I must put a disclaimer at the beginning of this. It is lengthy, but please take the time to read what follows.
It is only a couple of Sundays until Easter, and for Christians, that special day is set aside as a reminder of an event that changed human history – the resurrection of Christ.
With that in mind, I would like to share some thoughts with you regarding Christianity. I know that not everyone who reads what I write on my blog agrees with what I say and I am okay with that. Having said that, I will tell you that I am unashamedly a follower of Jesus Christ.
I do believe there is more to life than just living in the here and now. I believe that we are eternal beings, and that when we leave this world, when we draw our last breath…that does not stamp an end to our personhood.
That is why I teach what I do and why many others believe what they believe, as Christians, and share it with those around them. What I find overwhelming is that God, the Creator of all, wants us to have a personal relationship with Him, so much so that He took the steps to make it possible for us to be made right with God.
Easter is about that. No matter what you might think about Jesus, there are things that are unarguable. He did live on this planet. Early secular writers attest to that fact. My goal is not to spend time quoting them but to let you know that anyone who says Jesus never existed and that He is nothing more than a manmade fairy tale that developed into a religious system is ignoring, by choice, what history says otherwise.
To know about Jesus, though, in detail, we have to turn to the Bible. Several of the books of the Bible were written by those who personally knew Christ, who lived with Him, worked with Him, and watched Him perform miracles and teach things that transformed the lives of His hearers.
Of course, if we believe the Bible is nothing more than a bunch of fiction, we will write off anything said by the authors of the books. At a later date we will deal with the overwhelming evidence that the Bible is historically accurate and that it passes the tests applied to any document of history to determine the accuracy and reliability of what is written.
Today, though, let’s focus on Jesus and Easter. An important thing to keep in mind is that God will never force anyone to believe in Jesus. That is an individual decision but I would encourage you to at least objectively take a look at the Christian faith.
So, with no apologies, I want to share with you my heart and the importance of Easter. When Jesus came to earth, He came on a mission. He had a purpose. He came to show us what God was like but He also came to die for the sins of the world, for every person who ever lived or would live.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all born sinners, separated from God. Our bent is not to pursue God but to live the way we want, with no thought of God in mind. We think that we can fill all the voids in our life by what we do and how we live. Many believe that.
We may well think that we don’t need God. But Romans 3 tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard. This means we don’t get to heaven by what we do. We can never earn enough points to be accepted into God’s presence.
God, though, took care of the “how” of having a relationship with Him. John 3:16, probably the most famous verse in the Bible, says that God gave Jesus His Son to die on the cross for our sins, and that whoever believes in Christ can have eternal life. And it must be noted, Jesus was clear in John 10 that He chose to die for us. If that is not a picture of God’s care and love, I don’t know what is.
Jesus died so we could have life with God. But He did not stay dead. A dead Savior does no one any good. Jesus rose from the dead (that is Easter) and now is alive in heaven, offering salvation to anyone who comes to Him by faith.
But salvation is more than getting a ticket stamped for heaven. Salvation brings life change while we are here on earth. God comes to live inside anyone who by faith believes in Christ for salvation and makes us a new creation, changing us from the inside out (2 Cor. 5:17).
When someone becomes a follower of Jesus, they begin a lifelong journey of growing in the Christian life and learning how to live like Jesus in what they say and do.
All of this is what Easter is about. In closing, let me summarize what we are talking about, and we do so because we care about everyone reading this post,
1) We are all sinners. Unless one sees he is a sinner, he will see no need for a Savior. We are born in sin (Rom. 3), and this fact has separated us from God. No one on the planet has escaped this reality. We are dead in our sins and in need of saving.
2) Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth to not only show us what God was like, but to redeem us from our sins. Christ died in our place and took our sins upon Himself. He died so we could be forgiven of our sins (Jn. 3:16; Eph. 1:7). God’s love for us was the motivation for His willingness to save us (1 Jn. 4:7-11). We are made right with God and accepted as His child.
3) Jesus died, was buried and rose again. The resurrection secures our justification (being declared right before God – Rom. 4:1-5; Rom. 4:25) and goes with our previous point of Christ’s forgiveness. It is because of the resurrected life of Jesus that we are made new in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and given the power to live a life that honors Him.
4) We must put our faith and trust in Christ alone to save us. We must repent, turning from our self-centered ways, recognizing our need for a Savior, and believe in Christ alone for salvation, accepting Him into our life as Lord and Savior. In this is brought to light the fact that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but God the Son. We must believe that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. We must trust in Who He is, and what He has done, so that we can be saved.