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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

EASTER BUNNIES AND LIVING THE CRUCIFIED LIFE

Who can help but love a little bunny?  One spring, we found a very tiny bunny in our garage.  I think he'd lost his mommy and was scared.  He allowed us to hold him.  We put him in a cage to protect him and named him 'Petey' after Peter Rabbit. We offered food, spoke lovingly to him and soon he trusted us.  After a few days, we put him on the patio, opened the cage door, and he was gone to join the other spring rabbits. 

A few weeks later, I looked out the kitchen window and our whole yard was filled with rabbits!  Little rascals were munching on everything.  "Oh no" I said, "Petey has invited all of his family into our yard!"  We'd learned first hand why the bunny was chosen as the symbol of spring, fertility and new life. 

Long before rabbits came to be associated with Easter, they were used in pagan spring rituals. The first century converts to Christianity continued to celebrate these rituals which were merged with the message of the gospel.  The resurrection of Jesus represents re-birth and new life. 

We all love the softly colored eggs we pile in a basket, or hide for children to find.  In Germany, by the 1500's, children prepared a nest in a hat for the Easter Bunny to come to the 'good children' and lay eggs. Bunnies lay eggs?  I don't think so, but this tradition became a part of sharing the gospel - Jesus Christ lived, died on a cross, was buried and on the third day and was resurrected to new life to show  those who believe in Him, that they too will be raised to new life.  Death, just like life, is not permanent for those who have the faith to believe. 

In order for there to be new life, death must first occur.  A blossom, or a piece of fruit, dies and seeds fall to the ground and in time, new life will come.  I planted a raspberry bush several years ago.  Each winter it dies away, no evidence of it ever having existed.  Then, come spring, new life comes, eventually fruit will appear.  What appeared to be dead, is now alive!

Over 2,000 years ago, God became man and walked the earth. . .John 1:14.  Secular historians of the day wrote of Him.  One of them was Publius Lentulus, a resident of Judea during the reign of Tiberium Caesar.  This is what he wrote in 32 A.D.

"There lives at this time in Judea a man of singular virtues  whose name is Jesus Christ.  He is a tall man, well shaped.  His forehead high, large and imposing; his cheeks without spot or wrinkle, his nose and mouth formed with exquisite symmetry; his beard of a color suitable to his hair.  In proportion of body, most perfect."

Jesus, fully human, fully Divine, walked up a hill to His death on a cross.  Three days later, He walked away from the tomb where He was buried, alive and triumphant!  We, who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have also been raised in triumph. 

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Galatians 2:20

The Bible calls this process being 'born again'.  You can read about it in John 3.  The believer goes from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive - a new birth.  Because we are now 'in Christ', we are a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come - II Corinthians 5:17.  We were once under the Old Testament Law (Ten Commandments), but Christ fulfilled the law and now we are not under the law, but under grace, the New Testament Covenant.  By faith we believe Jesus paid the penalty for our sin and now we have free access to God the Father and will live eternally with Him. Our sin was crucified on the cross with Jesus, it's gone! 

This is the problem - even though we are born into new life, we see sin in our body.  Try as we may, we'll never get rid of it completely - not here on earth.  Sanctification (working out the Christian life) is a process.  This verse in Hebrews 10:14 is awesome. . .

". . .because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy".

God sees us as 'perfect' as we are being conformed to His image - a process that God is in charge of.  You might want to read Romans 8:29 - 30 which so clearly describes a finished work.  And what did Jesus say as He was dying on the cross?  "It is finished."

Given that this is true, believe it!  Start living the crucified life.  See yourself as God sees you, and get the outside (our flesh) to match the inside which is holy.  Something to think about - if we could accomplish this perfection on our own, Jesus didn't need to die in our place. . .Galatians 2:21. 

Life is tough, heartbreak and trouble are ever present, but you never need to feel like a failure. Our Lord Jesus is with you every single step of the way, He is the Way, and He'll never let you fail to reach the ultimate goal, life eternal. 

How can I walk in newness of life?  Just ask for the faith to believe. John 3:16, 'whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life'.  The Easter bunny only put eggs in the baskets of the 'good' children - notice, 'being good' is not a pre-qualifier to entering into a personal relationship with Christ and knowing that you'll spend eternity in heaven.  Ask our living Lord to come into your life - He never says 'NO'.

Lord, we thank you for this spring season as a reminder that we were once dead in sin but will rise up to new life because you died for us on the cross.  All of our sin is gone, we are white as snow!  Thank you for your Holy Spirit that empowers us to live the Christian life.

**I haven't mentioned my book lately. . ."Blogging God's Word: Seeing Ourselves Through God's Eyes", available on Amazon, also an E Book, available at some libraries.