“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” — 1 Corinthians 15:19 (NIV84)
When reading this verse, please pay attention to the word “only.” With this verse, Paul was not saying that there is no hope in Christ for this life. There certainly is! In this life, our faith in Christ provides us guidance and leadership as we follow the Good Shepherd. Our faith provides us stability in unstable times as we build our faith on the Rock and firmly root ourselves to the Vine. Our lives stay properly focused as we walk with Jesus who is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.
Of course, our faith is for this life. But it is not only for this life. Everything in this life ends. What a pity to think that our hope in Jesus is temporary because it ends when our life ends. Paul was telling us in this verse that we can’t stop with this life, but we must have a faith that takes us into eternity. To hope in Christ for this life only would weaken the promise and work of God. He created and redeemed us into His eternal Kingdom. Jesus Himself told the disciples that He was going back to heaven to prepare places for us to be with Him. Hope in this life just gets us through the trials and tribulations that this life throws our way, but hope in God’s eternal kingdom opens to us heaven’s eternal bliss. What a pity it would be to miss the true joys and bliss that our faith is for.