by Mike Ratliff
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6 He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” Luke 24:1-7 (NASB)
Secularism is a humanistic philosophy that many contend is the driving force behind the collapse of the Christian World View with it being replaced with that of Secular Humanism. This view contends that there is no possibility of any person knowing or finding absolute truth. It demands that all religions be considered equal with each relinquishing its claims of exclusivity. In the visible Church, many professing Christians are secular in their personal philosophy. Since Secularism removes the possibility of absolutes it follows that its proponents must doubt the Bible’s display of the miracles and the supernatural as proof of the deity of Christ for example. It separates Christianity from the sacred and holy and the miraculous. This separation leaves Christianity as just another World Religion. It relegates it to little more than an institution of good works to improve society.
Christianity is not just another ‘World Religion’ nor is it just another philosophy that exists for the improvement of society. No, our Faith consists of the Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God created everything, but He is transcendent and not part of creation. He is above it and outside of it. However, He is also imminently involved in the management of it. He created Man who fell into sin (Genesis 1-3). Because of this fall the entire human race was plunged into sin. All of the first man’s descendents were born spiritually dead. All are on their way to an eternity separated from God because of their sin. There they will experience the wrath of God. However, God is merciful so He sent God the Son to be incarnate as a man. This is Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect, sinless life. However, sinful men murdered Him. As He died on the cross, the father laid the sin of all of those chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1) on Him. His death paid the penalty for their sin. He purchased them with His blood. As these are effectually called and regenerated by God, they believe the Gospel and repent of their sin. God justifies, sanctifies, adopts, and glorifies them. Their sanctification continues for the rest of their lives.
Let us look now at some of the events that transpired the third day after our Lord’s crucifixion. Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post (Luke 24:1-7). Notice that our crucified Lord is not in his tomb. His body is gone. Angels exclaim that He is risen! He is not dead but alive! Now let us join a couple of Jesus disciples later that day on the road to Emmaus.
13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. Luke 24:13-16 (NASB)
What things were these guys talking about? Obviously, the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death of Jesus along with the fact that on the third day afterwards His tomb is found empty would be at the forefront of their minds. Who joined their discussion? Jesus Christ, their risen Lord joined them, but they did not recognize Him. Why? God, in His sovereignty kept their eyes from recognizing Him. This is not the result of stress or that it was night. They were kept from recognizing Jesus because that was God’s will. This is supernatural my brethren and this is the sort of thing that professing Christians who are of the secular mindset reject. We accept it because God’s Word says this very clearly. Therefore, to reject this means that those doing so reject that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. If the Bible is the Word of God then it is authoritative and must be obeyed. Do you see now why the secularists desire to strip the Bible of this authority?
17 And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” 19 And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. 22 But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” Luke 24:17-24 (NASB)
Here we see that these two men knew exactly what had transpired with Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution. Do you see where their hope was placed? It was that Jesus would be the redeemer of Israel. They knew He was from God, but their hope was that He was the Messiah for the nation of Israel. They missed the point that He was much more than that. They had heard of the empty tomb as well, but didn’t understand the significance of it. Then our Lord opened up their hearts to receive the truth from God’s Word.
25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Luke 24:25-27 (NASB)
This is something each of us should do. When we see Sacred Scripture correctly, we see that it is all about our Lord and God’s plan of redemption of His elect. If the Bible is not the Word of God and, therefore, not authoritative, complete, and inerrant then this is just another myth that could be an object lesson, but no more. However, to the regenerate Christian this is vital that we grasp these things, know these things, and exercise our faith to believe and live according to them.
28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. 29 But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be to you.” Luke 24:28-36 (NASB)
Do you see the sovereign work of God in this passage? As our Lord broke the bread and blessed it these two disciples’ eyes were opened so they recognized the Lord. Then our Lord vanished from their sight. Wow! Then these two men said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” This is what God’s Word does in the hearts of the regenerate as the Holy Spirit works there to teach and train according to what is being read or studied or meditated upon. The unregenerate do not understand this. I debate so many of these fellows who attempt to secularize Christianity and do not like it when we take God’s Word at face value and use it to expound its truth to them. Their grasp of scripture is shallow and has no power because the Holy Spirit is not with them. These two fellows rush back to Jerusalem just as our Lord appears to them again.
My brethren, Jesus is alive and the Bible is God’s Word. It is authoritative, complete, and inerrant. When we view scripture like this then we see that it speaks of our Lord and the redemption of His elect all through it. We have no business trying to be united in fellowship with professing Christians who reject these things. We must not be unequally yoked. Also, we are commanded in God’s Word to contend earnestly for the faith. It is wrong for us to seek peace with the unrepentant.
Examine yourselves my brethren. Ask God to show you the truth about what is in your heart. Repent of what He shows you then devote yourselves to serving Him with your all for His glory alone. Get into God’s Word as you ask Him to open it to your hearts that they may burn as the Holy Spirit does scalpel-like spiritual surgery there. Reject all secular tendencies that attempt to rob you of your faith. To God be the glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!