THE RESURRECTION: NOT A “HOPE SO” BUT A “HOPE SURE!”
THE RESURRECTION NOT A “HOPE SO” BUT A “HOPE SURE” BECAUSE OUR REDEEMER LIVES!
Every saint’s great “hope is in the resurrection of the dead!” (Acts 23:6). When Christ arose, death died. The angel rolled away the stone from Jesus’ tomb, not to let the living Lord out but to let the unconvinced outsiders in. And so Christianity is a religion of the open tomb! Indeed, the best news the world has ever heard came from a Jerusalem graveyard!
When Socrates lay dying, he was asked “Shall we live again,” to which he replied “I hope so!” Socrates’ hope was “to want something to happen or be true.” To which Job responds “For what is the hope of the godless when he is cut off, when God requires his life?” (Job 27:8)
In contrast, Biblical hope is not a possibility but a certainty for as Paul wrote we possess “the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago.” (Titus 1:2–note) And so Christian hope represents an absolute assurance that God will do good to us in the future! Indeed, for believers the “best is yet to come!”
The Egyptian belief in a resurrection from the dead led them to call the mummy case the “chest of the living” and to place a scarab beetle in the corpse’s heart. Why? Because they knew the scarab’s larva buried itself in the earth and later emerged as a mature insect which to them symbolized “resurrection.”
Socrates and the Egyptians held a false hope, but Sir Walter Raleigh held fast to “a hope both sure and steadfast” which served as an anchor for his soul (Heb 6:19–note), prompting him to write the following words in his Bible the night before he was beheaded:
“From this earth, this grave, this dust, my God shall raise me up!” Hallelujah!
Jesus said “Because I live, you shall live also.” (Jn 14:19) The resurrection of believers is guaranteed by Christ’s own resurrection. His resurrection is the proof of our reconciliation. Our sure hope is that one day, Jesus will “transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.” (Php 3:21–note)
And when we take our last breath and leave our loved ones, they need “not grieve as do the rest who have no hope,” but can “comfort one another with these words” that “the dead in Christ will rise.” Our GRAVE is but a GATEWAY to His GLORY (1 Th 4:13-18–note). For believers death is not a period, but only a comma! “We are more sure to arise out of our graves than out of our beds.” (T. Watson) David believed this truth writing “I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake.” (Ps 17:15) Asaph affirmed “With Thy counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.” (Ps 73:24) Job believed this truth declaring “Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:26) John assures us “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 Jn 3:2–note)
Spurgeon adds that forever “Christ shall be the object of our eternal vision and we shall we never want any joy beyond that of seeing Him. Think not that this will be a narrow sphere for the mind to dwell in. It is but one Source of delight, but that Source is infinite. All His attributes shall be subjects for contemplation, and as He is infinite under each aspect, there is no fear of exhaustion. His works, His gifts, His love to us, and His glory in all His purposes, and in all His actions, these shall make an eternal theme which will be ever new.”
Let us join Job in affirming “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25)
We need to be like the soldier who said “When I die do not sound taps over my grave, but reveille–the morning call, the summons to rise!” Glory! Hallelujah!
In the 1700’s, there lived a man named Samuel Medley who went off to sea with the British Navy and was wounded in battle. During his recovery, he read a sermon by Isaac Watts and was converted. He later became a British pastor and a hymnist and wrote these words based on Job 19:25:
I know that my Redeemer lives!
What joy the blest assurance gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my everlasting Head!
He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.
He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.
He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.
He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.
He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!