REMEMBER THE RESURRECTION
These words of Hope were recently spoken to a dear friend of ours that is currently experiencing immense physical and emotional pain brought on by two separate incidents of tragic loss:
"Remember the Resurrection!"
Remember JESUS! He is risen! He lives! Remember!
What Hope do these words hold?!
God is eternal. He has no beginning; He has no end. He is the first and the last and besides Him there is no god (Isaiah 44:6). "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God (Psalm 90:2). He is the everlasting God that always has been and always will be. In Him is real life forever that contains no darkness, no lies, no hate, no war, no sickness or pain, no tears, no mourning, and no death.
Life here on earth contains both light and darkness; truth and lies; love and hate; peace and war; health and sickness; laughter and weeping; dancing and mourning; birth and death. Everything in this earthly world is temporary except for one thing: the souls of human beings.
All human beings will experience a resurrection. All will rise from physical death and their souls will live forever. And the Scriptures tell us that ALL will stand before holy God. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. Judgment? Yes, judgment. Who is the Judge? Acts 10:42 tells us that Jesus is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 2 Timothy 4:1 confirms this. In John 5:28-29, Jesus Himself tells us that an hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and will come forth for judgment -- some to a resurrection of life; some to a resurrection of damnation.
Yes. There is a resurrection to life. And there is a resurrection to damnation. MOST people believe they will go to heaven when they die because they've been a "good person". MOST do not believe a place of eternal damnation even exists. But the Bible speaks of a lake of fire of eternal torment day and night forever in judgment of sin (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 20:11-15).
So, on what criteria does Jesus judge?
Revelation 20 describes a Great White Throne Judgment where books are opened -- God's books. One is the Lamb's Book of Life – this book records the names of all those who have been reconciled to God because they have trusted God's Gospel concerning His Son in order to receive God's forgiveness, cleansing, and redemption of sin. Sin is profoundly serious to God, and it must be dealt with His way -- and God's Way is through His Son who came to die on the cross in the sinner's place to pay our just penalty of death for sin with His sinless blood ("the wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23).
When a person sees their need to be made right with holy God and places their complete trust in Christ's finished work on the cross for their salvation, they are trusting in Christ's paid sin debt as the only way for God to remove His just judgment upon them for their sin. On the cross of Christ, God placed His judgment for the sinner's sin to the sinless Savior. God never ignores sin. He is a just Judge that can never let sin go unpunished. He is holy and hates sin. Jesus died once for all. He who knew no sin, bore the judgment of God's wrath for sin that is upon every human being [because the Bible says all have sinned; there is none righteous -- no not one (Romans 3:10-11).] Jesus shed His sinless blood and paid the sin debt of all who will believe in Him. When someone believes on the Lord Jesus Christ in true saving faith, they have the blessed assurance of knowing that God has removed their sin guilt and has declared them not guilty before Him.
Not only that! God then places Christ's righteousness on them and gives them a new spiritual birth that includes a new heart and a new spirit. THEN God places the Holy Spirit in them to enable them to walk in this new, God-birthed spiritual life (Ezekiel 36:25-27). This new life is an abundant, eternal life lived in relationship with God in Christ. It is these whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life! It is these who God will resurrect to life eternal with Him in heaven!
The other books opened on judgment day record every thought, word, and action of all the people whose names are not recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life because they have not believed God's Gospel concerning Christ and, therefore, have not had the penalty for their sin paid by the precious blood of Jesus. These books will reveal their lives, and nothing will be hidden, secrets will come to light (Luke 8:17), and they will stand guilty in sin before God -- unable to change their guilty standing. Yes, these will resurrect from physical death; however, because their sin was not dealt with on the cross of Christ, they will resurrect to eternal damnation in the lake of fire in God's judgment for their sin.
The whole purpose of God's salvation in Christ is to experience a resurrection to life -- real life -- so that we can enjoy God, glorify God, and worship Him in His glory now and forever! THE CORNERSTONE OF GOD'S GOSPEL IS THE RESURRECTION! We know that Christ's salvific work on the cross was pleasing to God (without sin) because God raised Jesus from the dead!!! THE RESURRECTION PROVES THAT JESUS CONQUERED SIN AND DEATH ON OUR BEHALF, AND HE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO RAISE ALL THOSE WHO TRUST IN HIM TO EVERLASTING LIFE! Jesus said: "I am the Resurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die." (John 11:25-26)
A Christian is someone whose old way of life has been buried with Christ and that God has raised up with Christ to walk in newness of life – a life lived in union with Christ now on earth and forever with God in heaven (Romans 6:3-11)! We see this pictured beautifully in the transformation of a caterpillar when he dies and his crawling life ends -- but out from his body rises the butterfly -- a new creature with a new nature -- gloriously beautiful!
The Resurrection promises not only life eternal with God in heaven – it promises a life here and now that is filled with hope! The Apostle Peter proclaims in great worship: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a LIVING HOPE through the RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed…" (1 Peter 1:3-6).
A LIVING HOPE! This is Hope that comes from God! It is not a "hope so" hope. It is a "know so" hope! It is confirmed and secured by the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
REMEMBER THE RESURRECTION! Because Jesus lives, we live! The empty tomb is the reminder of the Christian's LIVING HOPE!
When circumstances overwhelm, Remember the Resurrection!
When life is painful, Remember the Resurrection!
When hope seems lost, Remember the Resurrection!
When your heart is grieved, Remember the Resurrection!
When sorrows overflow, Remember the Resurrection!
When fears arise, Remember the Resurrection!
When temptations entice, Remember the Resurrection!
REMEMBER! Nothing – not even death – can separate us from God once we have trusted in Jesus Christ! And no fear is too staggering, no temptation too strong, no problem too mind-boggling for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who conquered sin and death! BECAUSE JESUS LIVES, WE LIVE! CHRISTIANS POSSESS A LIVING HOPE BECAUSE WE HAVE PLACED OUR LIVES INTO THE HANDS OF OUR LIVING LORD!
Do you believe in God's Gospel concerning His Son? Come to Christ. Today is the day of salvation! Don't wait…don't harden your heart. Cry out to God for His forgiveness and the salvation and new life He provides now and forever in His Son.
If you belong to God in Christ: Remember the Resurrection! Look up! Rejoice! JESUS is the first and the last! HE is the LIVING ONE! He was dead, and behold, HE IS ALIVE FOREVERMORE, and He has the keys of death and of Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)
REMEMBER THE RESURRECTION!
BECAUSE HE LIVES
A poem by our beloved friend, Ruth Martin from her book: A Gift of Bluebirds
Because He lives, the voice can sing,
The soul can rise on joyful wings,
The lips a sweeter story tell,
The heart with greater rapture swell.
Because He lives, Death holds no fears,
No endless grief, no ceaseless tears,
But Joy for mourning, Hope for loss,
Beauty for ashes, a lifted Cross.
Because He lives the Soul is free;
Each day dawns bright, the shadows flee.
He flung full-wide Life's open door.
Because He lives…
Death is no more!