Christ, Easter & The Resurrection

April is the month when the majority of the Christian world celebrates the popular season of Easter. Shopping malls, supermarkets and variety stores have been noticeably overstocked with countless varieties of colourful Easter paraphernalia, ranging from tiny Easter eggs to oversized bunnies. It is quite evident that the emphasis placed on festive seasons such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Easter, is not in decline, but rather becoming increasingly interwoven into the fabric of our commercial society.

It is ironic that the abolishment of these festivities would cause greater disappointment for the business world than it would for the child of God. Commerce is capitalizing on religion, with monetary gain as the primary focus. In fact, it appears that the ungodly world has a stronger influence on the Church than the Church has on the world.

Fact or Fantasy?

For a moment, let us consider the connection between Christ and the traditional Easter season. What does the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus have to do with Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and chocolate treats? It is tragic that the majority of the Christian world finds no reason to even question this seemingly trivial affiliation. Rather, we have accommodated many traditional customs passed down to us over the years, and have developed lasting sentimental attachments to them. We pay little attention to the fact that all misconceptions of godliness and religion originate from the Devil, and will activate a gradual acceptance of error. The blending and amalgamation of pagan concepts into Christianity will defile the purity of our faith, and serve to undermine our defences against more detrimental doctrinal intrusions. The rejection of fact and reality, in preference to religious traditionalism, will subvert God’s purpose for the Church.

The question is, does it matter what we believe as Christians? Is truth only relegated to theoretical doctrines which have little or no importance to our lifestyle? Can we incorporate into our lives that which originates from false religion and yet still walk as children of light? If so, where do we draw the line between light and darkness? Are we to dwell in a spiritual twilight zone? Would a little flavour of Jesus added to heresy, fables and paganism serve to appease God? These questions are not to be taken lightly or ignored, but instead, they should be considered as critical to the development of Christ in our lives.

Scripture cautions us not to ignore the “little foxes, that spoil the vines…” (Songs of Solomon 2:15).

The Effect of Truth

God’s word emphatically declares that “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn. 8:32). To “know” seems to imply much more than a mental comprehension or a casual acceptance. To “know” Christ is to have a genuine experience with Him. This will result in a change and transformation of one’s lifestyle. The Apostle Paul states that “…if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17). As a result, one will walk in truth. (2 Jn. 4-6, 3 Jn. 3-4).

Although the words ‘truth’, ‘light’ and ‘doctrine’ seem to refer, in many instances, to a theoretical understanding of scripture, I am convinced that the primary use is intended to focus on lifestyle.

In his writing to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul exhorts the saints to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work…” (Col. 1:10). He continues to say that God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness” (verse 13), and although we were alienated from God by wicked works, Christ will present us holy, unblameable and unreproveable. (v.22). Of course, this will only come into reality “…if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel…” (v.23). The Christian must not be contaminated by the philosophy and vain deceit that originates from the elements of this world. (Col. 2:8).

Our Lord Jesus exhorts His disciples to do truth, seeing this world is condemned for loving darkness and doing evil. (Jn. 3:19-20).

Conversion will result in lives being changed from a Gentile lifestyle of darkness into a life of light and godliness. (Eph. 4:17-19). The Christian is not called unto uncleanness, but unto holiness, and must walk to please God. (1 Thess. 4:7). Scripture cautions us to “neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in the faith…” (1 Tim. 1:4). Paul shows that backsliding from the faith is a direct result of demonic influence. (1 Tim. 4:1). This undermining of doctrine will no doubt result in the birth of “profane and old wives’ fables”. (1 Tim. 4:7).

Titus was told that, among many other requirements, a bishop must have “sound doctrine” in order to countermand the spreading of fables. (Tit. 1:9-14). It is a fact that the rejection of sound doctrine will produce customs and celebrations not founded on scripture. Truth is reality, and has no room for fantasy or fables. To walk in Biblical truth is to imbibe into our lives that which is required and approved by scripture. Jesus said to His disciples, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have light…believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light”. (Jn. 12:35-36).

Easter and The Believer

Let us now consider Easter, and how it relates to Christ and the believer. The word “Easter” is mentioned only once in the Bible, (Acts. 12:4), and is, in fact, a mistranslation. Due to the concurrent timeframe between Easter, Passover, and the resurrection of Christ, the leaders of apostate religion adopted Easter and blended it into Christianity. This was just one of many efforts to mix pagan festivals with Christian practices.

However, the child of God should pay little or no attention to the

unscriptural festivities of Easter, but focus more on remembering the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

It is a time to consider the importance of the Lord’s first advent. The result of Adam’s transgression brought death upon the entire human race. The Apostle Paul states, “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…” (Rom. 5:12).

Sin is inherent and we were all born with a sinful nature. As a consequence, we must all die, for scripture states that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The prophet Ezekiel declared the same, saying that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die…” (Ezek. 18:4). Man, being sinful, must die for his sins, but will do so without hope of eternal life. This is the reason for Christ coming as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”. (Jn. 1:29). He, the sinless Son of God, was not subject to death because death is only a judgment against sin. But “…God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” (Jn 3:16), to die as a substitute for sinful man. Our sins were imputed to Him, and He died in our place so as to offer us an escape from death, the penalty of sin. This tremendous act of love and sacrifice should not be ignored or treated lightly, but cherished.

Easter is a time of remembrance, when the child of God reflects on the agony and death of Jesus. The cross is to be remembered and its purpose should never be disregarded. This is a time for a man to “examine himself” that he be not found unworthy. (1 Cor. 11:28). Scripture warns, “…if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation…” (Heb. 10:26-27).

Consideration should be given to the fact that there are severe consequences to a wilful disregard of the Lord’s death. To live a sinful life is to tread under foot the Son of God, treating His blood as unholy, thereby abusing the grace of God. (Heb. 10:29).

The ‘Easter Season’ is an important time for the Christian, but it is quite obvious that the Devil will do everything within his power to destroy the weight and sacredness of this period. Let us, as we should, never allow the frivolity of pagan rituals and icons to distract the gravity of our faith.

Hope and Confidence

Easter is also a time of rejoicing. While the death of Christ brings freedom from sin and its consequences, the resurrection of Christ offers hope to the believer.

The Apostle declares that hope in our earthly existence alone will leave us in misery. He stated: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (1 Cor. 15:19-20). This gives confidence and hope to the child of God. Confidence that our Lord, who suffered and died, is no longer in the grave, but arose triumphantly! Hope in knowing that, “…if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he…shall also quicken your mortal bodies…” (Rom. 8:11).

Jesus is “the resurrection and the life”. (Jn. 11:25). Let us live, love and serve God acceptably so that we may enjoy the bliss of eternal life.    Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26).