“Those who ‘in this life only have hope in Christ’ will be miserable.”

1 Corinthians 15:19

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote:

“Surely Paul anticipated a sad trend regarding people’s acceptance of Jesus, which accounts for so many moderns who are stranded in the maze. The trend is one in which Christ is credited with a significant ministry in this life but in which His literal Resurrection is denied. Paul spoke boldly, declaring, ‘If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable’ (1 Corinthians 15:19). A Christianity that focuses on an unrisen Christ is a callow contradiction and it produces a special misery among its adherents, for such faith, Paul said, is ‘vain; ye are yet in your sins’ [1 Corinthians 15:17].

“Is this dilution of doctrine not what has happened to so much of so-called Christianity with its existential emphasis? An unrisen Christ could never lift all men up! To take the name of Christ to preach against His (and the universal) Resurrection is treason of the highest order. Sadly, the name of Christ is often appropriated to fight the work of Christ. Yet possessed of an abiding testimony of the Resurrection, modern disciples, like those of old, too can say: ‘We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed’ (2 Corinthians 4:8–9).

“Those who ‘in this life only have hope in Christ’ will be miserable. Without the Resurrection there is no ultimate hope, which brings proximate despair. If death is still victorious, how meaningful is life, after all? If Christ cannot help me, then why follow Him? Hence, in torturing the truth about Christ, mortals only torture themselves. A denial of the divinity of Jesus and His literal Resurrection leads many to an existential philosophy that appropriates the name of Christ for a religion that finally slumps into a Sadducean stance. How ironic, how cruel! Thus another compelling reason to reject the world is its telestial theology about Christ.”

(Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward [1977], 16–17.)

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