Alpha Ministries, Inc
|Posted on 15 April, 2021 at 11:10|
Now that Easter is over we can get back to life as usual. All the special plans to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus have been completed and we are ready to move ahead with our own agendas, whatever they may be. The holiday weekend is over, and we are back to our routine.
Wait a minute! Is that all there is to Easter? Do we just celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead for a day or a weekend once a year? Isn’t there something more to the death and resurrection of Christ than that? Sure there is! Whether or not we recognize or understand it; Easter is a life changing event. It doesn’t just impact our lives once a year, but everyday all year long. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the very foundation of our lives and, if better understood, would actually change our normal agendas and routine life.
This was the point Paul was making in that section of his letter to the Romans I call “the gospel for believers” (Romans 6-8). In chapter six he tells us we are dead to sin. In chapter seven he tells us we are dead to the law. And in chapter eight he tells us we are alive in Christ. In short, the good news for believers is the very meaning of the Easter message and reason for our celebration. Let’s try to understand it.
When Jesus was crucified on the cross we were crucified with him. The person we have always thought we were joined to Jesus in his death. Paul calls this person “the old man” meaning that it was the person we were as a natural, self-centered descendant of Adam. Our “old man” is who we were born into the world as: selfish, depraved, sinful, worthless, etc. It is the person we have been trying so hard to clean up and make acceptable to others and God. That “old man” was crucified by God on the cross with Jesus, buried with him, and a “new man” was raised up to take the place of the old man. This is what Jesus referred to as being “born again” saying that which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. When the new man replaces the old man we are “born again” and are said to be a new creation even though we still live in the same physical body.
Because we still have the same body we were born with we have a tendency to believe that we are not a new person even though God says we are. This is especially true when the flesh (the left-over conditioning of the old man we used to be) takes control of our bodies and causes us to do and say things that don’t match our new identity in Christ. It is for this reason we have so much trouble doing what Paul commands in Romans 6:11, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord”. We hardly ever consider ourselves as being dead to sin (not ever sinning) because we have the flesh that keeps on flashing in our bodies. The good news of Easter is that you died and rose again just like Jesus. Just as surely as Jesus rose again from the grave, you also have become a new person. It is no longer your job to clean up your life and try hard to be good, but rather to believe that God has already done that for you.
Doesn’t that sound way too easy, almost like a cop out? Just try to believe that you are dead to sin and alive unto God and notice the opposition. Despite our track record, our circumstances, and the opinion of others we are called to count on the fact that God has crucified the old person we were and raised us up as brand-new creations. It is a daily fight to believe the truth about ourselves regardless of how we look or feel. Such an exercise of faith is far from easy. In fact, it takes the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to renew our minds in order for us to truly believe the gospel. Much more will be said about this later, but for now it is enough to count on the fact that we ourselves are dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God through our resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! We need to learn to celebrate Easter every day.