"And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! " 1 Corinthians 15:17-18 (NLT)
People say religious people let go easily when they come close to death, but irreligious people are afraid and tend to resist with all their strength not to go. The reason for the latter is they don't know what is next after they die. All their lives they were self-centered and earthly, loving sins or for them-- loving their lives to its fullest; but they did not prepare to meet their Creator.
But for us, believers, we posses and reflect the glory of Christ being luminaries to this world. We stand on the ground of the Lord's resurrection. And that makes all the difference from darkness to light, from the kingdom of the devil to the kingdom of God's Son. We can face tomorrow with all confidence, no fear nor uncertainty. We can face even death in a whole new attitude knowing that it is only a transition to the life ahead with our Lord. The grave will be a smooth passage to the other side into the arm of the Lord Jesus.
The Lord is the first to cross the impenetrable region with His human body. This is the resurrection. He did not leave His body behind the tomb to return to dust, but fought the good fight and delivered it out. The Lord gave a blow to the Devil by crushing his head not only at the cross, but also when he delivered Himself through the resurrection.
We know that our salvation rests not only on the fact of the death of Christ, but also on His resurrection. The Lord's resurrection became an assurance that if we belong to him, we can sleep (die) in peace. It is His resurrection that delivered us out completely from our sins.
"...if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins" mean that we, believers, are no longer in sin but are in Christ for the Lord was raised from the dead! We don't have any sin to deal with after we pass away; neither do we have judgement to come on us. After we pass away from this world, we will not be lost. In Christ all shall be made alive.
The negativeness of the above mentioned verses bring us the stronger positiveness of our salvation from the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We live because He lives! Amen.
"But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died" (verse 20).