I have listened to many sermons lately. I guess that happens when you go to church and go to church events. I’ve noticed some things lately when listening to salvation messages. There are many tactics that try to induce either fear or guilt. I’m part of the protestant tradition (to be more specific, I’m a Wesleyan). The messages I’ve heard lately is that Jesus died and since he died, so guilt is necessary and should lead us to a Christ that loved us.
Okay, so that’s not exactly the way a salvation message is usually worded, but you get the idea that evangelicals and fundamentalists tend to focus very much on the death of Christ. This is a major issue in the Church and has major implications for understanding God’s love for us, but I think we need to place this in perspective.
“Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.” – 1 Peter 1:21
You may be wondering why I have “raised” in bold here. I think it’s very important to think about resurrection in our faith (if you’re a Christian remembering Christ, also includes Muslims and Jews.) According to Peter, the thing that gives us confidence is this one event. Just think, if a man died, even if it was for you, you would feel sorry for him, but it doesn’t mean that you would follow him. As a matter of fact, you may question him and keep away from him, because his way of life might get you killed too (which is exactly what the early church dealt with).
Another point that I would like to make is that in the books of the Maccabees, the death of these martyrs is explicit, graphic, and in every detail you could imagine and more. It’s almost sickening in some places. This is not too far from the time of Jesus. Now, why didn’t the writers of our New Testament put more detail into Christs death. Why don’t we hear a full description of his lashing and beating? Why don’t we hear more about his murder on the cross?
Now ask more questions. Why do the disciples change after His resurrection? Why does Paul say that we are fools if we follow Christ and there is no resurrection (1 Cor. 15:14 & 17, this link is actually the entire chapter, but read it. It’s important)?
I think we begin to see that Christ’s death is not the pivot for our seesaw of salvation. Christ died so that God’s glory would be revealed (which is Christ being raised and showing God never gives up on us).
People know there is good.
And if they are honest, they know that it seems very absent from the earth. They can see hell here on earth. They get that humanity is in trouble without something or someone point towards a better way. Even Christ’s death for Christians points to the evil of the world. So why follow a dead man? The trick to answering that is saying if He is actually dead.
And he is not. He is alive!
Here is our faith: It is hope, love, peace, kindness, mercy, grace, comfort, knowledge of God’s great and ferocious love for us. And when we are raised from the dead, we will see a world that God is already bringing back to Him.
That’s a God I can believe in. That to me is good news.
So which one will you look towards as the greatest hope, death or life?
The Grave or the Resurrection?
Grace and peace to you all.