"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:3-7).
These things actually happened! At a real place, in real time, a real person (Jesus) made a real provision for our real problem! “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (I Peter 3:18). On the cross, Jesus took the full force of God’s judgment on Himself. God raised Him from the dead. Payment for sin had been accepted. Those who believe are now set free from the law of sin and death.
Such categorical statements stand out against the backdrop of contemporary culture as it espouses theological vagueness as a desirable destination. We live at a time when it’s acceptable to let people know that we’re seeking God, but it’s not acceptable to let anyone know that we’ve found Him! Or worse yet, that He has found us! In our everyday conversations, we confront the underlying assumption that when it comes to spiritual matters, or religion itself, everyone has the right to seek their own path and to do so in a sphere of openness and tolerance. At the same time, the assumption is that there is no one path that leads to salvation, and therefore it would be wrong for anyone to impose their views or their chosen path on anybody else.
What a striking difference we find in Jesus’ declaration, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). We have no freedom to dilute, distort, or soften the message for purposes of selling its acceptability. Those who have done so have no message and few listeners. When we read the New Testament, it challenges us to believe. It pins us back by the clarity with which it speaks.
Paul tells the Corinthians that it is this Gospel that men and women must believe if they’re going to be put in a right relationship with God. Salvation is only by way of this Gospel and placing one’s trust and confidence in the person of Jesus Christ and in the work that He has accomplished. The very heart of this Good News, Paul says, is the fact of the resurrection.
I hope you have the opportunity this Easter Sunday to share this Good News with a friend. And I encourage you to share it with your children or grandchildren at the earliest age possible. Our resource this month can be a help in this regard. My Best-Ever Book of Bible Stories does a wonderful job explaining God’s love and grace to the young ones. In fact, we like this book so much that we’ve animated one of the chapters and posted it on our website at www.truthforlife.org/bestbook. Bring it up on your iPad and watch it with your grandson or granddaughter! You’ll both enjoy it tremendously.
With my love in the Lord Jesus,
Category: Letters from Alistair