Because He Lives

Written by Bill and Gloria Gaither in 1971, Because He lives has become one of the most well-known and well-loved contemporary Christian songs.

Because He Lives

The chorus is a testimony of hope and assurance:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,

Because He lives, all fear is gone,

Because I know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living, just because He lives

It’s true, because He lives, I can face tomorrow (and we will come back to that later), but there’s more.

Because He lives, I can face yesterday

There’s something we all have in common, and that is that there are things in our past that we are ashamed of. As we take a trip down memory lane, there are side streets and dark alleys we don’t want to revisit.

How do you respond to your past? Denial? Do you pretend the wrong you have done doesn’t matter, and that there will never be a day of reckoning when the account has to be settled? Or do you suppose that the good you have done balances the books and settles the debt?

Or do you respond to your past with despair? Recognising you have messed up, and can never earn God’s favour, do you feel hopeless and defeated?

The gospel allows you to face your past honestly in all its ugliness and yet not be overcome by despair. How come? Because He lives!

The death of Christ shows us we shouldn’t live in denial – sin is infinitely costly and must be dealt with. But His resurrection shows us we needn’t live in despair – His death was enough to pay the price, and so death couldn’t hold Him, and the grave couldn’t keep Him.

The resurrection of Christ is like the receipt of our salvation. When Satan accuses me, conscience condemns me and past sins haunt me, I can produce the receipt of my salvation that proves it is fully paid for, and legally acquired. So, I can now look at the sad, sorry history of my sin, and know it’s all forgiven, and put away – because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face today

It is not God’s time (yet) to remove all the evil and suffering from the world. There are tears, broken hearts, and shattered lives. But for the Christian there is something else – the help and presence of the Lord, because He lives!

When loved ones die, they are separated from us – we can no longer get their help, draw on their wisdom, experience their nearness or benefit from their strength. If the Lord Jesus were still dead, He wouldn’t be able to help anyone, but He lives, and, because of that, you don’t have to struggle through life in your own strength. This was something I was unaware of when I came to Christ for salvation, but I have become so aware of it, and thankful for it, since. Every Christian can give their testimony to the truth of the Lord’s words, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

His presence, peace and power are all available for the Christian (see Philippians 4:4-13) as we face the demands, heartaches, and trials of life, all because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

You might have dread in your heart as you think of tomorrow – fearing what might be. But “what might be” may never be, and, even if it is, the Lord will be there with you if you know Him as Saviour. Your greatest fear may never come, but, if you are a Christian, your greatest hope will. While we don’t know what the future holds immediately, we do know what it holds ultimately.

Each day brings us closer to our last day on earth. But the Christian knows that death can’t harm or hold him. When he dies, he goes to “be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). And although this is far better, it’s not the best – there is something even better, and that is when the Lord comes, and all those Christians who have died will be raised in bodies incapable of death, decay or weakness (see 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), and the reason is, because He lives. He said, “Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19). The Lord Jesus has conquered death, so all those that belong to Him will share in His victory and enter into His glory.

In 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 Paul spelt out what it would mean if Christ were still dead. He says, “if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” It means there is no answer for our sins, there is no purpose in our suffering, there is no hope beyond the grave. But, in verse 20, he says with relief and triumph, “But now Christ is risen from the dead…”

So, I can face the past with all its regrets, I can face the present with all its trials, I can face the future with all its uncertainties, all because, only because, He lives.