Imagine if, at the end of your life, a life that you tried to live as devoted to the Christian religion as possible, you discovered it was all a big waste of time.
“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Imagine if you realized that every sacrifice you made, every personal pleasure you rejected for the good of another, every effort to please God turned out to be meaningless.
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).
Imagine if you fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith, and were waiting to be awarded a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:7-8), but there was nothing when you crossed the finish line.
“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19).
Because of the factual, historical miracle that is Easter Sunday, we don’t have to imagine! “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20).
Everything in the Bible, everything that your faith relies on, and all of your reasons for hope —both today and forever—hinges on Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I love how 1 Corinthians 15 continues: “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (vv. 24-26).
Without the death of sin, there would be no such thing as the final glorification of all who are saved. Sin brought with it the curse of separation from God, the curse of condemnation, and the curse of death.
Because of Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the curse will be forever broken. In our final home, there will be no more sin: “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him” (Revelation 22:3).
So as we live in this world where sin still does its ugly work inside and outside of us, we live with the promised defeat and death of sin in mind. We refuse to give up hope and to give way to what Christ defeated and will finally destroy.
What does it look like to live with the final defeat of sin and death in view? In the same 1 Corinthians 15 passage, the Apostle Paul answers this question. “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” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Living in light of the final death of sin means living a life of courage and hope. It means standing strong against the seductive voice of temptation. It means refusing to move when evil beckons. It means refusing to live for things that will soon pass away.
It means giving your time, strength, resources, gifts, and energy to things that have eternal significance. It means understanding that you have been called to the Lord’s work.
And it means remembering that nothing you do in the Lord’s name is ever a waste of your commitment and time.
He is risen!
Paul David Tripp
1. Do you feel that you have wasted your time on something in the past? How has God redeemed a seemingly wasted experienced from your past, or used it to teach you a valuable lesson?
2. Are you potentially wasting your time, gifts, or resources investing in treasures on earth that moth and rust will destroy? Why is this treasure so valuable to you?
3. How can you be more selective and intentional with your time, gifts, and resources? How does the resurrection help you choose how to invest in treasure today? Be specific and consider your everyday life.
4. Are you struggling to commit to a lifestyle of faith? Are there aspects of your faith that you feel are a waste of your time? In what ways are you tempted to groan like Asaph in Psalm 73, "Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence" (vv. 12-13).
5. Consider the gospel call to evangelism in light of 1 Corinthians 15. How should this chapter motivate you to share the hope of the resurrection with others, especially around Easter?