A few weeks ago, millions of Americans celebrated Easter, the holiday that recognizes the Christian belief in Jesus Christ’s resurrection, through egg hunts, egg colorings and chocolate. While the connection between the Easter Bunny and the son of God does not make sense to me whatsoever, the 2010 poll conducted by Barna Group (a leading research organization focused on faith and culture) showing that only 42 percent of Americans know what the holiday is about worries me.
Back in 1990, 86 percent of all Americans considered themselves Christians. A recent Gallop poll released in December2011 has seen that number drop to 78 percent. But of these 78 percent of those who declare themselves as Christians, how many of them have sincerely found the faith?
A common misconception is that Christianity is a moral compass or some organization that is supposed to inspire clean living. Christianity is never about being perfect, but having a relationship with a God who is. Unfortunately many of those who claim to be Christians do not know what their faith means. This is why I (along with many evangelicals) preach.
According to the Bible, before Jesus departed to heaven before his disciples, he entrusted his believers with the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:18-20 says, “All Authority in heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Evangelizing is not a command that believers keep “in their hearts.” This is something that Christ expects all who believe in him to carry out. Christians do not do this out of obligation. Because they have experienced the grace of God, they can’t keep it to themselves. They want to share so that others may have that opportunity to experience that same joy itself.
Jesus Christ is important. Not just symbolically or figuratively, but we believe he is the very crucial reason why we are able to live life. Without Christ, we are going to hell. Yup I said it.
Romans 3:23 states that “Man has sinned and fell short of the glory of God.” Before God, everyone is guilty of sin. Sin not only constitutes breaking the Ten Commandments, but it also means showing hatred or indifference towards God.
Now I don’t doubt that the world is full of moral people as there are evil, but in measure to God’s holy and perfect standard, we are all stained like filthy rags. God is a perfect judge. It doesn’t matter how many good works you do, you still need to pay for the sins you’ve committed. If someone murdered your friend and pleaded before the judge that he should be let go because of all the good and charitable things he did in his life, would a good judge let him go? A perfect judge exacts justice on the criminal.
But there is hope. Roughly 2000 years ago God sent his son Jesus Christ, who lived his life on Earth sinless, to take the punishment from God on behalf of mankind. John 3:16 states that “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Now the focus on Easter is on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According the Bible, three days after his execution he was raised from the dead. The resurrection is necessary to believe in because it validates that Jesus is the son of God. If he didn’t come back from the dead, the prior events would not have mattered and Jesus’ death would have been a passing political execution carried by the Roman government. Multiple times Jesus himself alluded that he will be raised on the third day before his crucifixion. By fulfilling the prophecies Jesus proved he is the son of God since death could not stop him. This is how God completed his ultimate plan of salvation.
Eternal life is attained not through good works, but through believing that Christ’s sacrifice is enough to cover up your iniquities. Acts 3:19 states “repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins be blotted out.” Repentance is the act of confessing before God your sins, turning away from the deceitful promises of sin, and calling upon Christ to save you from guilt and punishment.
This is the Christian message. This is the reason behind Easter Sunday. Our concern extends to those 78 percent who claim to be Christian along with those who abandoned the faith. We take this message to heart to everyone, regardless of background, in hopes that they will know a God who truly loves them with common grace. This is why we preach.
Young Kim is a fourth-year literary journalism major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.