Savior who could never save us. Our sacrifices for him really made no difference.
- Then this life is all that really matters (1 Cor. 15:19). We made a mistake and put all of our eggs in one Easter basket for this short life. We are the most pitiful according to Scripture. It's all been pointless! We've played the fool from start to finish.