Easter losing meaning because few believe in Godís Word
I commonly hear complaints from Christians that Christmas loses its meaning in the busyness of the season. This is a sad irony when Christians who want to call Jesus "the reason for the season" forget him during the 'hustle and bustle' of Christmas. Easter, however, has always been and continues to be immune from this self-centeredness. Or has it? I say not. In fact, I believe that in many ways Easter has become even more of an offense to the Creator of the universe. At this point I am sure you are expecting me to blast the Easter Bunny or smash the Easter Egg tradition. However ungodly or unnecessary these habits might be to Christianity is not my concern here. At least these things don't pretend to be Christian.
My focus here is my concern that Easter has become simply an icon for religiosity. Ashes on the forehead, sacrificing candy for Lent and dressing up as Jesus for the church passion play can very easily become a substitute for facing the reality of the personal importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For some, dressing up in new Easter cloths for a once-a-while visit seems to relieve the conscience knowing that they've "paid their dues." The only new birth that many experience is that of a renewed religiosity which allows them the comfort of not dealing with the problem of sin. The reason many have settled into the comforts of such churchianty is because they do not believe what God has said. The authority of the word of God is continually being brought into question these days. This is nothing new. In Genesis chapter 3:1 Satan questioned God's word, "Yea, hath God said?" Subtly Satan demeaned Eve's naÔve acceptance of God's command. Likewise, today many attack those who take God for His word as being simplistic and naÔve. Paul recognized the origin of this deception and issued this warning in 2 Corinthians 11:3, "But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." The effect of this deception on Eve was that she changed what God had said when she said in verse two, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, 'Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest you die.'" God did not forbid them to touch the fruit.
Today, in the same way, many pastors and sometimes whole denominations subtly change God's word. Accepting God for what he said from Genesis 12 onward but at the same time capitulating to Satan's distortion of the first chapters of the Bible. Doing so has led many of these same church people to bring into question the veracity of the gospel and the New Testament.
We live in a time when science (or rather the "so-called" science seen in 1 Timothy 6:20) tells us that the events of the New Testament could not have really happened: Jesus didn't really walk on water, He didn't really turn water into wine and thus, certainly could not have really risen from the dead. These realities of the New Testament, especially the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, are inseparably linked to the reality of the creation of the universe in Genesis, chapter one. Jesus said, ďDo not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words.Ē John 5:45-47. Therefore, since Moses wrote Genesis, those who bring the truthfulness of Genesis into question are in turn bringing into question the resurrection of Jesus and, thus, the gospel message.
We wonder why we live in an age of wishy-washy watered down religion dominated by compromise and impotent to affect the world. At the same time we allow the word of God to be attacked without challenge in its very first verse in our children's textbooks, in the public television we pay for, in museums, in movies and in the media. Incapable of defending the "writings of Moses" we yield up the territory of science to the world blind to the implications. Compromising the word of God with poor science such as the Big Bang theory, human evolution and millions of years seems harmless. Aren't there really more important battles to fight? How about the problems of pornography, divorce, crime, etc.? Shouldn't we spend our time on these issues? Fighting issues like these under the banner of Christianity while at the same time denying the realness of Genesis is not only ineffective but also humiliating to our Savior. The problem with these problems is the same problem with all problems. Sin. The only answer to these problems is Jesus Christ. He died for that sin. He really did. It really happened. Not only that, but he conquered that sin by rising from the dead--supernaturally.
To be continued next week.4/7/01
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Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen