Let’s look back in time to that first Easter morning to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One of the greatest gifts of the empty tomb is the full life that has been promised.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV).
That full life was to come through the sinless life, sacrificial death and supernatural resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is an amazing truth that death and the grave could not hold our Lord Jesus. The Roman soldiers and the religious leaders could not scheme to keep him in the tomb, no matter how many guards they posted along with the Roman seal. No power in the universe was powerful enough to render omnipotence impotent.
Make no mistake, when our Lord was raised from the dead, death was driven into the ashes of defeat once for all. Death, which for a little while held him in the grave, is now rendered powerless forevermore. The power that raised Jesus from death to life is the very same power that raised you from death to life. And the life that has been promised to you is the full and abundant life.
So, what is this full and abundant life? It is not, as many would have you believe, to be found in material possessions. No matter how much stuff you have, you can still be empty. The full and abundant life is simply to be found in your relationship with Jesus Christ. The deeper your relationship is with Jesus, the fuller your life will be.
Because we have been raised with Christ, we have been given the power to live a full and abundant life. Peter assured us that “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). Having been buried with Christ in the grave, we have been raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).
To be sure, there is much that can be said about this full and abundant life, but one fact reigns supreme: this life you have been given was a gift of grace and not due to any of your good works — regardless of how “good” you think they may be. Mercy sought you; mercy caught you and bought you. It had nothing to do with your merit. Every time we seek to find our acceptance — not in the beloved, but in our behavior — we wander back into the dead works of religion. We wear the grave clothes of self-righteousness. A full and abundant life is a life that rises above seeking God’s favor and blessing based on how we relate to him.
Rating our performance
Who reading this right now would feel any confidence in approaching the Great White Throne on the basis of your own performance? On your “good” days, perhaps you don’t feel too badly about it. But what about on your “bad” days, which (if you are anything like me) far outweigh your good ones? God’s favor and blessing do not flow to us based on how we relate to him, but rather on how Jesus related and continually relates to us. It was his perfect, obedient life and sacrificial death that causes God to look upon us with pity, compassion and love. It was the precious blood of Jesus that cleansed us and connected us to the Father. The just (Jesus) died for the unjust (you and me), giving to the unjust what only the just could give.
His death is our death, which frees us from sin and death.
His resurrection is our resurrection, which frees us to walk in the newness of life.
A full and abundant life is not a life that is busily engaged in doing more and trying harder to please God. It is a life that dives more deeply into the truth of the Gospel, applying it to every area of life, knowing that we are already pleasing to God because of Jesus. Only the truths of the Gospel can free us to live a full and abundant life, where we live out practically (obedience and holiness) what we already are positionally (a child of the Most High God).
His grace and power
“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).
Augustine profoundly pronounced this truth more than 1,500 years ago when he wrote in his Confessions, “Give me the grace to do as you command, and command me to do what you will! . . . [W]hen your commands are obeyed, it is from you that we receive the power to obey them.”
Our salvation and our sanctification are all the work of God’s grace and power. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
The EMPTY TOMB has promised to all those who trust in Christ alone a FULL LIFE. Happy Easter.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that… Amen!
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.