Don’t Waste Easter
As Spring approaches and we begin to focus our attention heavily on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, it can be tempting to sit back and apathetically let this season of remembrance pass us by. As with anyone of faith accustomed to their church practices could tell you, it would be entirely too easy to walk through the motions of this Easter season without being intentional to contemplate the significance that this holiday holds for believers. If we do not resolve to pause and reflect on the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice, the work He is doing within our lives, and the new identity we have in Him, we can find ourselves simply treating the upcoming holiday as any other season. However, on the contrary, if we take the time to truly seek after God’s own heart during this important time and remember the transformation he has begun in our lives, we might be surprised to see what He reveals to us. To do this well, we must look at who we once were before salvation and who we now are as God’s beloved children. We at Alpha Ministries are so glad that you have found yourself here on our blog and sincerely hope you leave encouraged, refreshed, and reminded of the miracle of your salvation.
Who We Were
In scripture, the apostle Paul is quick to remind the church of who they once were before being born again as followers of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians chapter 2, he goes on to say, “Remember that at one time you Gentiles . . . were without Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:11-12). While this passage of scripture may be one that many of us have grown accustomed to hearing, it’s message and truth are two chilling staples of the Christian faith that we can never truly grow out of.
Brennon Manning, a recovered alcoholic and devout follower of Jesus who at times struggles through relapse and human frailty, explains this concept beautifully in his book entitled “The Ragamuffin Gospel.” At the end of chapter one, Brennan begins to contemplate on the idea of who will be seated around the throne of God in Heaven for all of eternity. His findings remind us of the sobering truth that none of us are deserving of heaven but are rather radically saved by grace through faith alone. He says,
“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me she could find no other employment to sup- port her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last “trick,” whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school; the deathbed convert who for decades had his cake and ate it, broke every law of God and man, wallowed in lust, and raped the earth.
“But how?” we ask. Then the voice says, “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” There they are. There we are—the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to the faith.”
As followers of Jesus, it is important for us to recall who we once were before knowing Him as our Savior in order to understand and fully appreciate all that He has done for us.
Who We Are
While it is vital to our Christian walk to remember what life before Jesus was like, it is even more crucial to remember who we now are as his beloved children and followers. Scripture has much to say about our new identity as Christians. In Colossians, the apostle Paul says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3: 1-3). In the book of 2 Peter, the disciple of Jesus also expounds upon the identity of believers when he says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). As we can see through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, we are now called to walk in a newness of life with an identity now given to us by God himself. The world around us will always give its best effort to tell us where our identity should lie. This may be through our career path, the amount of money we have, who we’re married to, or even through our interests and hobbies. Scripture says differently. As Christians, we can reflect and remember who we are in Christ by referring to what God’s word tells us and remembering the emptiness that life once held before we were made new in salvation.
Don’t Waste This Season
While the temptation to go about our days on autopilot may arise this Easter season, we at Alpha Ministries want to encourage you not to waste the chance and opportunity you have to reflect on all that Christ has done for you. Lacking joy in your salvation? Think on the promises that God has given to His children. Suffering through grief and loss this Spring? Remember the Great Comforter who gave His only son’s life for you on Calvary. Struggling with remorse for past mistakes? Look to the resurrected Savior and trust Him when He says, “It is finished.” While our flesh has a tendency to grow numb to the sermons and Bible lessons we’ve heard over the years of church attendance surround this Holiday, we at Alpha Ministries want to encourage you to strive to make this year different. Rest in your salvation and reflect on the Good God who gave Himself for you.