The Easter Battle

My soul was troubled as I entered the sanctuary last Sunday.  My country has turned its back on Israel.  Our president is working on a deal that will leave Iran just two weeks from having the deadliest weapon the world has ever known.  Meanwhile, that pariah nation is carving up the Middle East, along with other Islamic extremists while we do virtually nothing.  A regional war  seems inevitable, a war that could turn into WWIII.

It was if our pastor had read my mind.  His sermon was on war, more specifically, the most important battle ever fought.  It help me get things back into their proper perspective.

This battle was not between soldiers of opposing armies.  It occurred in a garden outside of Jerusalem.  It was a battle from within.

As Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, prayed beneath the olive trees in Gethsemane, he prayed, not as Lord, but as a man.  He came to earth and lived a sinless life in order to offer himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  However, as the hour approached when Jesus would suffer the most humiliating and painful death on a cross, in his humanity, he struggled to find a way out.

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”  (Matthew 26: 39)

Luke describes his mood at that moment:

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”  (Luke 22:44)

No doubt, his struggle was intensified because he could have used his power as God to escape.  At any moment he could have called upon his godly powers to rain down fire from heaven to destroy his enemies.   His many miracles attest to that, but no.

Jesus chose to suffer as a man in order to fully identify with those for whom he provided redemption. In doing so, he overcame the world and won the battle for our souls.  Without his sacrifice, we would be eternally separated from our holy God.  Jesus, who knew no sin, died for us so that when our life is over we can stand before God spotless, white as snow.

It is an indescribable gift from God, “not as a result of works so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

This is what Easter is all about.

Although this gift is available to each and everyone, it is not bestowed automatically.  This is a gift that must be claimed.  All that is necessary to claim this gift is to recognize your need for a savior.

“(I)f you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  (Roman 10:9-10)

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This means that those who claim this gift must sincerely recognize what Christ has done and be willing to seek his will, reject sin and follow him.

Unfortunately, there are many who leave this gift unclaimed to their peril. Therefore, they will never know the peace that only come through knowing Christ.  We were created with a God-shaped vacuum that can be filled in no other way.

There is a battle within for our soul that must be won.   Why do we fight so hard to resist this precious gift of eternal life?   I can only speak for myself.  It was about control.  I had big plans for my life and I didn’t want anyone, even the God who created me, to interfere with those plans.  Also, I was afraid he would ask too much.

We all face this choice:  Will it be God or my own limited personality?

My internal battle went on for sometime.  I wanted Christ to save me, but I wasn’t willing to relinquish control. In reading the Bible, there were a few things I’d missed.

“For my yoke is easy.  My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  (John 10:10)

My God is real.  If you don’t believe me, just ask him to reveal himself to you and begin reading his word.

This battle within will  continue until you surrender.  Why not do it now?   Then you can truly experience the abundant life for which you were created.

Joyous Easter!

 

 

6 thoughts on “The Easter Battle

  1. Pastor Jane Chastain has spoken words that many people need to read and heed. Like Jane, I was a late believer as are so many others. I accepted the “free gift” of forgiveness and salvation at age 48. The phrase “free gift” is redundant for a gift is free, without strings or reciprocal compensation, but using the word “free” helps get the message through to those who do not hear or do not insightfully see. The following is an addendum to a lengthy ode I wrote a few years ago:

    Soul-saving Addendum to “Clarity In Knowing God” –

    So God is too big, you want something smaller;
    Well He has that “something” for you.
    God came to earth in human form,
    To know Him, here’s what to do:

    Say, “Jesus, I know I’m a sinner,
    I’m seeking forgiveness from you;
    I repent of my sins, be my Savior,
    My faith and trust is in you.

    “Your sacrificial death for all people,
    To save woeful sinners like me;
    Opened Heav’n’s gates for believers,
    Those who insightfully see.

    “My life is a shambles without you,
    Come into my heart and abide,
    Your Holy Spirit’s a gift of Grace
    And will be my eternal guide.

    “Just saying a prayer does not save me,
    Salvation is my trust in you,
    Righteousness is belief in my heart,
    By my mouth I declare these are true.

    “I know at this moment you’ve saved me,
    Heaven bound, never fearful again;
    ALL my sins are forgiven,
    Praise God, in Jesus name, Amen.”

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  2. Just kind of free-associating your ideas here…

    None of this makes any sense to me. God made us imperfect, then recoils in everlasting shock that we’re imperfect and can’t let it go? Doesn’t make sense. Then his son dies miserably, as so many millions of sons have, and that … absolves our sin? Then he can forgive us? But not before? Though he’s god? How does that follow? Sounds like god needs some counseling.

    I don’t know why anyone would have to be nailed to anything to ‘identify’ with me. That’s just weird.

    The idea that god made billions of people and has one “son” is absurd. The idea that whatever made the universe has a “son” is absurd. But then god looks like a person/made us in his image, so I guess it does make sense. Wait, god has hair, eyes and legs? Can you sneak up on him? Does he get cold? Does he run to keep in shape? It’s all so ridiculous.

    The idea that Jesus’s death was “for our sins” and his death absolves our sins makes no sense. If god made mankind sinful, that’s his problem. If he wants to forgive us, well, he’s god – he can go right ahead. And why does he CARE? He’s fairly impervious, god. You can’t exactly steal his mower or dye his cat blue.

    If you believe that god wrote a book two THOUSAND+ years ago but it’s OUR fault we’d be “eternally separated” from god if god hadn’t arranged for his “son” to be killed by the same people god apparently can’t forgive for some reason for not being perfect, but now he can because his son is dead/killed wait! Alive! All these years later! Huh? you’re not thinking. At all.

    Is it a sacrifice to allow yourself to die/allow your son to die when you know you’re/he’s not really dead? God is … crying … as his son is (as it turns out not actually) “dying” on the cross. God didn’t “give his only son” if his son comes back from the dead later that week. It’s a wash – god should talk to someone who’s ACTUALLY lost they child if he wants sympathy and gratitude.

    Again, this whole Christian perspective needs a lot of work, to make any sense. But some people like to keep it simple, I guess.

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    1. If you are sincerely interested, and I suspect you aren’t, then read the Bible you are criticizing. Start with Genesis. Also the new “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell. Also, “Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics have about the Christian Faith.” There is a link in my bookstore.

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  3. I have sympathy for the above writer. Some people are so uninformed that I have a feeling of compassion for the ignorance they display. Apparently it isn’t their time for the Holy Spirit to pursue them and enlighten them via basic understanding. Maybe it will never happen, though I believe everyone gets a chance to respond to the free gift of salvation thru belief in Jesus Christ.
    First, the person must dismiss the concept that God (with a capital “G”) is not a person but spirit. The image the writer is interpreting is part of the common knowledge that is usually totally wrong. Image means spirit, not physical body. God is spirit – get that straight – and that spirit is implanted in our being, our soul, and that soul is given a human body to exist on earth. The image is God’s spirit of thinking, reasoning, ability to love, know truth, etc., is the image created in humankind as opposed to trees, rocks, and other creations of God. The material image of the human body is looking at God as if He looked like us. GOD IS SPIRIT! We have his image in our human body! God does NOT look like us. God does not have a human body. (However, Christ did when He was on earth.) All things eternal are God. Gravity, electricity, pi, rules of physics and chemistry, etc. that never change, are God – He said “I AM”. Is that so hard to understand? Those “things” are not material things, they are spirit and are part of God’s omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience – everywhere at once, all powerful (creating the universe), and all knowing – far beyond anything we will ever learn or know about Him. Read the Gospel of John and know that The Word is God (Jesus) come to earth in human form for one purpose, to offer eternal life via salvation through accepting Christ as your advocate to cover ALL the sins of your life. Blessings to you and I hope you read this and humble yourself before the Holy Spirit, who is attempting to enter your life. Once that occurs you will not want to use your name for you will be a different person.

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