"If In This Life Only..."
I Corinthians 15:19
I live in hope of the resurrection. With Paul, I say, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." In making that statement the Apostle does not mean that (1) The believer's life in this world is a sad, morbid existence; or (2) It is really more delightful and pleasurable to live in the world without faith in Christ; or (3) Were it not for the hope of eternal glory the saints of God would really prefer not to live as they do, in obedience and submission to their Lord. God's people do not serve him for gain!
Paul simply means for us to understand that if there were no eternal life in Christ, no eternal bliss of life with Christ in glory, and no resurrection of life in the last day, then believers would be the most miserably frustrated people in the world. We would never have that which we most earnestly desire. We would never enjoy that for which we are most ambitious. We would never see the end of our hope. We would never embrace Christ, or be embraced by Christ. We would never see our Redeemer!
I cannot imagine entertaining more distressing thoughts. Nothing could be more cruel and miserable than to live in hope of seeing Christ, being like Christ, and spending eternity with Christ, only to die like a dog! "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable!" What a horrible thought! What a tormenting supposition! But it is not so.
Believers live in hope of the resurrection; and that hope is both sure and stedfast. "For we know that our Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after our skin worms destroy our bodies, yet in our flesh shall we see God; whom we shall see for ourselves, and not another; though our reins be consumed within us" (Job -27).
This is not some fool's philosophy. It is not a mere religious tranquilizer by which we are able to cope with the trials of life.This is the calm,confident assurance of the believer's heart. It is the necessary, inevitable result of faith in Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life (John -26). "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power" (Rev. 20:6).