Les Miserables – ala the Apostle Paul


Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from the Scripture

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1 Cor. 15.19 – If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

I heard a sermon the other day by a very sincere and well meaning man, who challenged his hearers in the following way regarding the Gospel – “If you are right, and the Gospel isn’t true, then I’ve lost nothing. I’ve lived a better life for it, been kinder, more loving, and had joy. But if I’m right, then you have everything to lose. Because you will not have Jesus Christ.”

The Apostle Paul would have disagreed most heartily with that line of argument. In fact he DID disagree. In the text cited above. If the Gospel isn’t true, if Jesus didn’t die, or the message isn’t true, or if He didn’t rise from the dead – then the entire thing is a sham. And no one is better off living a lie. No, Paul says, if this is it, if in this life only we have hoped in Christ, then we are one pitiful lot. A bunch of duped idiots. More, he really ups the ante in this regard. In 1 Cor. 15.13-32 he gives us a run down of just what it would mean. This, all tied to whether or not Jesus rose form the dead. For if He didn’t, all bets are off. He puts it in 9 propositions.

If there is no resurrection unto eternal life – then:

1. (13) Christ has not been raised. If there is no such thing as resurrection at all, then the plain truth is, Jesus hasn’t risen
from the dead either.

2. (14) Our preached message is empty – vain. We’ve got nothing TO preach. It is empty words that end at the grave. That’s no Gospel, its foolishness.

3. (14) Our FAITH is empty too. Contrary to one popular notion, merely having faith isn’t enough. We must have faith IN something – or better SOMEONE! Our faith that our sins are forgiven – is nada. Our faith that we have been reconciled to God, is foolish. Our faith in life after death, is stupid. Our faith in eternal life with God is nothing but the stuff of myth.

4. (15) then everyone who has ever preached this message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a liar. Especially so since we claim to be telling you the truth from God. We’re not just wrong, we’re immoral.

5. (17) We’re all still guilty before God and facing judgment yet. If Christ hasn’t been raised, we’ve got nothing to look forward to but eternal judgment. Hell. Endless, hopeless desperation. There is NO answer to the human condition. All suffering is just the reality of this accidental life on this ball of dirt in nowhere.

6. (18) Everyone who died before us, is just gone. Vanished. Nothing. They are returning to dust and nothing more. Their lives were short and meaningless. It is all over. Like so many germs or bacteria. The lives of those we loved and who loved us – were little more than a temporary an illusion.

7. (19) Christians are the dumbest, stupidest, most gullible fools of all. Of ALL men, we should be pitied most – living in this illusion, this false hope, this imaginary non-existence.

8. (29) Baptism is a completely meaningless religious rite. Why in the world should we identify ourselves with a bunch of losers and dupes who went before us? What nonsense, to risk our lives to participate in something that truly means and does nothing.

9. (30-32) Paul’s own life, ministry and sufferings are just so much meaningless trash. He’s no more than any who died before. His ministry is trash. His sufferings, just the lousy luck of the draw on this cold stone called Earth.

BUT! Christ HAS been raised from the dead. He IS risen. And all who put their trust in Him have the true, rock solid hope of the forgiveness of sin, the life everlasting, the redemption of every sorrow and pain, and the inheritance of God Himself.

He DID die, He DID die, He IS coming back.

If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But if we have hoped in Christ unto life from the dead – we are of all men, most to be envied. And we, need to take pity on them.

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8 thoughts on “Les Miserables – ala the Apostle Paul

  1. Ok, this was funny.
    You just read off all of the reason why belief in Christ makes you the most duped people in the world, but then proclaim, BUT it is all true.

    Could you please provide any shred of verifiable proof of this so called truth?
    How do you KNOW you haven’t been duped? I assume you have some proof, other than your blind arbitrary faith. Remember the ability to have faith in something, and the search for truth are not mutually inclusive, in fact they are the opposite.

  2. The proof is simple. His resurrection from the dead is historical fact. The Apostle Paul appeals to it when tried before the Roman courts, reminding them that “these things were not done in a corner.” Had this been a hoax, the contemporaries of the day would have shouted down their claims in a minute. The questions is – will you receive the evidence or reject it?

  3. Please provide the historical documents which prove this.
    I really would like to take a look at them.
    Show me the evidence,,,,,,please.
    Thank you.

  4. There are three great sources of documents, two positive and one negative.

    1. Examine the Bible. The Biblical account hearkens back to eye witnesses and their nearest confidants closer to the original facts than any other book of antiquity. Given the multiplied 1000’s of manuscripts and fragments within decades of the events themselves – their veracity and historical accuracy have been verified by friend and foe alike for centuries. Read the likes of scholars like William F. Albright who testify to the profound historical accuracy of theBiblical writers – especially Luke.

    2. Examine the myriads of documents preserved for us from the early Church. The more we uncover, the closer to the actual events, the more we take their witness as historical and accurate.

    3. Examine the contrary documents. There virtually are none. Not because early Christians were the “winners”, they weren’t For the 1st 3 centuries, they were the big losers. But in neither Jewish nor secular records do find the Christ’s claims contradicted outright or proven in any way false. Opponents of Christianity had little to say when it came to the historical claims. They were powerless.

    Pick up a copy of a book like McDowell’s – Evidence that Demands Verdict, and do the homework yourself. You’ll see. No other book of antiquity even comes close.

  5. Come on Reid, surely you can do better than this.
    Your evidence is.
    1. The Bible
    2. Early believers writings.
    3. Lack of contrary evidence.

    This does not prove anything, and I think even you can see that.
    I could apply this same logic to the Quran.

    McDowell’s book isn’t any better. All the proof seems to be the Bible, the true believers, and “if it isn’t true they would not have done these things” type of statements. How is this any different from any other religion?

    Still awaiting proof, if you or anyone else has any.
    Show me the proof.

  6. Hello Noogatiger.
    Evidence is vital, the Gospels write about public fact, not private revelation. Upon the veracity of their account hangs the entire faith of the Church throughout generations and centuries, within different language groups and cultures and through dark periods of intense persecutions or institutional corrption.
    Examine the evidence. You might find Morris, “Who moved the Stone?” useful if you can get a copy. It was originally published by Faber and Faber. Also look at “The New Testament Documents, are the Reliable?” by Professor FF Bruce, the etext is available here:
    http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/ffbruce/ntdocrli/ntdocont.htm

    With respect to other major religions, study them. Islam believes the Quran ‘fell from heaven’ intact and that any question regarding the historicity of the documents is irrelevant to its claim for authenticy. Any attempt to examine look for or examine such evidence is resisted quite strongly, as in the case of the ancient Quran found in Yemen, which varied from the current edition.
    Hinduism is based on a collection of myths. There is no claim whatsoever of historical authenticy or factual evidence here.
    The records relating to the life of the Buddha, if there were any, are not relevant to the philosophical teachings of this faith either.
    There is a uniqueness in the claims of the Gospel. The fact that you, one born in a society influenced by a biblical tradition of objective and verifiable evidence, are even asking a question related to the need for verifiability prooves the point. Such a question would be unthinkable in many non-christian societies today, and in some you might even lose your life for asking for, let alone demanding such evidence.

  7. Excellent issakara. One cannot dismiss out of hand the evidence that IS there. Those who have studied it objectively – many approaching as skeptics or critics, have come away convinced. When the data is collected and sorted through – there is more evidence surrounding the veracity of the New Testament documents than any other set of documents from antiquity. F. .F. Bruce’s “The Books and the Parchments”. Or see his New Testament Documents Page –
    http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/ffbruce/ntdocrli/ntdocont.htm

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