The Defining Moment

by Mike Ratliff

12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (NASB) 

This Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day, my wife and I will worship, but we will not be at our local church because of the COVID-19 impact on our society. We will still gather via Livestream though. Easter or Resurrection Sunday is the defining moment in History. What do I mean? What is Easter all about? When we call it Resurrection Sunday that tell us what it is about. It is that Sunday we celebrate or commemorate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and without a doubt that makes that event the defining moment in history and it has had a ripple affect through all the centuries since. All of God’s works in creation, giving man His law, sending prophets to His people, sending His Son to live a perfect life and then die as the propitiation for the sins of His people are all defining moments. However, our Lord’s resurrection from the dead is The Defining Moment. Why? This is what sets genuine Christianity apart from all other religions. Christ’s tomb is empty. Because of His resurrection the eleven remaining Apostles went from weak, vacillating, arrogant, prideful, disciples who had no clue about the magnitude of Jesus’ real ministry, to men whom God used to change the world.

The impact of Jesus’ resurrection was not just a ripple in time. It was a Tsunami that turned everything upside down. Because of this, we have no business sitting on our hands and not serving our Lord. We must obey Him in all things because, if we do not we are denying the veracity of His magnificent work in our hearts and we are exposing to everyone the fact that Christ’s resurrection has little, if any, impact on our lives. Most Christians I come in contact with in the secular are not what I would call committed. They may be committed to their religion, but they live as if that is just an add-on to their life.

If we are genuine Christians shouldn’t the miracle of Christ’s resurrection mean more to us than fire insurance? Shouldn’t that defining moment in History be so central to our faith that we commit ourselves to such a degree to obedience to our Lord that we spend very little time neutralized by self-absorption? If we have been truly changed by the regenerating touch of the Holy Spirit then what business have we in being ate up with the world and its ways?

What I am saying, or at least attempting to say, here is this: I believe that there cannot be any segmentation in our hearts if we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. He either has all of us or none of us. Now, that does not mean that we are all at the same maturity level. I understand that immature Christians can act pretty infantile at times. I know this because I struggled for many years in this area myself. However, I also know that I was never at peace with that. I was in a blender. God never let me be a peace with my disobedience and self-absorption. I believe that if we are genuine Christians that that will be the case. We may act very worldly at times, but we cannot be at peace with that behavior if the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts.

Now that God has humbled me to the point that I am walking in repentance, by His grace, I can look back at those days of disobedience with horror, but also with gratitude for being delivered from it. The impact of my Lord’s Resurrection in my heart is continually growing. When I suffer now I try to go to the Throne of Grace first. I examine my reaction to my circumstance in light of what my Lord has done for me and how powerful He really is. This always changes my initial reaction to my situation.

I will close this post by saying that genuine Christians are different than non-Christians. The following passage is from Romans 12:9-21. Prayerfully read it with the intent of learning what those who are truly Born Again will be like in all circumstances.

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21 (NASB) 

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

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