Earning our way to the after-life
This year, March is the month for Easter and all that it entails.
Religiously and biblically, it is more significant even than Christmas.
Easter is the main event.
It is the big deal.
It centres around a person – the Son of the Living God who willingly gave up his life as an atonement for the sins of the world.
There is incarnation, there is death and there is resurrection.
These concepts are essential to Christianity.
If even one of them is not true of the God-man, Jesus Christ, we are of all people to be most pitied.
But the Bible says, “Proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes?”
If you read biographies like those of Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi, who died violent and politically significant deaths, you typically won’t find more than 10 per cent of their pages devoted to the person’s death.
When it comes to the gospels, though, nearly a third of their length is devoted to the last week of Jesus’ life.
Only two of the gospels mention the events of his birth, and all four offer only a few pages on his resurrection.
But each gospel writer provides a detailed account of the events leading to Jesus’ death.
They saw it as the central mystery of Christ and His incarnation.
Nothing remotely like it had happened before – brief angelic visitations had occurred.
A few people had been brought back to life, but then the Son of God died – and the question – how could a Messiah face defeat?
How could God be crucified?
The bible records that nature itself convulsed or reeled, the ground shook, rocks cracked open, the sky went black and, yes, graves opened and many loved ones came back to life – because the death of God was a miracle in itself.
The fact that He would allow Himself to experience human death is incomprehensible to all dimensions of reality.
It has incredible repercussions in the physical world and the spiritual world.
If a scientist enacts the splitting of an atom, it can have cataclysmic consequences.
The death of Christ was far more earth-shattering and heaven-rendering.
And it wasn’t as if when He came on the scene that He clenched his teeth and resolved, ‘Okay, get it over with.’
Jesus gave His all because He loved. He endured God’s process, demonstrated God’s purposes and loved God’s people – because He is God.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The stakes are high; the currency is priceless.
Eternity is held in the balance.
No one comes to God unless the Father draws him or her.
God makes the first move, but there is a necessary response.
For by grace are you saved through faith.
That little seed of faith: we come to God with nothing and just believe.
Surely nothing is that simple. There’s no free lunch, is there?
And certainly, if there is an after-life, we have to earn our way there.
Les Warriner is the pastor of Living Way Foursquare Church in Maple Ridge.