Jesus did not rest in the grave. We say in the Apostle’s Creed that before His resurrection He descended into hell. His mission remained the same: “To seek and to save those who are lost.”
Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,
AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:8-10)
In a moment of greatest defeat we discover the greatest victory. Do we dare participate in this victory? If so, let us first taste of this defeat. It is a defeat of our flesh. It is a defeat of our will. It is a defeat of our pride.
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does. (1 Peter 4:1-6)
Perhaps some of us are still dead in our sins. Now is the time to hear the message of the Gospel. Now is the time to live in the Spirit and die to the flesh. Now is the time for God’s favor. Now is the time for salvation. Jesus is our Passover. God has passed over our sins because Jesus took them upon Him on the cross and paid the penalty for us. Can we neglect such a great salvation?
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Hebrews 2:1-4)
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26-27)