“For the believer there is hope beyond the grave, because Jesus Christ has opened the door to heaven for us by His death and resurrection.” -Billy Graham
Yesterday I saw a friend’s Facebook post that reminded me that the cross of Jesus brings both death and life; it brings heartache and joy; and it brings darkness and light. The old is dead and the new is coming to life. Isn’t that what Easter is about? Christ died on the cross, He took on our sins. He was buried and raised again so that we could walk in a new life, but we must make the choice of faith in Him in order to receive it! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” (1 Peter 1:3-6)
“For the Christian, the Cross tells us that God understands our suffering, for He took upon Himself at the Cross all of our sins and all of our failures and all of our sufferings. Our Lord, on that cross, asked the question, ‘Why?’ ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ And He received His answer, He knew. To redeem the world, to save you and me from our sins, to give us assurance that if we died we’re going to heaven. He was saying from the cross, I love you and I know the heartaches and the sorrows and the pain that you feel. Easter points us beyond the tragedy of the Cross to the hope of the empty tomb. It tells us that there is hope for eternal life for Christ has conquered death. It also tells us that God has triumphed over evil and death and hell. This is our hope and it can be your hope as well.”–Billy Graham
We have been born into this sinful world, but we all have the opportunity to receive salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ. “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:9) For Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
One day we will all meet Jesus, so the correct question to ask yourself is does He know your name? “The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3) Believers alone are “rescued…from the dominion of darkness and brought…into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14).
God reigns supreme over the world, leading it providentially toward the day of the kingdom to come (Acts 1:6-7). This is the day of grace for the world. Humanity now lives between the times of Christ’s ascension to the Father and His return “on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). Jesus’s signs were given to lead people to faith, and by His Spirit He draws sinners to the cross, leading men and women to reconciliation with God, which then produces peace in the hearts of those who believe in Him.
If you have believed by faith in Jesus as the risen Son of God, then you know the hope we have in death. “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (Job 19:25-26) You are assured that your name is written in the Book of Life and that Jesus will acknowledge you before the Father (Rev. 3:5). If you haven’t believed in Him in faith, I encourage you to do so. You are reading this because you are searching for the truth, and Jesus is The Truth; the Living Word of God.
As I continue to study about the “storms” in our lives, death is the inevitable one that we must all face. It is the Word of God that breaks through the storm clouds of life that engulf us. The light of God’s presence in our lives is a purifying flame that will draw us near to Him. We don’t have to fear the sound of hoofbeats if we fasten our eyes to the One who holds reins, and who has swallowed death in victory. “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:53-57)
How does a child of God face death differently than a nonbeliever? “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:16-18) We keep our “eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of [our] faith” (Heb. 12:2). Those who believe will be with Him in eternity because we serve a risen Savior (1 Cor. 15:3-8).