Another Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
Christ’s crucifixion and death showed God’s unconditional love for us. Although painful and agonizing, Christ died willingly for our sins. Because of this we are forgiven and no longer condemned. And while that is great news, without Christ’s resurrection, what he did for us would be null and void. Christ was delivered to death for our sins, but raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:23,24) In other words His death paid for our sins, but His resurrected life is the proof or the receipt for that payment. Jesus came to earth, died for us, and rose from the dead. Jesus lives! This truth validates Christ and it validates us.
The resurrection validates Christ because what He said would happen did happen. Jesus knew He was going to be betrayed, condemned, mocked, beaten and die, but He also knew and told His disciples that He would be raised to life again. (Matthew 20:18-20) And it took place just the way Jesus said it would. This is good news for us on so many levels, one being that we can trust everything Christ tells us.
The resurrection also validates our faith in Christ. Without the resurrection our faith is in vain and futile. (1 Corinthians 15:14-17) If Christ has not risen, we have not been forgiven of our sins. We are dependent on a wicked world. If we don’t believe Christ lives, we have no hope. So we must believe without a doubt that Christ is the resurrection and life He professed to be.
Christ’s resurrection not only declares that Jesus lives and He is Lord, but it celebrates the victory of life over death. Jesus conquered what no one could – death! Christ’s resurrection erased all doubt in anyone’s mind. Death can no longer hold us in bondage. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55) Death has no victory. Christ has the victory.
Christ’s victory over death is our victory, too. (1 Corinthians 15:57) Because Christ lives, we can live also. (Romans 6:8, 9) We who believe in him will live – even though we might die, we will live again. (John 11:25-26)
Consider this… The fact that Jesus lives is a truth and does not depend on our perceptions or how we feel. Jesus is actually present with us whether we realize it or not – whether we want to believe it or not. The only one who benefits from believing Christ lives is us! John 5:24 tells us. “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” This has nothing to do with living a good life or earning salvation. It comes from believing and trusting God.
Believe that Jesus lives. He is our only hope!
Suggestions for practicing this choice.
- Remind yourself often that Jesus lives. Once Martin Luther was found in a moment of peril and fear, when he needed to grasp unseen strength. There he was, sitting in an abstracted mood, and tracing on the table with his finger the words, “Vivit! Vivit!” – “He lives! He lives!” (From Streams in the Desert Devotional, January 17)
- Ask God to help your unbelief when doubts arise. (Mark 9:24) Some disciples doubted the resurrection, but Jesus came to them to calm their doubts. (Matthew 28:17-18) Remember, it is never too late to believe!
- Repeat this often: Jesus lives and He is with me always! (Matthew 28:20)
- Don’t be afraid to embrace the true meaning of Easter. It reminds us of what we sometimes forget the rest of the year. Christ is risen and lives!
- Listen to this Youtube song by the Gaithers…Because He Lives. It has a powerful message.