Category: EASTER


There is no middle ground in God’s universe. Too many people-even professing Christians-think that the events we celebrate at Easter are insignificant. In reality they represent the most important events in the history of mankind, and the most important truths we could ever consider…

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WE CAN BE FREE FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).

So many efforts have been made by enemies of the true gospel to wipe this fact from history and the minds of men. Despots, communists, atheists, politicians and even large organizations purporting to be spreading the gospel have been attempting to destroy it. Why is the sacrifice of Christ so important, and why is his death so vital?

Our sin has separated us from God, because he, being perfect, cannot tolerate sin. He can’t wink at it or ignore it and live with it. Imagine a heaven in which everyone acts as they do in our world today: it would not be heaven, would it? And contrary to popular belief here in the politically-correct twenty-first century, he doesn’t change his views to suit ours. Neither do his standards evolve-they are not “fluid”.

The end product of sin, according to Old and New Testament scriptures, is death, both physical and spiritual. This fact affects us all, no matter how good we may think we are: none of us can match up to God’s standards. God has to be true to his own nature, and he can’t deny his justice any more than he can deny his love.

However, God loved his creation, fallen though it is, and had a plan to destroy sin and ultimately its outcome, death. God’s plan was to send his son to earth as a man, and to die as a perfect sacrifice for sin. Only Jesus Christ could fulfill that mission, because only he was sinless and perfect. When he died on the cross he satisfied God’s holy justice, and paid the penalty, the “price” of our sin.

This doesn’t mean we don’t sin any more, it means that there’s nothing standing between us and our creator, except our own reluctance, and  determination to continue in sin. If we turn from our sin we’re completely forgiven and in a right relationship with God. Paul said:

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8: 1).

Other religions, denominations and organizations have piled more and more requirements, laws, regulations and commitments onto their followers, claiming that these are necessary to gain God’s acceptance, or that only commitment to the organization and its rules can ensure salvation and eternal life. According to the original gospel, which I wrote about in parts one and two, this is totally false and is really an attack on the gospel, because the death of Jesus Christ has entirely paid for our sin. It’s not possible for us or for any human go-between or organization to pay the price of our sin. It’s arrogant and futile to think that we can, and it is an insult to the sacrifice of Christ.

Jesus said “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11: 26). He did NOT say “whoever believes and goes to “XYZ” church and gives at least ten percent of their income…”! I’m not saying that we can live however we want to live and get away with it-we can’t. But if we turn from sin and to him we are completely forgiven.

“According to the Scriptures…”

The Old Testament scriptures foretold the sacrifice of Christ hundreds of years before it happened. As an example, read Isaiah chapter 53.  An entire copy of the book of Isaiah, known to have been written before Christ’s life on earth, was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. There’s virtually no difference between it and what we have in our Bible today.

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OUR SIN WAS BURIED WITH CHRIST

“…He was buried…”

Jesus “became sin” for us. He was buried in a tomb, contrary to many modern attempts to write another version of his life. You don’t bury someone who isn’t dead. His disciples witnessed his death, and the Roman guard sealed and guarded the tomb, at the request of those who wanted him dead and who gloated over his death. They would have all ensured that he was dead and buried, and had the disciples attempted to claim that he was resurrected when he wasn’t, the authorities would have displayed the body for all to see.

Our sin was buried with him, and baptism is symbolic of our association with him, and with the burial of our sin and our past sinful lifestyle.

WE CAN HAVE NEW LIFE NOW, AND ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST

“…he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

The doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus has been under constant attack, even from within the church. No wonder, because it’s one of the most essential doctrines, perhaps the most essential. Without it the gospel is empty. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates his power over death, his divine nature, and his ability and willingness to give us eternal life with him as he promised very clearly many times. It’s the resurrection which gives us hope for the future, and which puts our earthly life into its proper context and perspective. Our present physical body is very temporary and weak, but our resurrected body will be full of eternal life force. Again, his resurrection was foretold in Old Testament Scriptures (see Acts 2: 27 – 31 and 13:34 – 37, with Psalm 16:10).

HE DEMONSTRATED HIS POWER OVER DEATH

“…and that he appeared…”

Paul listed those who had seen Jesus alive after his resurrection. Paul was the last to see him. Those who went about spreading the good news had nothing to gain except persecution and death. Yes, people do give their lives to become martyrs to other religions, but no-one will die for something he knows is untrue. Neither did they kill in order to spread their beliefs or agenda. Instead they risked and in many cases lost their own lives.

For example Paul, when converted, voluntarily gave up his position of influence and power to become a hunted and hounded man. His enemies complained that he had “turned the world upside down”. There was no timid cowering in quiet corners for Paul: he wanted to tell the world, not that he had a new set of principles and rules to teach them, but that Christ had risen from the dead, and that he had seen him. He suffered multiple attacks and attempts on his life before finally being executed–such was his conviction that the gospel was true. He was prepared to die, as they all were, because they were convinced of Christ’s resurrection, and that His resurrection ensured theirs, just as Christ had promised. The promise is available to all who accept the gospel.    

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Atheists mock Christians for worshiping a God who can’t be seen. He isn’t peeping out from behind the clouds, he isn’t sitting on the church roof, he’s never been to university and he doesn’t stop people stealing from little old ladies. August 2013 010

He isn’t hob-nobbing in the White House or even in the Vatican, and you can’t put a piece of him under a scanning electron microscope. He refuses to show up at the lab to be examined or interviewed. Therefore, according to the wisdom of man, God obviously does not exist.

While the world’s atheists tell us how clever they are and how moronic anyone who believes in an invisible Creator is, secular scientists tell us that most of the matter and energy in the universe is “dark”: it can’t be seen, felt, bottled or analyzed, and nobody knows what it’s made of. They “know” it’s there somewhere-they just haven’t seen it yet. According to NASA:

“It turns out that roughly 68% of the Universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest – everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter – adds up to less than 5% of the Universe.” (note 1).

While no one’s ever yet seen any dark matter, scientists believe it exists because of the behavior of visible objects in its vicinity.

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Similarly, the “singularity”-that initial blob of mass and energy which evolutionists believe brought our universe into being-was not observed or filmed by anyone at all, and you wouldn’t even be able to see it if you were there to…ah…not see it:

“It is impossible to see the singularity or the actual Big Bang itself, as time and space did not exist inside the singularity” (NOTE 2).

If time and space didn’t exist, exactly where did this object exist, and where did it come from?

Many things which are believed by secular scientists and by atheists-and I use that word “believe” intentionally-have not been observed by any of them. I recently reported on the theory that chloroplasts-vital for all life on earth-came into existence when a large molecule enslaved a “simple” bacterium. This event, confessed the scientist, has never been observed, and neither is there any fossil evidence of the transformation. It’s believed because the chloroplast had to come from somewhere, right?

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Similarly, a scientist I heard speaking about the origin of the sun, admitted that the generally accepted theory is “conjecture” because it was not observed, although they think they can surmise its beginnings from what they are convinced (not know) is going on in other parts of the universe now.

We draw valid conclusions about many properties of nature from their affects or just from reason alone. The problem for us is that atheists and evolutionists, with the help of nominal Christians, have led the majority of people to think that any scientifically sound fact disproves God. Science and “religion” are incompatible, they say. This view assumes that a universe-creator would not have any practical, scientific or mathematical mind-rather like saying that a world-class soccer player obviously doesn’t have any idea how to kick a ball.

Evolutionists and scientists draw conclusions about nature using observation driven by what they prefer to believe and what they’ve been taught to believe, and by their own set of pre-conceived notions, all of which intentionally exclude God. We who believe in an invisible creator do so and draw conclusions about him from what we prefer to believe, from our own world-view, and from what we see and experience in our tangible universe. To us the evidence for God is all around us, and in us. As Paul wrote:

…what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20 ESV).

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You can read some of my own observations in this regard in my “Acronyms” posts (note 3).

SEEING GOD

In the New Testament we read that John said, “No one has ever seen God” (1 John 4:12).

So if there’s a God, why is it that no one has seen him? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that:

“God is spirit” (John 4:24), and that

“…what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

One good reason no one has seen God is that we are physical, mortal, finite, three-dimensional beings (four counting time) in a fixed and very limited existence, whereas the God who created this physical universe is an immortal, eternal, infinite, multi-dimensional and pan-dimensional being. We cannot see him with our very finite and limited physical eyes, but we can see what he has made, and how amazingly intelligent and powerful he is.

More than that, we can “see” in our mind’s eye, or in our soul, what God is like from what he’s told us in his Word. We can see from Scripture that he is a loving and merciful God. We can see that he has incredible power and unfathomable aesthetic creativity. We can also see what his character is like when we think about Jesus. The apostle John said:

“No one has ever seen God, but God the one and only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18).

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It’s clear who this “one and only” is that John spoke of, because the entire gospel is about Jesus, and John, in the same passage, said:

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Jesus Christ came to earth as a man to show the world what God is like. Paul said that Jesus Christ is:

“The image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15).

When you look at Jesus, you see as much of God as any human can see.

We don’t have the privilege of seeing Jesus physically, yet. But we can “see” him in the scriptures, thanks to men like John and Paul who gave their lives to tell us about him. Philip, one of the twelve disciples, said to Jesus one evening:

“Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus’ answer also speaks to us, nineteen hundred years later. He said:

“Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9).

Not only can we see the witness of nature all around us, but when we read about Jesus-about his nature, his character and his attributes, we get a glimpse of God himself.

NOTES

1: http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy/

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initial_singularity

3: https://nickyfisher.com/2015/05/25/a-spiritual-defense-strategy/

https://nickyfisher.com/2015/06/14/a-spiritual-defense-strategy-acronym-2/

https://nickyfisher.com/2015/07/06/a-spiritual-defense-strategy-66-jell-wast-mush/

 

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