Are you a good person?
I know a lot of people who are good people. They are genuinely kind, helpful, wonderful people. But even the best of us fail.
Easter is the most important day in the Christian faith.
It is not a day to celebrate spring. It is not a day about eggs, plastic or hard-boiled. And a bunny has nothing to do with the purpose of the celebration. (Though all of those things are fun!)
The food is also unimportant. Ham or green bean casserole, celebrating with family or friends, getting food from a restaurant or eating at home, none of that matters.
Here’s what matters: HOPE.
It started in the garden. Adam and Eve were given a choice. To follow God’s commandment or not to. Unfortunately Adam and Eve were deceived by the serpent and made the choice to go against God’s command. They chose to fall into temptation. The temptation of being perfect and all knowing, like God.
As time has continued on, man has continued to make the same choices in many different ways.
While the Israelites were in the desert (after being led by Moses out of Egypt) God gave His people a list of commandments. These commandments, along with all of the many other laws God had given them, were impossible to follow. And I believe that God did this on purpose, to show us our desperate need for a Savior.
Lets take a look at the commandments. (Exodus 20:2-17)
1.”You shall have no other gods before me.”
At first glance this might suggest that there are other gods. Throughout history there have been many different false gods that man has made and believed in. While God was referring to the gods that man creates (usually in a physical form), I believe that it also refers to anything that we put before God.
In our modern times we find that things like tv, computers, cars, money, and many other possessions can become gods in our lives. When they become more important to us than God, they are taking the place of God. Anything, even good things like family, friends, and church, can become gods when they are put first.
2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.”
There are many religions, and even Christian denominations, that have statues that hold a prominent place in worship. I’m not going to go into depth on this one. Just know that any statue or any image that is worshiped or valued above God is an idol. If you pray to it, bow to it, light candles to it, or hold it to any form of esteem above it simply being what it is, a man-made image of no power whatsoever, is breaking this command.
3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
This command was so important to the Jewish people that they wouldn’t even write the complete name of God. God’s name was to be revered, holy, and separate from any other name. Unfortunately, God has become such a common word in our vocabulary.
Vain is defined by freedictionary.com as: “Lacking substance or worth: vain talk” and “Archaic Foolish.” To take someone’s name in vain is to “use the name of someone, esp God, without due respect or reverence.”
In other words, any time that we are not being respectful to God and yet use His name, we are breaking this command.
4. “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
God took the seventh day of creation to rest and likewise, we also need a day to rest.
The next few do not need explanation.
5. “Honor your father and mother”
6. “You shall not murder.”
7. “You shall not commit adultery.”
Jesus expands this to include looking on someone with lust in Matthew 5:27-30.
8. “You shall not steal.”
9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
This one is often translated as “you shall not lie.” This does not just mean the big lies. This includes even the most simplistic of lies, or exaggerations. There is no “white lie” or “fib.” They are all under the same command.
10. You shall not covet… anything that is your neighbor’s.”
“Covet” means to “want.” This means that anytime you want something that belongs to someone else you are breaking a commandment.
EVERY PERSON, no matter how good, IS GUILTY OF SIN.
There is not a single person on this earth who has not committed at least one commandment. And if you think that you have kept them purely, then you simply need to glance through the laws in Leviticus. Not a single person who is alive or who has lived, with the exception of Jesus, has ever been able to keep every single command given to the Jewish people.
IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO EARN YOUR WAY INTO HEAVEN.
So what are we to do?
Here’s where our hope comes into play. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23-28:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
Despite the fact that we have ALL sinned (and there is no such thing as one sin being worse than another), we have hope that God has forgiven us through the blood of Jesus.
We have freedom! We do not have to live in bondage of our sins or worry about being perfect!
And that is why I celebrate Easter. I have found joy in the Lord!
If you have not found Jesus, or have more questions please feel free to leave me a comment. I would love to help you find the joy of God that I have found.
(NOTE: It is not an easy road to take. And there are a lot of people out there who have claimed to be Christians but have spouted hatred. If you have been hurt by any of them, I apologize on their behalf. Remember that all humans are sinners. Even as Christians, we are still sinners. Christ has offered us an opportunity to take a higher road, and it is through our love of God that we make the choice to love people in the world around us. Unfortunately, there are some people who have missed this important element of following Christ and spew hatred in the name of our Lord.)