Carl F. H. Henry
correctly observes, "Hollywood aggressively probes
immortality as the ultimate horizon. Afterlife films
leap over AIDS and senior citizenship, death,
funerals, and grief to concentrate on a world
beyond—which often amounts to nothing more than
postmortem out-of-body hanky-panky. The movies
increasingly banner that death is not final. They
tell us that a spirit-world is in store for
us—without God, without judgment, without need of
grace, without bodily resurrection, without fear of
hell. Take it from Hollywood and movie producers,
our personal psyche survives the crematory and
grave. Feel better about this worldly licentiousness
and greed, for a pleasant Karma awaits us in the
long future—on the authority of Hollywood script
writers who become our generation’s Scripture
rewriters" ("Christianity and Resurgent Paganism,"
in Gods of This Age or God of the Ages? pp.
What is the truth about
our spirituality and our future? Where do we turn
for authentic answers about our future? You may be
surprised, but in a realistic examination of death
you find the answer to our future life.
events took place at Calvary the day Christ died.
The miraculous three hours darkness in the middle of
the day was as if God put His hand over Calvary to
block out the intense spiritual agony of His Son on
the Mercy Seat from profane eyes of sinful man. The
veil of the temple between the Holy Place and the
Most Holy Place was torn from the top to the bottom
pointing to God as the One behind the drama opening
a way into His holy presence for all who believe on
His Son. "God caused the curtain that was hanging in
the temple to tear in two from the top to the
bottom." God opened a way into His Holy of Holies
for all who call upon the name of Jesus. It is
through Christ’s sacrificial death for us that we
are given access to God with all the barriers of sin
permanently removed (Eph. 2:18; 3:12; Heb. 4:16;
10:19, 35). Shortly after His own death, Jesus took
the penitent thief on the cross with Him to heaven
Jesus actually tasted the
pangs of spiritual death, in addition to the
physical crucifixion, as a payment for the penalty
of sins for you and me. Jesus bore the full brunt of
the complete abandonment by God for guilty sinners.
The innocent Substitute became sin for us and died
in our place. The spotless innocent Lamb of God, who
never experienced personal sin, for the first time
in eternity, was separated from the Father to pay
our debt. In His innocent death, He saved us from
the horror of being eternally abandoned by God.
Jesus endured the same horrors and punishment that
you and I will escape by putting our faith in Him.
God the Son was separated from God the Father
because of our sins.
Jesus Christ was in
complete control of His death. He shouted with a
loud voice, "It is finished! Father into Thy hands I
commit My spirit." He voluntarily yielded up His
spirit and died. Augustine said, "He gave up His
life because He willed it, when He willed it and as
He willed it."
Christ died "with a loud
voice," demonstrating that He did not just allow His
life to ebb away like most crucifixion victims in
absolute exhaustion at the end. The victorious shout
of a Conqueror in full strength, "It is finished,"
shows He did not die as a result of physical
exhaustion, but voluntarily. The gospel writers say
He gave His life, poured it out, laid it down or
yielded it up (Isa. 53:12; John 10:11, 15). He was
in absolute control of His life and death. Jesus
knew exactly what He was doing when He offered
Himself as our vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice
for sin. This was no martyr’s death. He was no
victim of the circumstances in Jewish politics.
Jesus completed the work the Father had given Him to
do. He was giving His life as a ransom for sin
When the darkness at
Calvary lifted the substitutionary atoning death of
Jesus, He brought the light of eternal life to a
world lost in sin.
"And behold, the veil of
the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and
the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs
were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had
fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the
tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy
city and appeared to many" (Matthew 27:51-53).
The earthquake that shook
Calvary is the one referred to in contemporary
Jewish history that damaged the temple about A.D.
30. The Jewish historian Josephus tells of a quaking
in the temple before the destruction in A.D. 70. (Wars,
VI, 299). The Jewish Talmud tells of an earthquake
forty years before the desolation of the temple that
caused the doors of the temple to be opened by
themselves (Yoma, 39b).
The graveyard was
probably near Jerusalem because after Christ rose
from the dead those who were also raised from the
dead that Sunday walked into Jerusalem.
The graves were
sepulchers carved into the rocks with their
entrances made secure by very large boulders. The
rocks were split and the graves were opened at the
instant Christ died. It was a powerful earthquake to
split open rocks. It was the result of the victory
shout of Jesus on the cross. The moment He died, the
earth shook and the graves split open.
Judaism would never be
the same after Jesus the Messiah died for sinners
and rose from the dead. In deed, the world would
never be the same again. The event was earthshaking.
The great earthquake that
shook Calvary synchronized with the death of Jesus
At that moment great
masses of rock split open and the graves were
The timing is too
arresting for this to have been a natural
phenomenon. It happened when Christ shouted, "It is
finished!" The veil in the Holy of Holies was torn
from top to bottom.
The timing of the events
is important. Matthew connects this entire strange
phenomenon at the cross directly with the moment of
The exact coincidence of
the earthquake with the death of Jesus is
inconceivable on mere naturalistic grounds.
God’s hand was
shaking the earth violently.
Certain rock-hewn tombs
were shaken open at the hour of the death of Christ.
But not all of the tombs were opened.
Which graves opened up?
Imagine the profound
affect these opened graves had on family and
friends. Those graves were opened on Friday around 3
p.m. and remained open. People were busy with
Passover celebrations. No believing Jew would
desecrate himself by touching an open grave that
weekend. Imagine for a moment how the word spread
like wildfire through Jerusalem. But not all the
graves were opened. It had been obvious that a
certain group of people’s graves were opened. The
strange thing was that only those who had looked for
the coming of the Messiah were opened. These saints
must have been those who in life had looked for the
hope of Israel and seen in Christ that hope
fulfilled. Simeon and Anna at the birth of Jesus
were longing for the "Consolation of Israel" (Luke
2:25-38). Why this person’s grave and not that
grave? Why not the graves of others nearby in the
same location? It was as if someone selected
specific graves to be opened and others left alone.
It sent a powerful message for every believer in Him
of the coming glory of the Lord Jesus.
The opening of the
specific graves was by design. Selective graves
opened up. These were the graves of believers in
Christ. No tomb was opened up whose soul did not
have an interest in the death of Christ. The opening
of the grave was in response to Christ’s victory
There was discrimination
in the graveyard. Only certain graves were broken up
when Christ died. The bodies of those in them came
to life after Christ rose from the dead. Saints of
Jesus Christ who had believed on Him and fallen
asleep in death before His crucifixion were raised
from the dead, and after His resurrection they
appeared to many in the city of Jerusalem.
The King James and New
American Standard Bible place the timing of the
saints rising from the dead after Christ rose from
the dead on Sunday morning. The NIV gives it at the
time of Christ’s death. It would be more consistent
with other Scriptures to take the position of the
bodies in these opened graves did not rise until
after Christ rose from the dead on Sunday.
The whole person came
alive that Sunday morning. We are not to think that
a group of unanimated bodies came floating up out of
the ground. These individuals were raised from the
dead after Christ rose. No names are given of who
these saints were. In fact, "many bodies of the
saints that were asleep were raised."
They were not given life
on Friday afternoon and told to wait around three
days in their tombs until Christ rose on Sunday as
the NIV suggests.
"Christ is the
first-fruits of the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:23),
therefore their resurrection does not occur until He
was raised. The tombs were broken open at Christ’s
death by the earthquake. However, the saints were
raised to life after Jesus’ resurrection and then
came out of the tombs.
Who opened the
graves and gave life?
Who gave those dead
bodies life? Remember those graves were opened at
the precise moment Christ died. The dead bodies,
however, were not revived until Christ rose from the
dead. This is not something that an earthquake can
George Buttrick said,
"God watched His Son on the cross; God wrote in
darkened sky and torn mountains His judgment on our
wickedness, and His love for Christ, and God proved
Himself then and there the Lord of death and life."
"The earth shook, and the
rocks were split." The earth and the rocks are in
passive form implying that God Himself is the actor
in these supernatural events. God had His hand on
the earth and caused it to shake. He split the rocks
apart. He opened up the tombs.
Matthew tells us there
was a very close connection between the earth
shaking, rocks splitting and the tombs opening up.
"The bodies of saints"
who had died sometime before Christ’s crucifixion
came to life. The full meaning is "were raised to
life." God raised to life many of His chosen people
who had died and were in their graves.
There were hundreds of
people who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus. When
they returned to their homes from the crucifixion,
they were full of remorse, smiting their breasts in
Can you imagine the
effect upon them when they saw these risen living
saints who "appeared to many" in the city of
Jerusalem? The construction can be translated they
"appeared to many people," or "were seen by many
people." Yes, again there were witnesses to these
Matthew is probably an
eyewitness to what he is recording since he alone
mentions the saints coming alive and giving witness
We know nothing about the
life of these saints after they appeared in
Jerusalem after Christ’s resurrection. Everything is
pure conjecture as to whether they were taken to
heaven after Christ’s ascension. It is probably
safer to assume that they later died like Lazarus
who was called back into his former natural body. In
John chapter eleven Jesus commanded the stone
entrance at his tomb to be removed by the men. It
would appear also that the resurrection of the
saints in Jerusalem was the resuscitation of the
natural bodies and not their final resurrection
bodies when Christ returns. There is no clear
teaching in other passages for a different
resurrection of these individuals. They were revived
from the dead like Lazarus. These dead men and women
came alive, walked out of their tombs and entered
Jerusalem. "And coming out of the tombs after His
[Christ’s] resurrection they entered the holy city
and appeared to many." Matthew does not give us any
additional information. The assumption then is they
lived for some years and died as Lazarus and others
whom Jesus raised from the dead in His ministry
These saints returned to
Jerusalem where they were recognized by friends,
neighbors and family.
Now in heaven they await
the great day when Christ returns. The final
resurrection will come at the second coming of
THE SAVIOR IS RISEN
The reviving of a limited
number of saints sent a powerful message of the
reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus
Christ. "I am the resurrection and the life," Jesus
said. These people who were alive walking around in
Jerusalem the morning of Christ’s resurrection were
additional evidence of the truth of His claim to be
the giver of life.
The open graves and the
appearance of these saints declare to us that Jesus
has once and for all conquered death. In His dying
on the cross and rising from the dead, He destroyed
the power of death. He has opened the grave once for
all. The tomb has lost its power because Christ is
alive. Death is no longer a tragedy. The grave has
lost its terror. Because Christ lives, we too shall
The death of Jesus Christ
blots out our sins and defeats the power of sin and
death. It opens up our access into the presence of
the Lord God. His resurrection promises to us the
final resurrection of those who die in Him. The
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantees
our resurrection when Christ returns.
The death and the
resurrection of Jesus go together. Jesus died for
sinners. His substitutionary death would be
meaningless without His resurrection.
The resurrection of Jesus
Christ brought these saints to life. The message is
clear. Death has been conquered.
The resurrected saints
went into Jerusalem and appeared to many declaring
with conviction that Jesus is Lord over the living
and the dead.
Jesus said, "All that the
Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who
comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I
have come down from heaven, not to do My own will,
but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of
Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I
lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For
this is the will of My Father, that everyone who
beholds the Son and believes in Him will have
eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the
last day. . . . No one can come to Me unless the
Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him
up on the last day. . . . He who eats My flesh and
drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise
him up on the last day" (John 6:37-40, 44, 54).
At the tomb of Lazarus
Jesus told Lazarus’ sisters, "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. Do you believe this?" (John
Here was one of those
additional pieces of evidence of the authenticity of
the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is
the seed of David according to the flesh who was
"declared with power to be the Son of God by the
resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit
of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 1:3-4).
First fruits of the
resurrection of believers
Christ’s resurrection was
different from the resurrection of the saints in
Jerusalem that Sunday morning. Upon the resurrection
of Jesus, He left the sealed tomb before the door
was opened. The opening of His tomb came after He
had already risen and left the tomb. It was opened
to allow the disciples and probably the soldiers to
look in and see that the body of Jesus was already
gone. The departure of Jesus from the tomb was not
dependent upon the splitting open of the grave. When
Christ rose from the dead, His resurrection body was
not limited by the stone walls. When the angel came
down and rolled away the stone at the entrance to
the tomb of Jesus, it was obvious He was not in
there. He had already left.
The Jewish people at the
time of the sowing of seed would mark off certain
barley in the field. When the time the harvest
season arrived, men would carry a sickle and basket
and on command reap the specially designated grain.
The men would march to the Tabernacle bringing a
sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest to the
priest. The priest would wave the sheaf accompanied
by burnt and meal offerings. "He shall wave the
sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the
day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. Now
on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer
a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt
offering to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:11–12).
This first fruits
offering represented the whole harvest yet in the
field. Men gave thanks for the harvest while it
still stood in the field. God still claims first
fruits of everything. It belongs to Him, even before
it is harvested.
The apostle Paul saw the
resurrection of Christ as the first fruits of a
greater resurrection day in 1 Corinthians 15:20–25.
Jesus’ resurrection was the first fruits of the
victory over death (v. 20). "But now Christ has been
raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who
are asleep." His resurrection is the first fruits of
those who die in Christ and are raised when He
returns in glory. Christ rose from the dead as the
first fruits of the resurrection on the third day
after His death.
Christ is the first
representative of the whole resurrection harvest
that will take place when He returns. On the day in
which He rose from the dead, Jesus said to Mary,
"Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to
the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them,
‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God
and your God.’ Mary Magdalene came, announcing to
the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord,' and that He
had said these things to her" (John 20:17–18). Our
Great High Priest was waving the first fruits of the
Our Lord Jesus Christ is
in the presence of the Father in heaven as the
representative of the whole church that is still in
the field waiting the harvest. The first fruits are
a living testimony to God's sovereignty and says to
a watching world, "Because I live, you shall live
The tomb is empty! Jesus
rose from the dead! He is alive. He is the first to
rise from the dead in expectation of a greater
The resurrection of these
saints in Jerusalem, occurring after Jesus Himself
was raised, is a sure indication of the coming
harvest when all the saints of God will be raised.
The first fruits were a
sign of the greater harvest to come. The
resurrection of Jesus was a sign the resurrection of
all believers to come in the future. It was a pledge
and proof of the resurrection of His people. These
bodies we live in now will be dissolved in death,
but they are going to be changed by the resurrection
when Christ comes. "For the Lord Himself will
descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the
dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are
alive and remain will be caught up together with
them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and
so we shall always be with the Lord" (1
Thessalonians 4:16-17). God will give us a specially
equipped body fitted for the resurrection life.
The resurrection of Jesus
is the seal of all His claims to be the Son of God
and the Messiah.
Without the resurrection
anyone can say he is god, or a messiah. However,
without the resurrection He could not be the Savior.
Christ is authentic.
Christianity is true because of the resurrection of
"The resurrection is the
great central fact to Christian faith and
experience. . . . If Christ be not raised, that
invalidates the whole Christian message, and the
whole Christian experience," notes G. Campbell
The raising of the bodies
of the saints after His resurrection is further
evidence of His resurrection and a foretaste of our
resurrection in the future.
THE SAINTS ARE ALIVE
The open graves and the
appearance to many people in the holy city was a
glorious message that death is not the end. It was a
message that said there is life after death. Because
Christ is alive, you too shall live. There are no
obstacles to the resurrection of Christ, and there
are no obstacles to your own resurrection. If God
can raise these saints to life He can and will do
likewise for you on the great day of the
resurrection. There is a great day coming when I too
shall live again. My son, my father, my mother and
friends will come to life and live!
Mark it down, these dead
men still speak. Christ is alive. Christ is coming
again. Christ will give life to the dead!
Everything is now
ready for our resurrection.
Christ destroyed the
power of death. The power of sin is death and Christ
has dealt with the source of our problem. Death
entered into the world by sin. Death is the penalty
for sin, and Christ died to pay the penalty in full.
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into
the world, and death through sin, and so death
spread to all men, because all sinned" (Romans
Christ dealt with the
penalty of sin when He died on the cross. When
Christ went to the cross and died, God exhausted the
penalty of sin on our behalf. Christ has paid the
condemnation of sin in full for all who will believe
on Him. The power of sin was broken. The penalty was
paid and therefore has no more power over those who
believe on Christ. God’s wrath was exhausted on
Christ in those three hours of darkness. Death had
no more power to condemn. Christ is therefore the
victory over sin and the grave.
William Nicholson said,
Christ’s "death is our judicial deliverance; His
resurrection is our actual deliverance. His death is
our sin pardoned; His resurrection the receipted
certificate of that pardon. His death was Hades
opened; His resurrection, Hades made empty. His
grave is the grave torn asunder; His resurrection is
the dead bodies of His saints walking forth from
their graves in the life incorruptible and eternal!"
Our redemption will
be complete with resurrection bodies
Read again the words of
the apostle Paul as he reminded believers of the
blessed hope of Christ appearing and our
transformation in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57.
"Now I say this,
brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the
imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will
not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead
will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
For this perishable must put on the imperishable,
and this mortal must put on immortality. But when
this perishable will have put on the imperishable,
and this mortal will have put on immortality, then
will come about the saying that is written, ‘DEATH
IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR
VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?’ The sting of
death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but
thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ."
When Christ returns we
along with all those in heaven will receive our
glorious resurrection bodies (1 Corinthians 15:44,
51; Philippians 3:21).
Christianity is different
from all the other religions of the world because of
the resurrection of the body.
"The body is not in
heaven awaiting our arrival there, nor is it to be
brought down to us from heaven," writes Charles
Hodge. Our permanent dwelling place is in heaven. We
will receive a resurrection body when Christ comes.
He rescues our bodies from the grave, and fashions
them like unto His glorious body by the power that
He is able to subdue all things unto Himself (Phil.
"The graves were opened."
Nothing now remains to be accomplished because
Christ has set you free from all obstacles to His
resurrection power. The believer has already passed
from death to life, and it is now only a matter of
God’s perfect timing when He shall change this body
into a glorious resurrection body! "We shall all be
What happens when
In 2 Corinthians 5:1-8
Paul tells us what would take place even in case he
should die before Christ comes. If his old worn out
earthly tent would be dissolved before Christ
returns, he knew he would have a permanent house in
heaven. He compares this earthly body to a temporary
tent that we now live in which will be exchanged for
a permanent dwelling place in heaven when we die.
When this earthly tent perishes we have an
everlasting habitation in heaven (John 14:1-3).
Even if he has to wait
until Christ returns for the resurrection body, he
would still have a better habitation in God’s
presence in heaven. "For we know that if the earthly
tent which is our house is torn down, we have a
building from God, a house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1). Paul
speaks of his being absent from this human body and
immediately being present with the Lord. The soul of
the believer goes directly into the presence of God
when we die. We do not go into some dreamy state of
semi-conscious existence. Jesus said, "God is not
the God of the dead, but of the living."
For the apostle Paul
dying before Christ returns is not his first desire,
but if it should happen he will be "at home with the
Lord" until the time when believers receive their
new resurrected bodies. His focus is on the
resurrection when Christ comes. Paul knew his future
is secure in the Lord regardless of what happens to
this earthly body.
The individual who dies
and who has trusted in Jesus Christ as his personal
Savior goes immediately to heaven to be in the
presence of the Lord. Though his or her body is
deposited into the grave and decomposes, the soul
and spirit, i.e. the immaterial part, the real
person, goes immediately into the presence of our
Savior. At the return of Christ for the church the
dead in Christ will return with Him and their bodies
will be raised so that their souls and spirits are
joined with their resurrected, glorified bodies. At
the same time, those who are in Christ and remain
alive until Christ returns are simply transformed
into their glorified bodies that will be like
Christ’s. This is contrary to the false ideas that
the soul sleeps in an intermediate place. The Bible
teaches that when the believer dies he goes to
heaven to be with our Lord and is very much aware of
His presence and those about him.
In Philippians 1:22-24
Paul clearly implies that as soon as he departs from
the flesh he expected to be present with the Lord.
Since the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from
every sin, there is no process of expiation or
purification to be endured or experienced in a kind
of purgatory by believers after death.
The apostle Paul was
confident that to die meant to be with Jesus Christ
in heaven which was far better than being here in
this body. Soul sleeping was the farthest thing from
The resurrection of the
body is a future event, to take place at the second
coming of Christ. However, the house of permanent
dwelling, in which we enter at death, is eternal.
"Therefore, being always of good courage, and
knowing that while we are at home in the body we are
absent from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by
sight—We are of good courage, I say, and prefer
rather to be absent from the body and to be at home
with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). The apostle is
speaking of the change we believers will experience
"The Christian’s heaven
is to be with Christ, for we shall be like Him when
we see Him as He is. In His presence the believer
passes as soon as he is absent from the body, and
into His likeness the soul is at death immediately
transformed; and when at the resurrection, the body
is made like unto His glorious body, the work of
redemption, is consummated. Awaiting the
consummation, it is an inestimable blessing to be
assured that believers, as soon as they are absent
from the body, are present with the Lord," writes
Charles Hodge (2 Corinthians, p. 123).
When the soul leaves its
earthly tent, it will not be lost in immensity, nor
driven away homeless and houseless. It will have a
house and home in heaven with Christ. The soul does
not cease to exist at death. "It does not sink into
a state of unconsciousness. It does not go into
purgatory; but, being made perfect in holiness, it
does immediately pass into glory. As soon as it is
absent from the body, it is present with the Lord"
(Hodge, p. 112-13). The he adds, "The soul therefore
at death enters a house whose builder is God. . .
Being made by God it is eternal. It is to last
forever; and we are never to leave it. . . . Heaven
is an abode which, once entered, is retained
When the apostle tells us
that to be "absent from the body," he is referring
to his physical death. To be present with the Lord
was like going home and therefore to be with the
Lord in heaven. When the apostle says in 1
Thessalonians 4:13, "But we do not want you to be
uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep,
that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no
hope" he is using a metaphor for death which
compares physical death to sleep.
For the believer in
Christ, death is somewhat like sleep. "Sleep" as a
metaphor for death is used only of the believer in
Christ in the New Testament. Death is like sleep to
the believer. The person in a deep physical sleep
does not cease to exist and neither does the dead
person cease to exist. Therefore, the grave is like
a deathbed for the body. But the believer’s soul and
spirit are awake and enjoying the wonderful blessed
presence of God.
Furthermore, as sleep is
temporary so is the death of the body. Sleep is a
beautiful figure of speech for death and therefore
anticipates our resurrection. There is no suggestion
of soul sleeping. All those who are "dead in Christ"
are now in His presence in heaven including the Old
Testament saints (cf. Matt. 17:3). Those who are
"dead in Christ" now and those who die before Christ
returns will all receive resurrected bodies at that
time (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
Moreover, there is going
to be a "new heaven and a new earth" which apart
from Christ’s atoning death would not have been
possible. Calvary’s earthquake answered Sinai’s as
if to say the Law has been fulfilled in the death of
Christ. The penalty has been paid in full. Christ
died for your sins and rose from the dead. The
believer is no longer under the law, but under
grace. The one sacrifice of Christ sanctifies the
believer forever. God does not impute to the
penitent believer his sins unto condemnation. God
treats the believer as one for whom all his sins,
past, present and future are infinitely satisfied
and has a perpetual claim to the sacrifice of
Are you ready?
"The sacrifice of Christ
avails for the sins committed from the foundation of
the world to the final consummation. It affords a
permanent and all-sufficient reason why God can be
just and yet justify the ungodly," writes Hodge.
William Nicholson reminds
us: "At the instant of Christ’s death the graves
were opened. Remember that. At the instant of His
death all our sins were completely answered for. The
graves were not merely partly opened; the obstacles
not merely partly done away."
There is nothing left for
us to achieve in the matter of our pardon and
acceptance with God. We can add nothing to the work
of Christ. Our salvation from sin is in Him at this
moment, and it is perfect. What you and I must do is
to receive Him, and enjoy Him forever. Remember, "he
that believes not shall be damned."
Those who die without
personal faith in Christ are shut out from the
presence of the Lord in Hades, the current abode of
the unsaved dead, and are conscious now of their
punishment (Luke 16:23). In Luke 16 Jesus emphasized
that it is a permanent place of suffering and not a
temporary purgatory. They are waiting for the
Great White Throne judgment and eternal punishment
in Hell in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:4).
There is a judgment day
coming for all mankind. Christ will judge and only
those who have experienced the mercy of God in
Christ who died for us can have confidence as we
approach His day.
John 3:16-18, 36 reads,
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not
perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send
the Son into the world to judge the world, but that
the world might be saved through Him. He who
believes in Him is not judged; he who does not
believe has been judged already, because he has not
believed in the name of the only begotten Son of
God. . . . He who believes in the Son has eternal
life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see
life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
27:51-53 Saints Go Marching Into Town Alive!
Series: Life of