Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Life Beyond the Resurrection

On Easter Sunday we gathered together as a church community.  A community of believers.  A community with non-believers sprinkled throughout.  A community with people sitting on fences trying to decide which path to follow.  We gathered and we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

The resurrection is fundamental to our belief as Christians.  Whether we are new Christians or seasoned believers, we believe and acknowledge that Jesus was born into this world in human form, that he died on a cross, and that he broke free from the bonds of death three days later.  He was obedient to his Father to the point of death on a cross.  Why?  For you and for me.  So that our sins would be forgiven.  So that our slate would be wiped clean.

Without the resurrection, there is no forgiveness.  There is no eternal life with the Father.

This is our core belief.  This is huge.  Just try to wrap your mind around what Jesus did for us.  He didn't know us.  He did this some 2,000 years ago!  We weren't even a blip on the radar at that time.  Not in our way of thinking anyway.  Yet we were on God's radar then.  Since the beginning, we were on God's mind.


What does this all mean for us once that Easter holiday is over?

The resurrection isn't a once a year event.  The resurrection is a daily occurrence.  Christ should be resurrected for us each and every day.  Before we begin our day, we should set our eyes on God and the ultimate sacrifice that He gave for us.  We are redeemed through Christ every single day.

There is never going to be a time in our existence where we are not sinners.  It is in our very nature to be sinners.  I know for myself that I do not wake up thinking how am I going to sin today??  I don't intend to, as I am sure you don't.  Yet we do.

But God.

Were it not for God and His Son, our transgressions would remain unforgiven.  The hurts we have caused others, the wickedness in our lives, the actions we perform which we don't even think are sinful - all of those would remain unforgiven.  Through the resurrection, though, we are granted mercy.  Forgiveness.  Our Father knows us, ugliness and all, and He chose to grant us pardon.  Not just on that one glorious day of His Son's resurrection, but every single day.


On Easter Sunday we gathered in our churches, non-believers mixed in with believers.  We heard the great message about the resurrection and what this means for us.  Perhaps this was the prompt that someone needed to move from non-believer to believer that day.  But it's not enough to just hear that message once and forget its significance until next Easter.

We are called to be like Christ.  Yes, we are forgiven our sins and redeemed through the Blood of Christ, but this is not a free pass to do whatever we wish.  We must demonstrate Christ's love in our interactions with others.  Think about the new believers who may be around you.  Or anyone in the community who might be casually observing your relationships with others.  Your behavior towards those around you impacts not only that person, but it has the potential to impact someone you may not even see around you.  I believe that if you are truly following God's path, that it will emanate from you and others will see this.  You have the power to bring people to Christ {or turn them away} based on your interactions with others.

It isn't enough to simply accept God's mercy and forgiveness each day.  I am beyond grateful that He offers this to me anew every day, but I must not be idle.  I must not sit on my beliefs and take any of this for granted.  I must bring this into the community around me and to the people I interact with regularly.  If God is willing to wipe my slate clean each and every day, do I not have an obligation to do the same for others?

Everyone's circumstances are different and we've all been through stuff.  I've written about some of my difficult stuff.  I've been through some painfully difficult times.  Others have experienced far more painful hurts that I.  I don't know how they process their stuff to get to the point of forgiveness.  I know that it took me years to break free and forgive those who hurt me deeply.  Then there's the day to day stuff - the little annoyances and smaller hurts {painful nonetheless}.  There is a sense of peace and freedom that comes from loosing the bonds that these transgressions have on you.  Forgive others just as you have been forgiven.  It's not always easy, but isn't it worth trying?

So as we move out of Easter, we should remind ourselves daily of the power of the cross and what Jesus' death and resurrection mean for us on a daily basis.  It is a challenge, but it is one that can draw us {and perhaps an unsuspecting bystander} closer to God.

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