Implications of the Empty Tomb
As we quickly approach Easter (Resurrection Sunday) Christians all over the globe are likely pondering more thoughtfully the implications of the resurrection of Christ. With that being said I felt it would be necessary for this month’s blog post to focus on that glorious event.
First and foremost to be a Christian or to call yourself a Christian is to claim to identify with Christ. That means the realization that we were once in opposition to God as selfish, self-centered, wicked and rebellious sinners, but by the grace of God we have been transformed by the redeeming sacrifice of Christ crucified.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
1 John 4:10
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
1 John 1:8-10
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Many more passages of Scripture could be used here to solidify this fact that we are rebellious sinners. However, these are suitable to demonstrate that Christians are sinners saved by grace through faith in the atoning work of Christ crucified.
So it is clear that Christ died for us, but Christ did far more than die in our place. He conquered sin and death which held the human race in captivity and bondage to the kingdom of darkness. Christ set us free from our own depravity and He gave us new hearts which are capable of serving Him our Lord and King.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’”
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Christ’s resurrection solidified the work He had come to do in restoring us to Himself. The power of the resurrection and the implications of the empty tomb dictate that we are no longer slaves to the kingdom of darkness for we are now free to walk in accordance with the Holy Spirit whom resides in the true believer in Christ. However, today many attacks have been perpetrated against the resurrection of Christ, and even professing believers are unsure about the validity of Christ rising from the tomb. But as the apostle Paul states to the Corinthian church:
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
In other words we have God’s guarantee of a future resurrection of which we have already begun to see the effects, because Christ Himself was literally raised from the dead. Even prior to Jesus’ resurrection He declared that this would take place:
“So the Jews said to him, ‘What sign do you show us for doing these things?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”
“But he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’”
“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
“As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.’”
While many claim to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, several struggle to believe that Christians, those redeemed by the blood of Christ, will be raised as well.
“’Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.’”
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live’”
1 Corinthians 15:20-23
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.”
As followers of Christ we are not simply adherents to one of the world’s many religions, no! To the contrary we have been pulled out of the pit from which the world’s religions have derived (the kingdom of sin and death)! We have been set upon the firm foundation of the rock of Jesus Christ. We have, by faith in the risen Savior, received an inheritance with Christ our Lord. While the world continues to try and pull us from the hope we have been given in Christ we must realize we are eternally secure in that hope.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
While it is wonderful to remind ourselves each Easter of the implications of the empty tomb, we should remind ourselves of His resurrection every single day. As we battle against our own flesh, against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places we ought to constantly remind ourselves it is the resurrected Christ who will fight these battles through us.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
May we never cease to proclaim: CHRIST IS RISEN!
Pastor Justin Myers is an avid student of God's Holy Word and received his M.Div. in biblical studies from Liberty University School of Divinity. Pastor Justin considers himself a family man who loves his wife and children dearly. He has been married for over nine years and has four children.