Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Have You Been Raised from the Dead?

This Sunday is celebrated by many as "Easter." This tradition developed through the Roman church, which, according to the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325) declared Easter Sunday to be first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Therefore depending on the moon and the beginning of spring, Easter can land anywhere from March 22 to April 25. Most of the time Easter is celebrated in April, but this year it has fallen on the fifth Sunday and final day of March.

The Bible, as with our other traditional holidays, does not command us to celebrate Easter. This observance was created by man and therefore is not binding. It is not wrong to celebrate man-made holidays as long as they are not reserved as religious events or done in opposition to the commands that we find in the word of God. That this week is an "Holy Week," along with the concepts of "penance" and "lent," are nowhere in Scripture. But in our current-day religious world there are many traditions that have become holy in the minds of those who have simply followed the actions of their ancestors.

With this weekend, however, there is a God-given command that we must follow that is directly linked to the events of the passion of Jesus. Our Lord died, was buried, and then rose from the dead to become our living Savior. Romans 6 explains how every person who becomes a follower of Christ participates in a similar event:

"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord" ~ (Romans 6:3-11).

  • Jesus died to take away our sins. We die to sin when we die to the desire to sin and through belief and repentance we determine to live for God.
  • Jesus was buried in the tomb. Paying the pentaly of  man's sin, He left our sins in the grave. We are buried in a watery tomb (baptism), leaving our sins behind by the power of the blood of Jesus. Jesus shed His blood in His death, and we are baptized into His death, where we contact His saving blood.
  • Jesus rose from the dead to live forever. We, too, are raised from the grave of baptism to walk in newness of life. It is at this moment that we put on Christ, our sins are forgiven, God adds us to the church (or the saved), and we begin to walk the Christian life with the assurance that by the grace of God one day heaven will be our home.
As the world reflects this Sunday on the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God, we ought to examine ourselves and ask ourselves individually - did Christ go through this process in vain? If we have not submitted to the likeness of His death, burial, and resurrection, then we have missed out on the purpose of Jesus coming to the earth.

What a wonderful opportunity we have to remember the greatest event of all history - the resurrection of Jesus Christ - that gives us hope! But our hope lies soley upon our own resurrection from the grave of baptism, where our sins our washed away.

Have you been raised from the dead? If not, what are you waiting for?

"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." ~ Acts 22:16

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