The whole concept of ‘Personal Truth’ has become popular in recent years. That’s the idea – the conceit – that you can believe one thing, and I can believe another contradictory thing, and we can both be right. What is true for you is not necessarily true for me, and that’s alright. It doesn’t matter.
So you could believe the earth is round and I could believe it’s flat, and – as nonsensical as this sounds – that’s alright too. For there is no such thing as ‘Objective Truth’ anymore.
But truth matters, it really does. What we believe matters according to the Bible. For what we believe informs and shapes and controls our actions.
Paul has been stressing that point throughout 1Cor 15. He begins by telling his readers that the gospel – the death for sins, the burial and resurrection of Christ – is a message that will save them. But only if they believe it and hold fast to it [see 1Cor 15:1-11]. And the resurrection of Christ guarantees their resurrection too.
Then he goes on to explain the implications – all bad – of believing this gospel if it isn’t true. It means we are all fools who deserves only pity, and have no hope of salvation [verses 12-19]. Paul doesn’t care whether “it is true for you but not for me.” As far as he is concerned, this is unshakeable truth for every person on the planet.
But in verses 29-34 he makes clear the inevitable result of wrong believing. Should you choose, in your arrogance, to disbelieve resurrection, then there are a few natural and unavoidable consequences of that.
The first is that it makes you either cowardly or apathetic. If there is no resurrection, why bother facing danger or standing up for what is right? Why defend the oppressed or resist an attacker? There is nothing to be gained by such foolish bravery.
Rather, if there is no resurrection, then we are ‘here for a good time, not for a long time.’ Our bodies are merely instruments of pleasure. What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” [1Cor 15:32].
If that is so, then there is nothing that is truly off-limits when it comes to pleasure-seeking. It’s not just gluttony and alcohol abuse that become acceptable. All manner of debauchery and depravity becomes reasonable and appropriate behaviour – including things that horrify us now.
If there is no resurrection, then there are no eternal consequences for our actions. Now, there may still be earthly consequences for behaviour that society currently rejects. But as we’ve seen in recent decades, activities that were once considered evil or animalistic become – by degrees – acceptable behaviour. And even protected by government legislation, and funded by government money.
It is natural consequence of rejecting truth, of accepting the nonsense of ‘personal truth.’ As Paul says in verse 33, Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
Be careful what you believe. Be careful who you are listening to. Those who would insist there is no resurrection, or that the resurrection is not necessary, are not just wrong, they are not Christians; worse, they are anti-Christian.
And they will eventually lead you down the same path of corrupt and immoral living. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers, Paul told Timothy [1Tim 4:16].
You don’t reject the gospel, you don’t reject truth, without consequences. Be warned!