Easter Weekend: on how art echoes purpose & hope in a desperate world

Easter Weekend_ on how art echoes purpose & hope in a desperate world.png

It’s Easter weekend – but you already knew that.

 

In past years blogging, I’ve made a big deal about this holiday – my favorite holiday, that is – and written posts, and tweets, and I’ve jumped up and down over what Easter means to me.

 

This year’s a little different.

 

Not because I’m not excited, no. I’m thrilled. But Easter means something a little different to me this year, something a little deeper, something I hold a little tighter to my heart than in years past.

 

This day means everything to me, and it’s difficult to find the words to describe it well. Continue reading

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“Why Do You Seek The Living Among The Dead?”

Why Do You Seek

 

It’s been a few weeks since Easter. Spring has pretty much sprung, and the excitement around Eastertime has mostly faded.

 

But it doesn’t cease to be my favorite holiday.

 

See, while we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, we also celebrate the Resurrection of ourselves. Let me elaborate.

 

When Jesus died, we died with Him. Our sin was totally, 100% paid in full.  Why? In order that we might be freed from sin’s control over us and the condemnation that comes with it.

 

Romans 6:4-6

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

 

And because we have died with Christ, He has raised us and given us new life. We are alive and free.

 

We have new life, and therefore, we are to walk in that newness. While I was contemplating this concept, a verse came to mind.

 

On Easter Sunday morning, three days after Jesus died, some women went to His tomb with spices to honor His body. Upon finding it, they were made aware that His body was gone.

The angel outside the tomb met them and said this, as it tells us here in Luke 24:5b. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” And in verse 24:6 “He is not here, but has risen.”

 

That’s my question for us. Why do we seek the living among the dead?

 

In other words, why do we act as though we are still dead in our sins when we have been raised to life?

 

Why do we walk crippled and in defeat when Jesus has been victorious already?

 

Why do we forget this verse?

 

Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

 

Christ lives in us, so not only do we not have to live in defeat, but we can live in victory.

 

We are not dead. We are not enslaved to sin. We are not controlled by the very thing that condemns us.

 

We are alive. We have hope. We have assurance of salvation and victory.

 

1 Corinthians 15:57

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

So why do we seek the living among the dead? Why do we forget that we are, in fact, alive, and God sees us as sinless?

 

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

God does not regard us according to the flesh, that is, our sin. So why do we do it to ourselves and others?

 

Simply because we see the imperfections in our own lives. But we need not dwell on them. If God sees us as new, why should we treat ourselves as if we’re dead? If God sees us in victory, why should we see ourselves as if we’re failures?

 

We shouldn’t.

 

We are not dead; we are alive with Christ. Let us live in light of that. Let us live constantly in the Word of God, seeing how He sees us. Let us live in the joy of our salvation, rejoicing in what HE has done for us. Let us live with a focus not on ourselves, but on God. When our focus is on Him, it is not on our sin, but on His perfection manifested in us.

 

Romans 6:10

“For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.”

 

To live a life “alive to Christ” is to let go of our old nature, and to embrace the magnificence of how God sees us. We are new, and there is no condemnation for us.

 

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

 

*aj

Easter, Repentance, and a Change of Focus

Easter, Repentance, and A Change of Focus

Hey, friends.

 

This post was originally going to be longer than it is now, but the first half of my post disappeared into thin air at midnight. Not sure how, but it did.

 

Anyway, because tomorrow is Easter, I wanted to talk about what it really means, the significance of forgiveness, and how repentance fits into all of it.

 

Easter is my favorite holiday because we celebrate being forgiven. This forgiveness – the forgiveness of sins – gives us eternal life in Christ. I tweeted this yesterday:

 

 

Easter is about life – eternal life, yes, but also our lives now.

 

Furthermore, I wanted to continue the discussion I started on Tuesday about repentance.

 

After reading the post multiple times, and reading the wonderful, thought-provoking comments you all left, I wanted to clarify a few things.

 

I’m not at all against repentance, if that’s what I seemed to imply in Tuesday’s post. For if we deliberately harbor sin in our hearts, we will of course damage our relationship with God. I’m not bashing confession in the sense that I think that we should never come to God about our wrongdoings.

 

In fact, that’s not it at all.

 

I only hope to lead us away from an obsession with repentance, one in which we’re constantly walking on eggshells is the Christian life. I don’t think we should live a life in which we’re so obsessed with trying to do what’s right that we make sure we fess up every single time we think we might have done something wrong.

 

To be totally honest, I don’t believe that’s what God has for us.

 

We are called to freedom and grace, and no longer do we live under a yoke of slavery to sin.

 

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

 

Instead of living trapped to a life of “try hard>>fail>>confess>>do it all over again,” let us live in grace. Instead of legalism, let us listen to the Holy Spirit.

 

Now, that’s all well and good in talking about it, but how do we actually carry it out?

 

What does it really look like to live under grace?

 

1) Get to know God by reading the Bible.

 

I’ve written a few posts on this topic. Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3 (in reverse chronological order). The Bible is a blessing, not a burden. But it takes more than just hearing people say that for it to become true for us. Read the New Testament for a fresh view on grace, starting in Romans. You’ll see things differently. You’ll see the contrast between God and man, and how Jesus didn’t just “wipe our slates clean,” He gave us whole new slates.

 

2) Submit to the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

You know that nudge you feel when you know God’s calling you to do something? Listen to it. Go talk to that new kid and be their friend. Share your faith with that cousin of yours. Go step out in faith to do something that you feel God wants you to do, even if it seems crazy.

 

Do you feel God calling you to start a YouTube channel or blog about your faith? Do it! Do you feel like you’re being called to vocational ministry? Pursue that. The Holy Spirit speaks in subtle ways, but by following His leading, we are following God’s will.

 

3) Continue to pray for a passion for the Gospel.

 

Pray all the time. Pray that you’d have a desire to live for God. Pray that you’d be used by Him. Pray that He’d show you His plan for your life. Pray that He’d use you in the lives of others. Pray that He would equip you to share your faith – even when it’s absolutely terrifying.

 

Prayer helps us to advance in our relationship with God, and through it, we come to trust Him more and more.

 

We don’t need to overemphasize repentance because as we live in submission to the Holy Spirit and our new nature, the desire to sin will decrease.

We don’t need to overemphasize repentance because Jesus’ death has pardoned our sin and given us a new nature.

We don’t need to overemphasize repentance because God does not see our sin when He looks at us – He sees Jesus’ righteousness.

 

When we’re in the Bible consistently, we see the significance of things like Easter. The Resurrection. Forgiveness that washes away every last one of our sins.

 

When we keep our ears tuned to what we feel God is leading us to do, we live a fruitful life, and not one of destruction.

 

When we keep in communication with God through prayer, and see that He answers our prayers, our relationship with Him grows.

 

Simply, a change of focus is what we need. A focus on the finished work of Christ as opposed to the filthiness of our sins. And so often, that makes a world of difference.

 

Happy Easter, everyone. Instead of getting caught up in simple traditions, let us remember the true meaning of it all – of sacrifice, of forgiveness, and above all, of hope.

 

*aj

Why I Don’t Talk Much About Repentance

Why I Don't Talk Much About Repentance

This week, I’ve really had something on my heart.

 

After reading a blog post on the importance of repentance, and realizing I tend to avoid the topic on my blog, I decided it best for me to explain my reasons behind not talking about it much.

 

I am not anti-repentance. For us to let go of our pride and accept what we know we could not earn – salvation – is a truly powerful thing.

 

However, I believe that we Christians often overemphasize the teaching of repentance where it really does not belong.

 

For starters, Hebrews 6:1 refers to repentance as an elementary doctrine. Elementary means simple. Baseline. Something that’s a building block.

 

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God[.]”

 

This verse in Hebrews tells us to leave the elementary doctrine of repentance. I believe this is such an important point, and I’ll elaborate in order to explain what I mean, though it seems confusing at first.

 

When we get saved, we’re usually told to repent of our sins (though I believe it’s more accurate to tell people to acknowledge the fact that they’re sinners, not to repent of every sin they’ve ever committed). We’re told to repent and receive forgiveness. But that’s not all.

 

We’re then told that when we sin, we must confess it to God in order to stay right with Him.

 

But wait a minute. I don’t see how that’s actually accurate.

 

We believe that Jesus died to pay for our sins, right? And we believe that He was the perfect sacrifice, covering every single one of our wrongdoings: past, present, and future, correct?

 

When we put such an emphasis on repenting for every one of our sins, we underscore ourselves. Going with the idea that we must apologize to God for every sin we commit after we’re saved, does that mean that if we die without confessing our last sin, we’ll go to Hell?

 

I know we don’t mean this, or I surely hope we don’t. What about what Jesus said, in John 10:28?

 

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

 

No one will snatch them out of my hand. That, my friends, is assurance of salvation. That when we put our trust in Jesus for salvation, we cannot lose that.

 

When we put such an emphasis on ourselves, and on making sure we don’t sin without confessing it, we forget about God’s grace.

 

Do we remember what Galatians 2:20-21 says?

 

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

 

Paul points out a few imperative things here.

 

1) Sin’s controlling power does not live any longer, for it is Christ’s righteousness that lives in us.

2) We live by faith, not by ‘trying harder.’

3) Our right-standing with God is not through us obeying the law; it is by grace. For if it were, Christ died pointlessly.

 

What’s the central message of this? Living under grace. God knows we’re not perfect, and that’s why Jesus came! For what other reason would He have come to earth? To be a ‘good moral teacher?’ No!

 

If we put such an emphasis on post-salvation repentance, we disregard God’s grace. We disregard the fact that when we received salvation, the righteousness of JESUS HIMSELF was poured out on us. Our sins have been removed from us completely.

 

See, the Bible even explicitly states it in Psalm 103:12.

 

“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

 

Colossians 2:13-14

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

 

Have you ever forgiven someone for something they’ve done to hurt you, but they still apologize profusely, even after you have assured them that it’s all good? When that happens with me, I just want to say, “Chill out! I forgive you, and we don’t need to keep revisiting what you did. I don’t hold it against you; can we move on?”

 

I think we forget that it’s a bit like that with God.

 

Jesus has forgiven all of our sins. God has pardoned every last one of them. By forcing people to repent of every sin (the ones that Jesus’ blood has already covered), we minimize the power of the cross.

 

We make it about us, instead of making it about Him.

 

And while I definitely have more to say on this, I’ll leave you with this thought in closing:

 

We are forgiven already. Let us move on from stressing repentance, and let’s stress His grace instead and see how important it is to live filled with the Spirit.

 

Come back on Saturday for part 2, where I’ll be digging deeper into what repentance should mean for us, and how to live in grace in a biblical sense.

 

*aj

Simply The Cross

Simply The Cross

A low-key post today. Wherein I discuss the cross, and sin, and Jesus.

Does anybody remember back in April, when I did a four-part blog series on the Resurrection? Well, perhaps some of you are newer here, and don’t remember, but that’s okay. Basically, I talked about what the Resurrection of Jesus really means. (I’m not too fond of my older posts, seeing as I was still figuring my way around this blog and attempting to grasp at the essential threads of writing and blogging, among other things. So I won’t link up to them here. However, if you’re really curious and want to read them still, use the search bar on the side of the website to search for “The Resurrection” posts.)

I know it’s not Easter. I know that I’m talking about the Cross. It’s just about exactly halfway between Easters. Still, I love the significance of this Holyday in our lives. Because it honestly doesn’t matter that one Sunday a year we talk about Jesus dying and raising from the dead, it matters that we think about it every day. The weight of sin and the power of the Resurrection aren’t to be taken lightly.

So today, I want to address this. Specifically, the Cross and the Grave.

Yesterday, I was pondering this topic when a revelation hit me.

A lot of us may have grown up in church, like me, and practically lived there. Although that can be a really great thing, and strengthen our faith when we’re young, we may also take Biblical truths for granted. Perhaps simply because we’ve learned to recite them. It’s so easy to.

“Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He was buried and rose from the dead three days later.”

What hit me yesterday was the connection between this pretty-much-every-Christian-has-memorized mantra and Galatians 2:20.

Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Crucified. Killed. Destroyed. Buried deep in the grave. That’s what happened to Jesus.

Remember how He took the sins of the world upon Himself, and then He died? Well, guess what. Those sins – the sins that once defined us – died too. I have been crucified with Christ means that the sin was crucified too.

Then Jesus rose from the dead, but the sin didn’t. Our sin that condemned us to death stayed DEAD. When Jesus came back, sin didn’t. And what defines us now is Jesus, who took the place of sin in our hearts.

Christ who lives in me is the one that empowers me to live a life pleasing to God.

It’s not my effort.

It’s not my good deeds.

It’s not me.

Faith is it. Living by the strength of the Holy Spirit is it.

And if Jesus didn’t love us and give Himself for us, we’d still be hopeless.

Hope isn’t a wish, it’s assurance. We have assurance that we are forgiven because the weight of sin is gone.

Doesn’t mean we won’t mess up and still sin now. But condemnation is now gone because of grace.

And between grace and the Holy Spirit, we won’t want to sin any more.

So that’s the connection. I know it’s simple. Very simple, in fact. But sometimes, this church girl needs a reminder of the everyday things, not just the Easter things. Or at least the reminder that they’re connected.

COMMENTS, ANYONE? I’d love to hear from you. Any simple revelations lately? Can anybody relate to tending to tune out truth? Any thoughts on this post? How about this topic? Comment below in the little comment box that’s calling out for you to type into.

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 4

  

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope that you had a wonderful Easter Sunday. Now, I have one last post in my Resurrection series and I like having one last thing to hold onto from the Holy Day. 🙂  So, without further ado, here is post #4 in this Easter series. Thank you for reading!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that most people want to die. I mean, usually, to die means to suffer. And if you’re not sure of where you’re going, dying isn’t exactly something that you look forward to. Am I right?

We celebrated Easter a few days ago. If you haven’t noticed it already, Easter is my favorite holiday. Why? No, it’s not because of the candy, or because I get to see my family and friends (although that’s fun too). It’s because I get to rest in the assurance of my salvation, that sin has no power over me. I am not punished for what I’ve done. What I deserve — Hell — is not given to me, because I have placed my faith in Christ alone to save me.

Let’s read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

    O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

I love these verses because — like I said — we have victory over sin and death. But let me back up.

Verses 50-53 talks about the Blessed Hope.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”

To simplify, we (believers) have hope. H. O. P. E. Some of us may never experience death, but be taken to heaven in the ‘twinkling of an eye’. We will be changed! We will be given immortal bodies!

I know that earlier I said that we don’t need to worry about dying if we know where we’re going. But this is even better. Not only do we have the assurance of Heaven, but some of us won’t even die at all. Woah. I find that extremely awesome!

Okay, now for my favorite part. 15:54-58.

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

    O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

When the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on immortality (AKA when we are given new bodies and we become live-foreverable) this saying will be able to be quoted in the present tense.

Christ has defeated death. Death is conquered by victory, the victory that came by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are victorious over death — we are not owned by the devil and sin that drags us to Hell — we are SAVED.

Sin and death have no power over us! NO POWER!

And for the last verse, we are to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.

We are not working for others, we are working for God. Our work is never wasted in God’s kingdom. We live to give glory to God, and that is never in vain.

I know that Easter has passed. I know that today is not Easter Sunday. But the truths we celebrate are the same all year round.

We have been saved. Sin and death have no power over me any longer, because Jesus has done the amazing thing — conquered death.

Easter is about the amazing love of God. It’s about the joy that it brings. It’s about the hope that we’ve been given. It’s about the peace that now rules our hearts. It’s about how we didn’t deserve what was given to us, which is what makes the resurrection so beautiful. Salvation is a wonderful thing because we fully deserve to be punished for our sin. It’s about this amazing grace bestowed upon us.

God is not out to get us. He is out to save us.

And this is why I love the resurrection so much.

Mankind rejected Him, but even still He came.

To conquer death, sin, and the grave,

though not deserved, He took my blame.

Isaiah 53:5-6 pretty much sums it all up.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions;

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

    and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

    we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all.”

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 3

  

Good day, wonderful inhabitants of Earth. Can you believe that tomorrow is Easter Sunday?? I sure can’t. And yeah, I’m really excited. Jesus ROSE FROM THE DEAD, after all. Woohoo! Okay…so, I miscalculated when it came to scheduling posts for the past two weeks. Today’s post is not the last part in The Resurrection mini series. We still have Tuesday. Sorry about that melted-brain-Amanda moment. Ah well, today I’m writing about the resurrection of the dead. I think this is pretty cool, and I hope you do too! Enjoy. 🙂

What does it mean to rise from the dead?

I know what it means spiritually — my sins have been washed away and I have been counted blameless under God — but what about my physical, earthly death?

All us Christians will be resurrected. Which means that we all will die (unless Jesus comes back first). And I’m sorry for you who think you won’t die ever, but it doesn’t work that way.

We like to think of life as a wonderful thing, right? (Or at least certain people’s lives?) When people say they have “the perfect life,” we might envy them. I know I have. We all have wanted to change our lives in one way or another I think. But really — life doesn’t get too much better from one person to another. We all live in the same sinful world, and we all will eventually die. The best part is what comes after we die.

Let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 15:42-49.

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

So…as I was saying a minute ago, we all have perishable bodies. therefore, we all will  die. (Food analogy — if you leave perishable fruit out on the counter for a few weeks, it will perish. End of analogy. Sorry, Im bad with analogies. ANYWAY.) But life does not end at our physical death. Remember John 3:16?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus came to give us eternal life. Our souls will not perish in Hell if we believe in Him; we will forever be in Heaven with Him.

Back to the first part of the passage I cited, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

  1. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. What does that mean? Our earthly bodies will die, but our souls are immortal. Our souls will be raised from our bodies and we will live forever (although technically, eternal life begins when we believe on Him). Praise be to God for His wonderful saving of our souls!
  1. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. What does this mean? Well, in short, it means that we have hope. It means that though our lives will be miserable and painful, this is not the end!
  1. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. We all have souls. That’s not our decision to make. We don’t decide if this life is the end — because it is not — we just decide whether we want to receive eternal life or not. I don’t know about you, but I’m going for it.

Here’s the second part, verses 45-49.

“Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

As I was writing this, I was a little apprehensive about trying to explain this part. After all, I’m only fifteen and not a Bible scholar or anything. But I will do my best, and if you have any questions, you can comment below.

  1. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Do you know what that means? Well, the first man Adam is, well, Adam. You know, the first man who brought sin into the world with his wife. *cringes* Yeah, I like to think that I would have perfectly obeyed God, but I don’t think I would have. We’re all human, and as much as I hate admitting it, I ain’t perfect. Not even close. That being said, because of Adam’s sin, all of mankind was dead in our sins. But the last Adam? He is Jesus Christ. Through Christ, a life-giving spirit, we have literally been given life. Our sins are GONE. We’re not just patched up or made better, we are new. AND IT IS COMPLETELY FREE! Is that not WONDERFUL?!
  2. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. Okay, that is a little confusing. I’ll break it down. Adam was from the earth, formed of dust (by God, not evolution). Jesus is from heaven. We by default have the image of Adam on us — sin. But by Jesus, we have the image of life and heaven on us. Isn’t that great?

I know that a lot of people think that the default destination for anyone — or at least good people — is heaven. But it’s not. Heaven is a choice. A choice to believe on Christ to save you from your sin and make you new. I’ve made my choice — have you?

Tomorrow is Easter. A wonderful day. The day that represents our new life in Christ. I know it is really easy to get caught up in traditions. We wake up, open the wonderful Easter basket (yummy chocolate bunnies. What do they represent again? *thinks hard and crinkles forehead* something about animals, Spring, grass, life, NEW LIFE…oh right! Easter is about new life in our Savior, Jesus Christ!), go to church, come back, spend the day with family and friends, and go to bed, gorged on candy and ham.

When did Easter became more about festivities and less about our Savior? Why? One timeless question that will jab and stab and blab in my mind for the rest of my life. Remember, just because the world does it, doesn’t make it right. Tomorrow, I hope my mind will be set on this wonderful assurance of life. God bless you all!

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 2

  

 

Happy
Tuesday, beautiful world! Hooray, we all made it through another Monday.
 So, I’m super excited about this week…because two things are happening.
1) IT IS EASTER THIS SUNDAY! Woohoo! Y’all know that Easter is my favorite holiday.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to climb onto their roof and dance and shout to the
world that their sins are FORGIVEN?!
I would, but my roof is slanted and I could possibly fall off and die if I did
that. Ah well. And 2) My BIRTHDAY is on Thursday! So all in all, this should
prove to be a wonderful week! Alrighty, I’m going to end my little blabbing
intro and say what I always do: thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Resurrection. Beautiful word. It literally means to come back from the
dead. Now let me ask a “Sunday School” question to make sure you’re not
sleeping. (#guilty!)

 

What
is Easter?

 

Sunday
School answer: the very first Easter was the day when Jesus
rose from the dead. But what does that mean? And is that really the most
important part?

 

Let’s
look at that in 1 Corinthians 15:12-22.

 

“Now if Christ is
proclaimed as raised from the dead,
 how can some of
you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is in vain.
 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we
testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he
did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in
your sins.
 Then those also who have fallen asleep
in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hopein
this life only,
 we are of all people most to be pitied.”

 But in fact Christ has been
raised from the dead
,
 the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come
also the resurrection of the dead
.
 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 

 

Alright. That’s a lot of information. Let me try to break it down so
it’s easier to understand.

Let’s look at the first section, verses 12-15.

Now if Christ is
proclaimed as raised from the dead,
 how can some of
you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is in vain.
 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we
testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he
did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.”

 

Paul was writing to the Corinthians,
in his first letter to the Corinthians. These people did not all (even as
Christians) believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead.

The
Corinthians, having a Greek background, believed in the immortality of the soul
but not in the resurrection of the dead and therefore some of them either did
not believe that Jesus was raised or
they had an inconsistent faith.

Now,
this creates a problem, and I’ll share it in a minute. If we say that Christ was raised from the dead, we cannot say that there is
so resurrection of the dead
. If we believe that He is alive, we must
believe that we also will be made alive at the rapture (physically, not just
spiritually).

Now
this is the problem. Let’s take a look at verses 16-19.

 

“For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in
your sins.
 Then those also who have fallen asleep
in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hopein
this life only,
 we are of all people most to be pitied.”

 

If Christ has not been raised from the dead, there is no
Easter.

 

Because
the wonder of Easter is not only that the resurrection of Jesus
is amazing, but that our sins are forgiven. That is where we get our hope.

 

 

If Christ has not
been raised, your faith is futile and
 you are still in
your sins.
 

 

Everything
rides on this one fact: the dead will rise again. If we do not believe this, we
have no hope. Forget the bunnies and peeps and chocolate. Without this amazing
hope, we are l.i.t.e.r.a.l.l.y. hopeless. Without the resurrection, we are not
forgiven.

 

But before you get caught up in thinking that we really are hopeless, let’s read verses 20-22.

 

But in fact Christ has been raised
from the dead
,
 the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come
also the resurrection of the dead
.
 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

Christ with 100% certainty has
been raised from the dead. That’s not only biblical, it’s historical. Because
of Adam, we have died – both
spiritually and physically. But now, because of Christ,
we have hope that both we will rise from the dead at the rapture (Jesus instantly taking all believers to heaven), and
also because of Jesus’ resurrection,
we will live forever with Him. Isn’t that so encouraging?

 

Easter
is amazing. If I put aside the candy and festivities though, is it still that
amazing?

 

Yeah,
actually. Without all the fluffiness of the holiday, Easter is even better.

 

*aj