Do you suppose that there will be a Covid 2020, 2021…? Perhaps these newly morphing microscopic leeches of the human cell will once again time their allegiance to death so that people are tempted to reduce their allegiance to Christ who overcame death? Is that not what is happening on Easter 2020 when believers around the world must be left alone with their faith in Him who conquered death and removed its stinger in fact?
We are accustomed to borrowing others faith, leaning on others discipleship and using the prayers of others when we have our own faith in God to sustain, our own discipline in Word-study and our own closet of prayer to occupy. We must at regular times be alone with no other than the Spirit who comforts, convicts and secures us to His end. To this eternal purpose, each of us can make good use of the enforced isolation this pandemic provides.
Easter never promised us a virus-free existence. No, in fact, the opposite. When sin entered this world (Adam and Eve) along with it came disease, poverty, hatred, prejudice, death and war. Each of us carry this within. Each of us are marked with the disease of his sin. We know it to be true and our efforts at being “good enough” never rid us of sin, they merely remind us of our impotence, our need for redemption and forgiveness. Even our bodies called “earthly tents”, are predestined to yield to sins demand. But then Easter provides yet a new Adam, one who can absolve and forgive the sins that plague us, our cultures and even our bodies. Romans 5:12-18 (CEV) says it clearly for us:
Adam and Christ
“12 Adam sinned, and that sin brought death into the world. Now everyone has sinned, and so everyone must die. 13 Sin was in the world before the Law came. But no record of sin was kept, because there was no Law. 14 Yet death still had power over all who lived from the time of Adam to the time of Moses. This happened, though not everyone disobeyed a direct command from God, as Adam did.
In some ways Adam is like Christ who came later. 15 But the gift that God was kind enough to give was very different from Adam’s sin. That one sin brought death to many others. Yet in an even greater way, Jesus Christ alone brought God’s gift of kindness to many people.
16 There is a lot of difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gift. That one sin led to punishment. But God’s gift made it possible for us to be acceptable to him, even though we have sinned many times. 17 Death ruled like a king because Adam had sinned. But that cannot compare with what Jesus Christ has done. God has been so kind to us, and he has accepted us because of Jesus. And so, we will live and rule like kings.
18 Everyone was going to be punished because Adam sinned. But because of the good thing that Christ has done, God accepts us and gives us the gift of life.”
Easter happens to reenact 52 times per year. On the first day of the week, all disciples of Jesus (those who follow, not simply nod in His direction) celebrate His victory over sin and death. Very imperfect people who are on a journey of “growing in His likeness” meet together as directed for the purposes of fellowship in kindred spirit, transformation by the Spirit and the Word, maturity in doctrine, and energetic works that demonstrate (not establish) their faith in God is real. Works and good deeds for the Christian are “FRUITS not ROOTS” of salvation. No one becomes a Christian of their own doing. Neither do they remain a Christian by the same self-effort. (bootstraps)
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO SOMEONE WHEN THEY BECOME A CHRIST-FOLLOWER and are “born again” (John 3)
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:1-10
Such Christians are thus not better than anyone, though they are certainly better off than those who have chosen to reject the Christ of Easter; those who have reduced the gift of God to an unworthy hand out to be laughed at and scorned; those who believe in their own goodness as being acceptable because it makes them look more self-righteous.
Religion is when I work at “being a good person” so that you, others and perhaps God (if there is one) will accept me and approve of me. I need no Christ or Easter to do this for me. He is become an insult to my self-sufficiency and pride.
If mankind was basically good (not infected with sin and evil) then we certainly would have rid ourselves of all the evil and darkness we have within and all around us by now. Education, money, fame and self-determination would have saved us, and we would have the utopia planet we desire. But alas…
Easter Christianity, unlike religion, is when I ditch the notion of “ME” and accept HIM, the Christ who died for me. Once for all, I bow my head in humility and trust that He truly knows and loves sinful me—that He wants me to accept His gift of forgiveness and eternity with a new body like His own. He knows me and He wants me to know Him. Here is His gracious invitation. Put aside your wisdom, education and superiority long enough to be ordinary. (like a child)
Come to Me and Rest
“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to ordinary people. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” —Matthew 11:25-30 (NASB)
For God So Loved the People of This World —
People Without Christ Will Perish and Are Condemned to a Christless eternity. Why? Only an unjust God would force someone He created to spend eternity with Him against his/her will.
16 God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! 18 No one who has faith in God’s Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn’t have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God’s only Son.
19 The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. 20 People who do evil hate the light and won’t come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. 21 But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do.” –John 3:16-21 (CEV)
The Christ of Easter calls you and me to know, love and follow Him along with the host of others who do the same. Our weekly Easter Sunday celebration is a result, not the cause, of Easter. Easter is not threatened or diminished when the body is apart because of pandemic or pestilence. Easter still shines brightly.
“Ye dwellers in darkness with sin-blinded eyes,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash at His bidding, and light will arise;
The Light of the world is Jesus!”