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Closer to the sky, closer to God

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By Tim Johnson

One of the most neglected symbols of the church is the empty tomb.
With the launch sequence of Christmas already counting down, we are familiarized again with the symbols of: the manger, the shepherds, the wise men, the angels, etc. Then there’s the reason Jesus Christ came into this world: the cross.
Where would we be without the empty tomb? It is our symbol of victory. I Corinthians 15:16 reminds us: “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins (KJV).”
We sometimes forget what the consequences would be, what our lives would be, what our world would be; without the empty tomb.
The cross is all important. Please hear me say this: the cross is all important.
Unless the savior had risen from the dead, the cross would have been useless, worthless. Our faith would be vain; it would only be in ourselves. Faith in ourselves, well we know how far that got us in the Garden of Eden.
Without the empty tomb, we would be crushed daily by the awful weight of our sin; burdened down with a load we could not carry and no one offering us help to carry that load.
Even worse, if this situation were not hopeless enough, would be the prospect that would await us after death: unending death in Hell.
Romans 7:24 has this to say: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” The answer comes as the passage continues: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We have victory: wonderful, glorious victory. We enjoy the Christmas story, the beginning of the salvation story; because we know where it ends. Not only do all roads lead to Calvary, but they also point to the empty tomb.
We sing songs like: “What child is this?” answered by: “O victory in Jesus!”  “Away in a manger,” echoed with: “Up from the grace he arose!”  “Joy to the world,” followed by: “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!”
How important it is: we serve a risen savior.
The next time you look at the manger, picture the empty tomb. We serve a victorious Lord.

Brother Tim Johnson is pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church on Hammonds Creek Road in Lawrenceburg.  Contact him via e-mail at fbc.lawrenceburg@gmail.com.