On Easter morn, we are drawn back to the message of the Cross that all-encompassing will of God. We are catapulted beyond the simple historical message of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection to the infinite heights of God’s will for our life in Christ Jesus. If we only see the historical event steeped in tradition then we have missed the message. In the Apostle Paul’s farewell message to the Ephesian elders he declared, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). And the starting place in this wonderful journey in understanding the whole will of God is by following the admonition of Christ to pick up our cross and follow Him. The Bible says, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). To pick up the cross means death. It simply cannot mean anything else. It is a conscious decision to follow Christ in His death by dying to self. As we enter the dark night of our soul we discover that everything of the old sin nature must die. Every vestige of pride must be nailed to the cross. Every glimmer of self-will must die with Christ. Through faith in Christ our death to self becomes a reality. Step by step we are able to put off the old life.
The good news is we are no longer held in bondage to the old life. Old sins are forgiven by the precious blood of the Lamb. As Christ hung on the Cross of Calvary all our sins, past, present and future have been laid on Him removing that eternal barrier between us and a holy God. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). Through faith in Christ all our sins are forgiven and its power broken. Satan was soundly defeated at the Cross and no longer has power over those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Only by following Christ in His death on the Cross can this power of sin and the devil be broken forever in the life of the believer. Don’t let another Easter pass you by without making a conscious decision to pick up your cross daily and follow Him. Don’t fear death to self, because on the other side there is real life in Christ. Dying to self and putting off the old life is only the first part of the journey. We must continue to understand the full will of God.
Christians from around the world will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, because without it we are still trapped in our sin, in bondage to the old life, and resting under the power of Satan. On that glorious Easter morn as the rock was rolled back and Christ rose from the dead a new and living way was opened to all those who would now put their faith in Him. How magnificent is this new life in Christ is beyond our finite comprehension? For those who have journeyed deep into the new life in Christ will confirm that every day becomes more glorious. Unfortunately, many have not journeyed much further than the door and have rested contently on the milk of God’s Word. As mere infants, they delight in retelling the same old stories over and over again believing somehow that they alone will bring forth spiritual fruit and a deeper life in Christ. They pass over the commands of God as mere suggestions or only relevant for some future dispensation. They pass over the gifts of the Spirit as if they only appeared in the first century. Tragically many Christians never really experience the new life in Christ thus celebrating the resurrection as mere tradition reenacting its historical event.
He is risen! Christ has risen from the dead! In faith, we follow Christ in His resurrection putting off the old life by dying to self and putting on the new life by becoming obedient to His commands. Let’s be clear commands are not works. We have been saved by faith and all our good works will not get us one inch closer to heaven or a deeper life in Christ. On the other hand, the commands of God teach us how to live this new life in Him. Through our faith in Christ we have already been made into a new creation. The old has gone, behold all things are new. The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). When we put off the old life then we are empty and ready for the Master’s use. Self and tradition cannot put on the new life, but only Christ through His wonderful commands demonstrating the will of God in us. Do you want to grow spiritually from one degree of glory to another? Do you want that deeper life in Christ? Then be filled with the Holy Spirit of God and allow Him to lead you step by step to become obedient to the whole counsel of God through His holy commands written on your heart. As you celebrate the resurrection this Easter morn let me encourage you to leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity. How marvelous to be in Christ growing into a deeper relationship with Him. Thank you Lord for your death and resurrection all praise honor and glory to your Name. Thank you Lord for our new life in you. Praise God.
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