The Apostle Paul argues that if death is the end of everything, if there is no such thing as a resurrection, the sensible thing to do in life is to enjoy ourselves to the full while it lasts. He writes, 'If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'' (1 Cor. 15:32).
Is this not the outlook of many people in our day? They do not believe that Jesus was resurrected or that the dead will be raised to life on the last day. But if this is so, how should we live?
What’s the point of studying to pass exams, work hard to build a house, to become rich and to advance in your career -- if everything is but smoke? If death is the final stage of our short journey, everything is painfully absurd. The end of the rich and the poor, the wise and the fool, would be exactly the same – emptiness, darkness, nothing. Even joy and suffering, love and hatred, good and evil, are divested of any lasting significance. Ultimately nothing really matters.
We would be like little children building sandcastles on the beach, only to see their work washed away by the waves of the sea. Even so, here we are busily constructing our little empires on the shore of eternity, only to be carried away and lost forever.
If that is so, let us give ourselves to pleasure! Carpe diem – seize the moment, for that is all we have. We are passengers on a sinking ocean liner; let us then organize a big party, play the music loud, laugh and dance until we drop … no, not because we are really happy or because we have something to celebrate. Get drunk to forget the absurdity of our miserable existence and the emptiness of our destiny.
But if the Lord Jesus was truly resurrected, as the Bible affirms, then the dead will live again, or we should say, there is an omnipotent God who raises the dead. What we do in this life – whether good or bad – is truly significant and the consequences are eternal.
So then, if sin is not forgiven, it becomes a weight that will be carried beyond the grave to the condemnation of all who had ignored and defied their Creator.
On the other hand, if we have embraced the gospel – that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures – if we have believed in Christ, then our sins are forgiven, and we have every reason to eat and drink with happiness – not to forget, but to remember God who gives us good gifts to enjoy. To be sure we too have our share of suffering and sorrow in this life, but we also have a hope that overcomes even death. For to us, death is not the end, but the beginning of eternal bliss in the presence of our Lord and Saviour.
Friend, what is your choice? I entreat you, do not merely seize the moment – take hold of the Lord Jesus by faith, and you would have seized both time and eternity.