Do you really believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
No, this is not a trick question.
Do you honesty, whole heartily believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? At a deep, fundamental level in your heart of hearts, when no one is looking, really believe in what Jesus came to do, and accomplished on the cross to the point that you have reoriented your whole life around it?
Prior to the advent of Jesus, we as a human race were without a hope in the world. As a result of the sin of one man, Adam, every person in the world was born separated from God and doomed to spend an eternity away from God. And try as we might, there was nothing that we could do to fix this. Since the beginning of time, humanity has tried to earn God’s favor in order to rectify the damage that was caused in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve first turned their hearts away from God. Yet the affects of sin were so great, so massive that all of the good works in the world weren’t able to take away its sting.
Romans 5 tells us that in the same way sin entered the world through one man, Adam, that the free gift of eternal life has been made available through the sacrifice of one man, Jesus Christ. In his death, he took upon himself the penalty of sin for all of humanity, so that no person would ever have to face the reality of eternal separation from God. After spending three days in hell, he rose from the grave and is now seated at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf.
Do we believe this?
If we do, we must also believe and come to see that the purpose of the resurrection isn’t one dimensional because the effects of sin are not one dimensional. You see, sin didn’t only affect our relationship with God, it corrupted our relationship with everything in this world! Through the sin of one man, Adam, the relationship that we have with one another, the earth, the environment, and even animals have all been affected. A quick read through Genesis 3 bears truth to this and shows that sin has reoriented so much. However, in Christ, we are in the process of being reconciled to all of these things but especially to one another. The power of the cross has destroyed the wall that used to divide us and has made us one (Ephesians 2.15 – 17).
Do we believe this?
If we do, our belief must alter the way that we live. Instead of allowing bitterness, discord, jealously, hate, fear and unforgiveness to define our relationships, we have to give way to love in the same way that Christ loved us. Christ loved us while we were still sinners, meaning that we didn’t do anything to merit his favor and grace, and in that love, laid His life down. God may not be asking us to lay our lives down in the same way, but he is asking, rather compelling us to live sacrificially in a world that desperately needs Him. He is asking us to put aside the baggage that we are carrying around from those who have hurt and wounded us, and choose to embrace one another rather than wallow in self-pity and feelings of victimization. He is asking us to surrender preconceived notions and stereotypes that we hold toward each other, and instead see our neighbors, our family, our friends, and even our enemies, the same way that Christ sees us. He is asking for us, people who claim to follow him, to model the truth of Gospel in the way that we treat each other, see each other, talk about each other so that those around us will likewise believe in this God who gave up so much just so that we could have eternal life.