Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bunnies, Baby Chicks and Jelly Beans

Through the years, Easter has become associated with bunnies, baby chicks and bonnets; eggs, jelly beans and baskets. But the two preeminent symbols of Easter are neither cuddly nor colorful: a cross, and an empty tomb.

The cross, as Christendom has confessed through the centuries, represents the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for mankind’s sins – a sacrifice once for all, as Romans 6:10 states.

The empty tomb represents Christ resurrected, victorious over death, offering the same to all who trust in Him. As wonderful as that is, one essential element of the resurrection remains too often forgotten or ignored.

Preachers assert the resurrection assures our sins are forgiven and believers will join God in heaven after we die. But what about the meanwhile – the time between the moment of receiving the Lord’s forgiveness and the moment of experiencing life after death?

In pondering the Scriptures over the years, I have learned the resurrected Christ promises not only the “sweet by and by,” but also provides the key to dealing with the “nasty now and now.”

“How do you live the Christian life?” someone once asked me. I responded with a to-do list – pray, read the Bible, go to church. My friend shook his head: “It’s impossible to live the Christian life – the only one who has ever done it successfully is Jesus.”

Years later, I understand what he meant. Religion is mankind’s best effort to reach God. Jesus is God’s best effort to reach mankind. We can’t live the life He demands, not even close. But He, through His Spirit that dwells in every believer, can live His life through us.

As it affirms in Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

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