29 Mar RESURRECTION – His And Ours
If you’ve been in the American Christian culture for more than a minute, you probably have a pretty good idea of what to expect this Easter Sunday. Church will be packed with people in pastels. The stage will look extra fancy, and they might bring back some old familiar hymns. You’ll hear the gospel presented, and internally, you’ll say a quick prayer for those who may be hearing it for the first time.
But what about us?
Let’s turn our focus inward, and ask what the Easter message means for those of us who have already agreed that it’s true. When we confess our sins and surrender our lives to Jesus, something profound happens that links us to the Easter story in a whole new way.
In Galatians 2:20, Paul says “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
So when we hear about Christ’s death, we can think about our own death. Our former self, our sinful nature, is dead. We can picture ourselves, as Paul did, on the cross with Jesus, crucified. It’s a painful thought. It seems weird, and even wrong. But until we see the need for our old selves to be put to death, we can’t be made new.
This place of admitting our need for death is a bit of a pit. It’s humility at its best, a right view of ourselves. It might take some soul-searching, and maybe some list-making. Ask yourself where you’re prone to wander. Which of your coping habits might be unhealthy. It’s embarrassing, heart-wrenching stuff, but it’s necessary for what comes next. We’re like Jesus in the tomb. “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
Praise God it doesn’t end there.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses.” (Ephesians 2:4-5a)
This imagery of death brought to life reminds me of this epic conversation Ezekiel had with God about the future of Israel. They were standing in a valley of dry bones, and Ezekiel writes “there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. As I looked, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them…the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet.” (Ezekiel 37:7-8,10b)
That is just like us! Picture yourself raised to life along with Christ, built up from nothing into a whole new person. Paul says it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Jesus didn’t stay in his tomb, and He doesn’t leave us in ours either. If we’ll allow Him, He will give us abundant life in Him right here on earth. We don’t have to wrestle down our sinful desires on our own, trying to look the part of a “good” Christian. He offers to fight those battles for us, but we have to identify, and give them over to Him first. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
That is something worth celebrating! He paid it all, and He raises us up. So put on your pastels, invite your friends, sing those hymns, and rejoice in the wonder of the resurrection – His and yours. That salvation prayer you prayed was only the beginning. Don’t miss out on life after death.
- Have I experienced this kind of death to my old sinful nature?
- What unhealthy habits am I still holding onto?
- What step can I take today to release control and allow Christ’s power to work through me?