The cross, the grave, the empty tomb


Pastor Thad Gifford - Contributing Columnist



The cross. The grave. And the empty tomb. What do they mean to you? This Sunday, Christians all over the world will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful time of the year to be a Christian. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons but let me say right away, none of them include the Easter bunny or colored eggs or Easter egg hunts. While I know for many that this is exactly what Easter means to them, there is only one reason to celebrate Easter. And it is because of what Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son did for us three days before.

Jesus voluntarily left the portals of Heaven where He was (and still is) equal with God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. He left it all to become God in the flesh for one purpose only. And that purpose was to die. That is the only reason that Jesus Christ came into this world. That He might become human, be tempted just like we are in all things and yet live a perfect, sinless life so that He could fulfill the Old Testament prophecy of being the One who would be lifted up on a tree (cross) in order to save man from his sins. To put it plainly, Jesus died to pay a debt that He didn’t owe because we owed a debt that we couldn’t pay. Re-read that and let it sink in. If Jesus had not died on the cross as the propitiation for our sins (the payment) we would all be on our way to a devil’s hell without a chance of being saved. Saved from what? Saved from the penalty of sin which is both physical death and also a spiritual death. (Romans 6:23).

When man sinned in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world and with sin, came death, disease, divorce and all sorts of terrible things that we experience in life today. (Side note here: God isn’t responsible for death, divorce, sickness, cancer, etc. It’s the result of Satan’s plan to have sin enter the world and corrupt it. So the next time something bad happens in your life, don’t blame God, no blame the devil. It’s his fault.)

And the Bible says that we will die because of sin. Not just a physical death, but we are dead spiritually and we need to be born again. (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13) If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you have a need to be born again and have your sins forgiven by the substitutionary death of Jesus.

Just because Jesus died on the cross does not mean that everyone goes to Heaven. Not unless we have confessed our sins to Him, believed in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, confess Jesus with our mouth as being our Lord and Savior and trusted Him and Him alone to save us from our sins.

Eternal life has nothing to do with church membership, being baptized, giving to the church or charities, being a good person, treating others like we want to be treated or anything else that man has come up with. God’s plan of salvation was accomplished on the cross and when we do things “God’s way” then we will go to Heaven. If we refuse to do so, we will hear the words, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Many good, church going people are going to be very surprised when they stand before the Lord. Unless you are born again, you will surely die (physically and spiritually). And Jesus said that, I didn’t.

What does the cross, the grave and the empty tomb mean to you? Hopefully, they are the badge of your Christian faith and you can stand and say with millions of other Christians around the world, “He is Risen!”

And that is Something to Think About for this week.

If you are on Facebook, you can watch our service live on Sunday morning at 10:45 a.m. Simply like our Facebook page at Crossroadslondon and watch.

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Pastor Thad Gifford

Contributing Columnist

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 2343 U.S. Route 42, London, one mile west of Kirkwood Cemetery. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 2343 U.S. Route 42, London, one mile west of Kirkwood Cemetery. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.

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