The life of a gladiator was not one to be envied. Day by day preparing for the possibility of being killed in the coliseum each night could easily be their last. How do you think they went about living their lives outside of the arena?
Paul describes it well in 1 Corinthians 15:32 when he says, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Paul is quoting Isaiah but is referring to the gladiators of that time who were “facing death every day.” For these people with nothing but human hopes and desires, every day they were preparing for death by living life to the “fullest” before their time came.
This is a logical way to spend your time when you are living life preparing for death. Think about all the older folks with bucket lists of what they want to do before they die. Or someone who just found out that a disease has left them with only a few months, so they spend their last moments traveling the world, sky diving, and “eating, drinking and being merry.” This makes sense when we have “no more than human hopes”, as Paul says. We are living to die.
But Paul challenges that way of viewing our lives on earth. Paul says the worldview of a gladiator does make sense… if, that is, there is no resurrection.
Because of the resurrection of Christ which ushered in the resurrection of the dead, we no longer live life preparing for death. Instead, we live life preparing for life! How does this change our view of life and our view of death? Paul believes it changes everything.