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What does Easter tell us about living between the Testaments?

04/02/2015

The Bible is made up of two main sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Between these two sections there are 66 books, and 1,100 chapters.

Interestingly the first two chapters and the last two chapters of the Bible speak of good, and of paradise. Everything in between is a story of brokenness and suffering.

Guess what?  You and I live in the middle.  That means we live in a time of brokenness and suffering.  The Bible tells us of a time where there will be paradise again, but it is a time in the future.  Life is hard.  We see and experience suffering.  We hurt.  We grieve.  And we make a choice about what we will believe about what happens after we die.  Will there be life after death?  What will it be like?

Some choose not to think about it at all.

Some live as if there is nothing beyond their earthly life. They live; they die. The end.

Some live as if there is something beyond this earthly life, but believing we cannot really know.

Some live as if there is something beyond this earthly life, and they hope they end up in a good place.

Some live as if there is something beyond this earthly life, and they have the assurance of being in a paradise of good and beauty, with God.

Which way do you live?  Can you look back on your life and see that you were in different places of thought at different times?

Easter is the proof that we can move from denial, uncertainty and fear to assurance and peace.

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life, John 3:16.”
God has given us His word to assure us that was what created as a good paradise, but became broken and full of suffering, will one day again be paradise full of joy, love, and peace. God also planned it so that we can be there eternally.
The Bible tells us a great deal about that paradise.  In fact Jesus revealed it to John, his disciple.  The revelation of it is found in the last book of the Bible.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed.  I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:

Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity,
and He will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will no longer exist;
grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,
because the previous things have passed away.

Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”  (Rev. 21:1-9)

This is the Christian’s hope.  Our hope is not the same as hoping for a possible outcome, like we will win the lottery or get an “A” on the next exam.  Ours is a hope which is better translated, “assurance.”  We live with the assurance that the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has provided for the forgiveness of our sins, thereby washing us clean and preparing us for eternity with God in paradise.  Easter is the proof of the promises of God.

Jesus rose from the dead!  He was seen by over 500 witnesses!

Jesus is alive forever, and offers us the promise of life with Him eternally.
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life, John 3:16.”

The first paradise, the Garden of Eden, was ruined when sin entered.  The eternal paradise must be an eternally sinless place, for if sin were to enter, we would have the same results as with the Garden of Eden.

We cannot live totally sinless lives no matter how good we try to be. Therefore God made a way for us to be washed clean of our sin.  He sent his Son to pay the penalty we deserve, so that our sins can be laid before a just God, and stamped “paid in full.”

As we live post the resurrection, and prior to Jesus’ return, we have the choice to live without hope, or to live with hope (assurance).  We have the choice to fear death, or the choice to die in peace, because we have the assurance of our hope – Jesus’ resurrection.  Easter is God’s gift to you and to me.  It is a time to celebrate new life, hope, and to worship our God.

Are you living without hope, without assurance?  Why not invite God into your life and allow Him to fill you with His blessed assurance?  Amazingly when you do invite God into your life, He not only provides the assurance of eternity in heaven, but He also provides immense amounts of joy, love, and peace in our earthly lives, despite the ongoing hardships we encounter.

And so I ask, once again, “How are you living?”  Why not make this holy season of new life the moment your new life in God begins?

Dear Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

You love each person who is reading this now.  Open their hearts to feel Your love.  Help them know that You want their lives to be lived to the fullest, and You long for them to turn to You.  Wipe away their tears.  Wash away their fears.  Show them the light of Your glory and let it warm them from the inside out, oh Holy One.  As they bask in the beauty of the moment, let them understand it does not just have to be one moment, but it can be a string of moments woven together into eternity.  Demonstrate, now, Holy God, the power of Your love for them so that they might know You want them to be with You forever in the glory that is Yours alone to share.

In the name of Jesus, and by the blood of his sacrifice, I ask for these to be saved eternally Father.
Amen
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