As a Christian, I will occasionally use this space to reflect on my faith.
Today is Easter, the day that commemorates the single most important event in Christianity: Jesus’ resurrection. From Luke 24:1-12, 36-53:
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Upon Jesus’ resurrection the entire Christian faith rests. Without it, Christianity is worthless. Only through Christ’s death and resurrection can we be saved.
Apart from the resurrection there is no hope of salvation, no forgiveness for sins, and no hope for eternal life.
The resurrection violates everything we know about life and death. It is impossible, it is unscientific, and it is most unbelievable. Yet, I believe it.
The question is, do I believe it because I was raised to believe it or do I believe it because I actually believe it?
I used to know firmly. When I was young, I could not conceive of not believing it. I had a crisis of faith in university and my faith came through intact and stronger, although, it was a very close thing; there were a couple weeks when I almost discarded the faith I had built my life upon.
On an intellectual level I accepted that the resurrection occurred. I read the Case for Christ and other apologetic works for the resurrection and could well argue a debate about the historical validity of the resurrection.
But I know that I’m smart enough to intellectually justify almost anything to myself.
So, was I just justifying my prior beliefs to myself, or was I actually intellectually honest to myself? I believe the latter, but then again, I would believe that wouldn’t I?
Over the years, my faith has slowly been withering. I find myself questioning if I actually believe in God anymore. Unlike the first time, where my questioning was more a sudden onset of intellectual crisis, this has been more of a slow chipping away and wearing down of my faith.
I find myself struggling with sin which I can not beat and have given up even fighting. I find myself questioning the existence of the God I’ve pledged my devotion and loyalty to. I rarely read my Bible anymore. I still pray, but often barely believing God hears it. I don’t feel God in my life. I remember the promises of the Bible and do not see them manifesting in my life.
So, I’m trying again. I’ve started reading the Bible again on an almost daily basis, and am trying to pray more with more faith. I’ve started going to services in the evening which are more traditional and liturgical than the evangelical churches I’m used to, in addition to morning services. I plan to read more books on my faith.
If God is there, if the resurrection is real, may He renew my faith. If He is not, may I learn that and be strong enough to accept that.
Now, off to the evening Easter service. God bless.