February 26, 2017

Your Faith Box; The Sixth Basic Belief: "Conquering Death"

So is that all the new Christian must believe? God is creator of the Universe and all that is in it including humankind. God loves His creation including the humans He created "in His own image". Being in God's image means we are allowed to have free will. God does not direct us or make decisions for us. Humankind has chosen to reject God. We call that rejection of God, sin. Even though we regularly reject a relationship with God by our sins, He continues to pursue us. He continues to want a relationship with us. But having that relationship requires a way to wipe out the sins that come between us and God. God originally instituted a system of blood sacrifices as a way for us to receive the forgiveness of our sins. When that method proved unworkable, God developed another method. God's plan includes providing a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. This forgiveness is available to all who chose to accept it. the sacrifice needed to be a perfect sacrifice of something so valuable it would cover the sins of all the people who ever lived, the sins of people living at the time and the sins of all people who would live afterwards. That perfect sacrifice was Jesus. By the blood shed at His death on the cross, all the sins of the world were forgiven. all we need do to receive this forgiveness is believe in the name of Jesus and accept His sacrifice.

But is that all there is to the story? 

There is one remaining basic belief needed to complete our Faith Box. One thing is missing! That one thing is the conquering of death. It is one thing to have your sins forgiven, but that forgiveness is meaningless unless it results in our living in God's presence for eternity. Jesus had to obtain the forgiveness of our sins and guarantee our eternal life in God's presence. Thus we have the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Without the resurrection, the dead of Jesus on the cross was nothing more the the cruel torture and death of a good man.

Many will argue Jesus was not really dead but had only fainted. As a maturing Christian, you have to study that argument. Many will argue Jesus' disciples moved the body and hide it. This is the story the Jewish authorities chose to tell. But the reality is indisputable, the grave into which Jesus was placed when he was taken from the cross was empty. The body was gone!

As Christians, we believe Jesus was dead and was raised from that death and appeared to the disciples in bodily form.  He commanded them to spread the word of His resurrection to all who would listen. The disciples did as He commanded and the word spread among the Jews and eventually to the rest of the known world.

Is there any proof Jesus did indeed rise from the dead? We have the witness of those who saw Him after His death, but skeptics will want more proof. Perhaps the most convincing proof lies in human nature. The bodily resurrection of Jesus became the cornerstone of this new movement. To deny the resurrection would be to negate the message of Jesus and deny He was the Messiah. If the disciple were to spread the word about Jesus, they had to believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. They had to proclaim it even to the point of their own death. It is inconceivable the disciples would face their own deaths for a lie; one they made up! You nor I would give our lives for a deliberate lie. The fact the disciples all gave their lives for the message of forgiveness and resurrection is all the proof a Christian needs.

Thus Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins and then broke the Devil's hold on us by conquering the fear of death. By Jesus resurrection, believing Christians are assured of a place in eternity with God. Jesus gives us this promise as recorded in John Chapter 14, verses 2 through 3:

"My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you 
that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (NIV)   

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