What if Jesus did not rise from the dead?
(The Greatest Love Story of All Time)
Some years ago, I met an intelligent young man who is an atheist, and we talked about life, meaning, and the Christian faith. As we talked, I confronted him with the question, “Why are you denying the existence of God? What are you denying or running away from?” He was of the opinion that religion is the problem of this world, and I could understand why from the environmental background he is coming from. I told him that religion is not the problem of the world; rather, sin is the main problem of this world and it manifests itself in so many ways. I told him that the reason he is denying the existence of God is not because that he thinks religion is the problem of the world, but simply because he doesn’t want to accept that he has a problem of sin. The easiest way to run away from that consciousness of the heart is to deny the existence of God. I asked him how he thinks the world would look if we all denied the existence of God like he does. This intelligent young chap, after arguing with all his reasons why he does not believe in God, said at the end of our discussion to me, “Solomon, I don’t want people to be atheist like me.” I asked why and he said, “This is because the world would be like a terrible place to live in if people don’t believe in God; I don’t want people to be like me”.
His answer to my question is what gave birth to the burden behind this article that explores what the world would be if Jesus hadn’t risen from death. Even an atheist had come to accept that the world would look so terrible without people believing in God! How would the world have looked like without the resurrection story, even with the brokenness we see today? Would you have ever known what forgiveness is if you had never been forgiven? The world would have been filled with people seeking for vengeance in many ways because they have not experienced forgiveness. How could you have known about justice, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love? Hmm! This world would have been fulfilled by ‘a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye’ seekers of justice. How would you deal with the issue of sin with it shames and guilt? How hopeless this life would have been to us, knowing that we cannot talk about hope because there is no hope to talk about. How could we have ever found meaning in life, especially when even the laws and prophets could not save us from the power, penalty, pollution, and partition of sin?
A hymn writer said, “Not the labour of my hands can fulfill Thy law’s demand; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.” Even the prophets were sinners that needed a saviour. This is because they have to make sacrifice for their own sins before making for others. Yet, they do it year after year without it cleansing their sin with its guilt. Someone once said,
‘If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Saviour.’
We have the best of the best in terms of scientific researchers and psychologists, but they have not been able to provide solutions for the issue of sin and its guilt. This is because sin damaged the heart that can even think of solution. Sin did not just damage the eyes so that we cannot see again. No! Sin went straight and damaged the heart, the fountain-source of life. Jeremiah 17:9-10 say,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
So, even scientists and psychologists don’t know or understand their own hearts’ talk, much less the solution to sin. It was sin that brought death and separation from God. It was the sin of “who becomes God” that made Satan to loss his place in Heaven. It was this sin of who becomes God that led to why Adam and Eve lost their place in the Garden of Eden. “You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God… (Genesis 3:4-5, AMP)” It has always been the struggle of who becomes God in our lives, whether God becomes the God of our lives or we become the god of our lives. The struggle of letting God be God has been our biggest problem.
Even religious leaders who think that they can solve the problem of sin by doing good works still know that no amount of good works can ever cleans us from our sins and it guilt. This is because we are not saved by good works but we are saved by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul, understanding this, cried out in Romans 7:21-25,
“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…”
This was Paul, the former Pharisee known as Saul, who studied at the feet of the best religious scholar of his time named Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law and strict rules that was handed down to them by their ancestors. It was the same Paul who discovered that the law and good works cannot save him but the grace of Jesus Christ (God’s unmerited favour). Paul said in Philippians 3:9,
“…I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.”
We are not saved by doing good works. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus to do good works (For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV). The truth is that we were spiritually dead and separated from God. We were enemies of God, objects of His wrath, dead in our sins and rebellion. We were not even able to see our need for salvation. Even if we sensed our need for a salvation, we couldn’t initiate, produce or even manufacture our salvation. It was only God who was able to open our eyes and set us free from the bondage of sin.
Thank God that Jesus Christ has provided the solution for sins and it guilt. I can join the hymn writer to sing,
“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; what can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! Precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow; no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.” And ‘I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small; child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all.” Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
The thought of this song reminds me of a brother from Haiti called Vinel. He loves this song so much that he sings it with great passion, enthusiasm, hope, and assurance. When you hear him sing this song, you could sense that it is coming from a heart that understands the price that was paid for him. Vinel was actually an intelligent atheist before he experienced the saving power of Jesus Christ. Vinel understands the efficacy of the power of the blood of Jesus Christ over sin, shame, and guilt, because he has experienced the saving power of Jesus Christ first-hand.
Now, I can tell my salvation story of the saving power of Jesus Christ in my life and can boldly sing,
“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed. My chains are gone. I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me, And like a flood His mercy reigns, Unending love, amazing grace ” And “How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That He should give His only Son. To make a wretch His treasure. How great the pain of searing loss- The Father turns His face away, As wounds which mar the Chosen One, Bring many sons to glory.”
Wow! Thank God for Jesus Christ. Just like in the words of David Platt, the just and loving Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent His Son, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the Resurrection so that all who trust in Him will be reconciled to God forever.
Thank God for His grace in Christ Jesus that saves and teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions. Friends, if you have not experienced the saving power of Jesus Christ, you are missing a lot. Why not come humbly to Him for help. Are you not tied of denying Him and struggling with dealing with your load of sins, shames and it guilt to no avail? Come to Him and He will save you and give you rest.
- Resurrection image retrieved from https://peterpilt.org/2013/03/26/14-powerful-accomplishments-of-the-resurrection-of-christ/ and https://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2017/04/13/controversy-surrounding-easter-and-resurrection-of-jesus-christ/.
- Our Greatest Need quote from Unfinished Business, Charles Sell, Multnomah, 1989, pp. 121ff. Retrieved from https://bible.org/illustration/our-greatest-need.
Written By: Solomon Chukwuemeka Ugbaja
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The Ultimate Love
The Ultimate Love
As a child, Christmas was a time of getting new things such as clothes, shoes, gifts, money, food and drinks. A time to show people that I have arrived and not in the same level with them anymore. It was all about me, me, me, me, to them. To me, that was the reason for the season. It is so unfortunate that so many of us grew up with the same mentality. We still see the Christmas season as a time to only get things from others. A time to show people how wealthy and cute we are. To some, it is a time to mingle and tangle with the opposite sex to prove how updated and upgraded, we are. To many, it is a time to show love to their beloved ones and friends. It is a time for a reunion with both families and old friends. To so many of us, Christmas is a time to share with our loved one period. It is a time to give gifts to our beloved family members and friends. But is that really, the main essence of Christmas? Inasmuch as Christmas is commercialized and politicized, we must not to just flow with the wind of the day by forgetting the essence of Christmas.
It is very easy to love those who love us. Even non-Christians do that. It is natural to love those that love you. This is called conditional love. You will agree with me that it is not natural and easy to love those that hate you. This kind of love is what we call unconditional love. No condition attached to the reason for loving someone. This is exactly what God did for us.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NKJV)
“ Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready… We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him.” (Romans 5:6-8, The Message)
You will agree with me that when a sentence starts with the word ‘BUT’, it shows something negative has happened in the past. While we were still sinners, haters of God and His Word, He gave the most precious gift to us. While we were still fighting against Him and rebelling against His authority over our lives, He put His love on the line for us by giving us His only begotten Son to die for us. While we were of no use whatever to Him, He came to help our helplessness. While we needed help and arrogantly told Him that we don’t need Him and that we can help ourselves, He came to help us in the person of Jesus, Immanuel-God with us. While we offended Him and rebelled against Him, He didn’t wait for us to even get ready to ask for forgiveness of our sins, He came at the right time to save us, even when we were of no use whatever to Him. He took the first step of reconciliation even when we were not ready for reconciliation. Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of God’s love to us. This is the core message of the season. This is the season to love those that least deserve our love according to us. They are really the right people to love if we want to practice unconditional love.
For those of you, who have not accepted the ultimate love of God-Jesus Christ, it is time to surrender to Him as your Lord and Savior. It is time to accept this everlasting love of God. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Why must you perish in your sins while there is such a great love waiting for you? Why must you wait until it is too late? Arise now and come home to the waiting hands of the Father of Love. Come and experience His love. This is the call for the season and this is the message of the season.
Written By: Solomon Chukwuemeka Ugbaja
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