Puritan pastor Thomas Watson (1620-1686) stated, “We are more sure to rise out of our graves than out of our beds.”
That’s an amazing statement that holds significant truth because, as James 4:13-14 tell us, we have no promise of tomorrow. In fact, the passage says our life is as fleeting as vapor. However, we have a wonderful promise of greater tomorrow because God has ensured that even if we die, we know that we will be made alive again (I Corinthians 15:21-22).
How can we know this to be true?
The best way to know that this is a factual promise is because of Jesus’s own conquering of the grave. Many witnesses saw Him after the resurrection and Jesus even afforded Thomas the opportunity to actually touch His wounds. As Jesus noted, though, we who believe without sight are blessed because our faith — not our sight — leads to our belief.
Our confidence in Jesus is not simply hopeful. As I noted, people witnessed the return of Jesus following His burial. They knew His return was not a hoax because they had also seen Him die. And over the course of the next years, many of His followers would pay with their lives for proclaiming the Living Christ. These believers would not have faced such awful persecution to perpetuate a lie. They knew beyond a doubt what Jesus had accomplished and they paid the ultimate price to proclaim His truth.
Just like those dear saints, today, because we believe, we have the same promise of living beyond this life. Listen to what Romans 6:5 tells us: “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.”
God will never lie (Titus 1:2, Psalm 33:4), so we know that His promises are irrevocable. The death occurred and so did Jesus’ resurrection; we can bank on these facts. So too are we guaranteed that, as He came once, He will return again to gather His followers. Life doesn’t begin at 40, it really begins when this one ends.
We who follow Him must always be moved and impassioned by what He did for us. And we must also never forget that just 40 days after His death, Jesus repeated the Great Commission, this time including the message of the content of our preaching. He said, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”
This is our never-ending mission. These great truths of the resurrection spur us on and we continue to preach the Risen Christ to those who do not know Him. We must make clear to those whom we love that this same Jesus wants to save them and guide them through this often troubling life. We return our love to Him by answering His call to preach His Word.
As Bill Gaither wrote in his great song, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just because He lives.”
NOTE: If you will be in the Lynchburg, Virginia area on March 27, I would like to invite you to join us for our Resurrection Sunday celebrations. We will hold three services (8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m.), as we proclaim the Risen Christ in message and song. Our amazing choir and orchestra will be performing under the leadership of Charles Billingsley and I guarantee they will thrill your soul. Other special guests will be singing with them, as well. If you need information on the services, please feel free to call us (434-239-9281).