Mar 30, 2018

East . er (ˋdo ōver) n. A Christian holiday

There is a reason why Christians celebrate Easter with such enthusiasm.  Well, actually, there are two reasons.  Well, wait.  Now that I think about it, there are actually three reasons.

The celebration begins, of course, with the Resurrection of Christ.  Celebration Reason #1:  Our Lord lives!  But, that empty tomb is not just about bragging rights over the Devil and his plan to take control of this world.  It is much more about the absolutely astounding completion of God’s redemptive process for humanity.  And, this is a twist which no one, including the Devil, saw coming. 

So, from that empty tomb springs a vibrant Living Christ.  And, from this Living Savior, springs the most fantastic human opportunity one could imagine.  Celebration Reason #2:  The opportunity for a Do-over! 

It is true.  The Resurrection is all about nothing less than the opportunity for a magnificent “Do-over,” for humanity – only this time, with a much better, Christ-enabled result. 

Jesus said, “I came that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”  Little did the world realize, at the time, what Jesus was actually indicating by this statement.   Indeed, He was offering to share His own renewing life essence with devout believers so that their life essence might become “abundant” – both in terms of quantity and quality.    

We now know that this empowering symbiotic relationship with the Living Christ takes place through what the Church calls the “Spiritual Baptism.” This Spiritual integration is simply a personal merger with the Spirit of Christ.  And, this personal integration with the Living Christ changes everything. 

It literally, and very intimately, plugs the believer into Christ’s values and perspectives.  And, this connection to the Living Christ completely renews the believer’s core person, and, in turn, his or her larger life circumstance. 

And now, we come to Celebration Reason #3:  everlasting life!  This symbiotic richness of life stemming from the shared vitality of the Living Christ is what ultimately propels the devout believer into the transcendent, or everlasting version of this abundant life.

The Apostle Paul framed it this way in the Bible.  “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

So, Jesus rose again to life by the power of the divine Spirit.  And so it shall also be with those devout believers who are, Spiritually enjoined to Christ in this life.   They too, shall be, not only empowered to newness in this life, but also resurrected by the power of the divine Spirit to an abundant everlasting life.

So, when you think about it, Easter relentlessly begs a very simple question.  It is this:  “Do you want to be new?”  Indeed, newness and a Christ-empowered, here-and-now transformation of our character essence is what the Resurrection and our celebration of Easter is really first about.

Many, in these more modern times, even in the Church, have lost this larger awareness of the Resurrection’s significance.  Rather, these days, we tend to blow right past this idea of a life-transforming integration with the Living Christ in the here-and-now, and jump straight to a future hope of eternal life.  Sadly, it would seem that we now tailor our faith much more toward the “quick and easy” than the “new and better.” 

Nevertheless, the telling question of Easter and the true redemptive process remains, “Do you want to be made new in the power of the Living Christ?” If your answer is a short-sighted and tepid, “Well – not really,” then, you’ve missed the point of all that God is up to in the redemptive work of Christ.  God’s true redemptive “end game” is that you would become thoroughly renewed in your core person as you share in the vitality of the Living Christ – in this life. 

Without the desire for, and, indeed, the actuality of this renewing, symbiotic life experience with the Living Christ, the entirety of the Christian faith becomes nothing more than a religious delusion.  But, to actually experience this daily transformative synergy which the Living Christ brings to the believer’s life, is to give overflowing and transcendent meaning, not only to Easter but to all of God’s redemptive effort in Christ.

In God’s authentic redemptive process, to be forgiven is a function of the Cross and the Dying Christ.  But, to be profoundly renewed is a function of the Resurrection and the Living Christ as His essence lives within and impacts the believer.  Easter only really “sings” in our heart and in our life when we unequivocally answer its unrelenting question with a desperate and delighted, “Yes! Yes! By all means, Yes!  Make me new, Lord!”

For an expanded explanation of these ideas, visit Reading Room 3 and read,   Spiritual Bearings: A Return To True North.
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