Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man
Written by Luis Palau
Tags: Death, Easter, Hope, Life, Power, Resurrection
We all keep hoping for peace. World War I was "the war to end all wars." Then we found ourselves in the midst of World War II-again sending out sons, husbands, and fathers who may not return.
The wars kept coming. Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Each one pouring out death and destruction to an extent the world hadn’t witnessed previously. If only military victory carried a lifetime guarantee of no more death, no more failure, no more fear. Or better yet, an eternal guarantee.
But only one man’s death carries that guarantee.
No human effort to build a better world can guarantee lasting peace in the Persian Gulf, or Somalia, or anywhere else for that matter. The freedom that costs the blood of our precious young men and women isn’t permanent. It lasts only until another aggressive power comes along, unjustly claiming supremacy over others. Then the bloodshed starts all over again.
Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man. Death is man’s legacy; life is God’s. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26).
Good Friday, when we remember the cruel death of Jesus Christ on the cross, is a day that man made because of sin. But Resurrection Sunday is God’s Day. He made it. Only the power of God could have raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Man’s deepest yearnings for life, power, and hope find fulfillment in the meaning of Easter.
Resurrection speaks of life. Jesus Christ is alive today! Here in the northern hemisphere, Resurrection Sunday comes in the spring. After a long, cold winter, nature comes alive. In the spring, one is prompted to think of resurrection. It’s a new beginning.
Death is our enemy. But life is ours in Jesus Christ. Death brings fear. The Resurrection gives peace. Thoughts about death often lead to depression. The reality of the Resurrection leads to hope. Death speaks of separation, but the Resurrection speaks of a life that is indestructible, in union forever with the risen Jesus Christ.
The Bible says, "When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins" (Colossians 2:13). We are alive to God because the risen life of Christ is our life. All of us who have Jesus Christ in our hearts know that He’s alive. That’s why we love to sing, "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart." The Lord affirmed, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That speaks of His life in us!
When Jesus came out of the grave, having finished the work on the cross, having shed His blood, having taken the punishment for our sins on His own body, He was able to give us life, because He was alive, risen from the dead.
Do you have this life? Have you experienced what it is to come alive in Jesus Christ? Have you experienced what the Bible calls a "new birth"?
To be born again means that Jesus Christ actually comes into your life. Instead of being dead to God, dead to the things of God, not understanding what God is like, you come alive. You become a new person who can understand the things of God.
The Resurrection speaks of life; not only the life of Christ, alive from the tomb, but also an abundant inner life for us, here and now, daily.
Jesus Christ also opened a way into heaven. We no longer have to fear death, because we are united with Christ. A Christian has been resurrected with Jesus Christ. Christ’s victory is our victory both now and in the future. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ destroyed him "who holds the power of death-that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).
Resurrection also speaks of power. Before the Lord was raised from the dead, the apostles were quite a miserable lot. What was wrong? What was it that they lacked? They lacked power!
Until the Lord Jesus was resurrected, was raised up into heaven and the Holy Spirit came down on the Day of Pentecost, the apostles were still afraid and in hiding.
But on the Day of Pentecost, Peter, who had earlier been afraid of the accusations of a servant girl, stood up in front of several thousand people and said, very boldly, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). What brought on this boldness?
Peter now was filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit! He had the risen life of Jesus Christ in him. The power that brought Christ out of the grave is for us now. God’s power is not something that we work up ourselves. It comes only from the indwelling Holy Spirit.
If you lack power in your life, power to overcome temptation, power to witness for Jesus Christ, then you need to allow God’s Spirit to fill you. You need to acknowledge His life in you and let Him live through you.
The life of Christ dwells in every one who by faith receives Him. Your life can be filled with the power of the living Lord Jesus Christ. "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, and love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7).
Hope? Yes, resurrection also speaks of a secure hope. My father’s body is buried in a little cemetery in Argentina. But my father has been with Jesus Christ all these 48 years since his physical death. One day his body is going to be resurrected, just as the body of Jesus was resurrected.
For those who know the Lord Jesus, that fact is very real. The Lord is coming back! The Bible says that one of these days, we shall be changed "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52). What a marvelous reality!
When my father died, we sang a hymn at his funeral:
Face to face, O blissful moment.
Face to face, to see and know.
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ who loved me so.
Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky.
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by.
This is the hope that the Resurrection gives you. We know we shall see the Lord Jesus face to face in all His glory. Do you have that hope? Do you have that assurance? Do you know for sure that you’ll see Him?
If the resurrected Christ does not live in your heart and you die today, what hope would you have? There is no "reincarnation," no "second chance." But if Christ lives in you, then there is the secure hope of eternal life with the Lord Jesus, forever. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish," He has said (John 10:28).
A minister’s son, 28 years old, married with two children, had cancer. Each of the several specialists who examined him said the cancer would take his life. I was the guest speaker at the minister’s church on the Sunday that his son died, early that morning. This pastor, who had suffered so much for two years seeing his son slowly dying, was at perfect peace. He described the last few hours he spent with him. His son had said, "Dad, tonight I’m going to be with Jesus."
"Aren’t you lucky to get there before me, David," his father said. "To think that tonight you will actually see Moses in person, and Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist!"
Then his father said, "But son, best of all, you’re going to see the Lord Jesus. And when you see Him, David, will you tell him that your father loves Him very much?"
The reason this man had such tremendous peace when I spoke with him a few hours after his son’s death was because his son was with the Lord Jesus. That’s what knowing Jesus Christ will do for you.
If the Lord Jesus returned today, would He welcome you into His presence? Have you opened your life to Jesus Christ?
You can receive the Lord Jesus by a simple prayer of faith. Believe in Him, invite Him into your heart, and become a child of God. Make sure that you will be part of that resurrection day when the Lord Jesus comes back for His own.
Make this prayer your own, quietly now, as you finish this article:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that because of Easter, You’ve made it possible for me to have a new beginning. Thank You for Your death on the cross, paying the penalty for my sins. Thank You for Your resurrection three days later. You’re alive and now You offer me new life, power and hope here and now and for all eternity. Please forgive my sins and make me part of Your family. I gladly receive You and put my trust in You. Amen.
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