The Cross and the Open Tomb


 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death,
in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
we too might walk in newness of life.”
(Romans 6:4)

The following is an excerpt from The Cross through the Open Tomb by Donald Grey Barnhouse:

It is not wise to teach the crucifixion as the climax of the life of Christ.  Such teaching not only minimizes the resurrection, but it also robs the believer of a sense of the ever-living presence of his Lord in daily life.  Let us consider the cross from the resurrection side in three aspects.

First, as we think of the cross in connection with out past sin, we shall know only sorrowing defeat unless we see the death of Jesus Christ through the open tomb, for our sin nailed Jesus Christ to that cross.  If we see Him merely dying, then there is nothing for us.  But Christ arose from the grave, and His resurrection assures us that He has overcome death.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us the triumphant cross. There our sin was dealt with; there our sin was paid for; there our enemy was defeated; there death with all its powers was vanquished and we have life in Christ.

Second, the cross though the tomb means that we have a living Savior, a Savior of our present life.  The tomb of our Lord is empty and our Savior is in heaven interceding for us.  Furthermore, because Christ is risen, we have the high privilege of walking with Him in newness of life, for by His Spirit we are identified with Him.  This enables us to walk as the sons of God among the sons of men.  Through the cross our sins are forgiven; by the open tomb the risen Lord imparts to us His eternal life.  When the cross is truly seen through the open tomb, we can be sure of victory in our risen Savior, amid the problems of daily life.  God can tame our tongues; He can give us a word of grace instead of words of criticism.  God can make us long-suffering instead of short-tempered.  In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Third, not only is the cross through the open tomb our greatest triumph because our sins are forgiven and redeemed forever; not only do we have confidence and trust for daily life because our risen Lord is at the right hand of God; but the cross through the open tomb guarantees our future hope.  1 Peter 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  By His great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  Nothing can destroy this hope, nothing can corrupt it, nothing can defile it, nothing on earth can depreciate it, for this hope is reserved in heaven for us.  Through the power of God we are being kept for this glorious hope.  Nothing can keep us from it.

The Bride’s First Meal

An illustration on the Fear of the Lord from “Let Me Illustrate,” by Donald Grey Barnhouse.

Several years ago I married a young couple who were, and still are, very much in love with one another.  They had met when they were thirteen and fourteen, had never looked at anyone else, and wouldn’t today after all these years.  They went away on their honeymoon and after a few weeks came home again.  I saw them in church the next Sunday and greeted them with a little pleasantry.  I asked the groom if his bride had burned the roast for the first dinner. They laughed, and she said, “Oh, I was afraid that I was going to.  I had read so much about the bride being unable to cook that I decided that John was going to have the very best meal a bride could prepare for her husband.  So I began about three o’clock.  I got everything out and started to work.  When I finally put things on to cook, I wanted everything to turn out well, and I was afraid they wouldn’t, and, of course, he had to be a little late, and I was so afraid things would be spoiled.”  I interrupted her and said, “You have said three times that you were afraid.  Did you think that he was going to beat you?”  She pouted and said, “Of course not.”  She looked at him with all the love of her heart in her eyes. “But,” I persisted, “you said that you were afraid.”  She broke in, “You know what I mean.”  And of course I knew what she meant.  Her fear was not fright; her fear was a great desire to serve the one who to whom she had given herself to entirely.  In this case the fear of John was the beginning of good cooking.

Perhaps that will enable you to understand how the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Some Christians do not understand the difference between fear of the Lord and fright of the Lord.  If you have bowed before God and accepted the gift of His love and mercy through the Lord Jesus Christ, you need have no fright.  Fear in the Bible sense is a godly thing, a wonderful thing, a lovely thing.