By David R. Ferguson
This past Sunday around the globe many people celebrated what is commonly referred to as Easter, the anniversary of that great and glorious day in which our Lord and Savior defeated Death and rose triumphantly from the grave.
His tomb had been sealed and a huge stone had been placed in front of it in the hopes of holding His dead body inside it, but there was absolutely nothing devised by the mind of man, no stratagem clever enough, that would prevent Jesus from rising from the dead, just as He Himself had prophesied.
In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul describes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as being the defining, foundational principles of our faith. These are the gospel itself (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Without the fact of the risen Savior “our faith also is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14 [NAS]) because “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17 [NAS]). If Christ didn’t rise from the grave and leave that tomb empty, there would be no hope of salvation for anyone. As Paul states it, “If we have hoped in Christ only in this life, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19 [NAS]).Have you, in obedient, saving faith, identified yourself with Jesus and His death, burial and resurrection, visually proclaiming the very gospel itself? In the words of Paul, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:3-5). By allowing ourselves to be immersed in that watery grave of baptism, when we rise up out of those waters, we are considered a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17 [NAS]), one who is no longer God’s enemy, but an adopted child of His (Ephesians 1:5). As a child of God, we are “heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17 [NAS]). We become “fellow partakers of the promise in Christ” (Ephesians 3:6 [NAS]) which means that since Jesus lives, then we no longer need to fear death, either. We, too, will be resurrected and Death will not keep us from our reward of living with Him in Heaven forever!