12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.
14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise.
16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
has been raised (v.12) — tense indicates past action with continuing results
If Christ rose from the dead, then there is no grounds for believing that resurrection is impossible (v.12).
And if resurrection is impossible, then Christ couldn’t have risen again (v.13).
vain (v.14) = to no purpose
To deny Christ’s resurrection is to deny everything about the faith (v.14).
found (v.15) = discovered, detected
“If Christ be not risen,” says the apostle, “we are found false witnesses of God,” having testified that God raised Christ from the dead. Indeed Paul had solemnly declared that he had seen the risen Christ and had heard Him speak (Acts 22:14 et al). Had this great church, then, amid so much opposition and persecution, been founded on the word of a liar? “If Christ be not risen,” says the apostle in effect, “this is the conclusion you must come to.” — Stam, page 256.
vain (v.17) = lacking result — a different word than that used for “vain” in v. 14
Without the resurrection, Christ’s sacrifice is not sufficient and we are sill in our former state, lost in sin.
The Christian’s salvation involves not only the cancellation of the penalty which was upon us for our sins, but it also involves a new contribution to us; the contribution of a new life, a new righteousness and a new standing. The cancellation of the old came by Christ’s death while the contribution of the new came by Christ’s resurrection. So says Romans 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Therefore, if the resurrection is not true, salvation is not true and we are yet in our sins. This cancellation was of no effect if Christ was not raised. What good is a negative salvation? What good is a salvation that deals with the past but does not deal with the future? This is the kind of salvation we have if Christ be not raised. — Laurin, pages 278-279.
perished (v.18) — not loss of being, but loss of well-being — in this case, loss of eternal life with Christ and loss of the joy and peace that goes with it — ruined in regards to the purpose of existence
we have hope (v.19) = lit. “we are having hope”
only (v.19) — in the original text, it’s at the end of the clause — “If we have had our hope in Christ in this life, and nothing more …” — Then the hope has no realization and is confined to this life only.