The Empty Grave Promise
We’ve heard so many things about the eternal life we’ll inherit the day we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and it is all true, but the Word of God teaches us that the goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls and as inheritance, eternal life!
Today I’d like to draw your attention to another promise – the promise we have as children of the Lord, in whose life the will of God and the meaning of Christ are clearly visible… for to us to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
We have the promise of an empty grave! In Luke 24 verses 5 and 6 the angels asked the women: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” These words aren’t just true for our Lord Jesus Christ. It should also be true for us, because in his letter to the Ephesians Paul made the following statement in chapter 2 verses 4 to 6: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”
We read in Habakkuk 1 verse 12: “Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.” Just like Jesus, as servant for His Father, had to break the chains of death to open the doors of eternal life for you and me, so that we can have faith as anchor, an empty grave!
“And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him— for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength…” (Isaiah 49 verse 5)
Before we were born into this sinful world, we were called as servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, to die in Him just as He died in His Father – death (the price of sin) was won and we have eternal life!
In Romans 6 verses 6 to 9 to following is written: “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.”
We get the confirmation from Psalm 118 verse 17: “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deed of the LORD.” We have this same assurance and anchor, the absolute promise of an empty grave!
Therefore, as a child and co-heir of the Son of God, our salvation has two important promises: a life without the bitter taste of the grave and the sweetness of heaven in the glory of God’s presence!
Our salvation is brought forth with the same power, love, mercy and grace that Jesus had for Lazarus when He called him from the grave. As sinners we are called from the grave, resurrected with the same power that rose Jesus from the dead, justified before God the Father and gifted a place in heaven. Why would I take my salvation and childhood so lightly? Why should I be content with so little in the spirit when I can be clothed in the fullness of Jesus Christ?
In the first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1 verse 30) Paul reminded the congregation of the following:
“And because of Him (God) you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us:
- Wisdom from God
- And redemption
Why would I worry about the end of my life when I have the promise of an empty grave and a place in heaven?
The absolute certainty that Paul had when he wrote the following words: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1 verse 21) was because the penny also dropped for him.
When we are saved, we do not stay with the dead, hopeless and abandoned until the day we die and then don’t inherit anything unless Christ lived in us. On the contrary! We are resurrected through our faith and confession in Jesus Christ, among the dead to whom Jesus has not yet been revealed. Now our lives aren’t hopeless and abandoned anymore, but our life is a living Saviour, Jesus Christ, and our death is an empty grave, the PROFIT gifted to a child of God through grace!
Let us take up our cross and follow Jesus with renewed zeal and courage. Let us be ambassadors for Jesus and spread the message of the PROFIT as Psalm 118 verse 17 encourages us to do: “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.”
Let the prospect of an empty grave motivate us to become less so that Christ can become more – “…For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6 verse 23)
Our salvation from sin – death – gives us, who calls ourselves children of God, reason to live with absolute peace, happiness and victory regardless of a life and world in which we will have tribulations, according to the Word of God. We do not have to be burdened, discouraged and depressed as if we are still under the burden of sin, or as if we were still buried in the grave. No! We are alive in Christ and belong with those who are alive as well. We must not be sought and counted with the dead who are still trapped in sin and iniquity.
For us the empty grave is behind us, resurrection within us and eternal glory as inheritance before us. Let us emerge triumphant for we are more than conquerors in every aspect of our lives through Christ that gives us power – the living power of resurrection!
Ralton Naidoo (Eersterus Congregation)