For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Remembering What's Really Important

For the want of a cough drop the musher's throat went hoarse
For the want of direction the huskies went off course
Then the sled got snowbound it took some time to free'em
Now they're on display inside the British Museum

It’s All Who You Know from the Newsboys release Take Me To Your Leader

I know I shouldn’t be getting a lot of my theology from Newsboys songs (as good as they may be). And I’m not sure this is even the main point of the song. But it reminds me that when we neglect the seemingly little things, much larger harm can result.

I’ve been thinking of that as we approach Easter, because it seems that in the overall holiday scheme, Easter has lost out in emphasis to Christmas. Christmas by far gets the most attention, doesn’t it? Stores start selling decorations and having their Christmas sales two months in advance. Even in the church, we put a lot of effort into decorations and Christmas gatherings and Christmas caroling and so on. We spend a great deal of time and effort in preparing for and celebrating the birth of our Lord.

Compare that with our efforts and planning and so on for the celebration of Easter. And the reality is, that were it not for the events we celebrate at Easter, Christmas would have little meaning. The reason for Christ’s coming in the first place was to eventually offer His life as an atoning sacrifice in our place. This is what it’s all about.

And sadly, because of our near neglect of an emphasis on Easter in favor of the more popular celebration of Christmas, we’ve all but lost a true understanding of that atonement. Our faith has become all about the warm fuzzies of Christmas, and we’ve overlooked the stark reality of the sacrifice and resurrection of Easter which is truly the center of our salvation.

Once cannot overemphasize the importance of this Easter event. Here are just a few quotes from men far smarter than me about the centrality of the resurrection to our faith.

The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions. Through the resurrection, Christ demonstrated that He does not stand in a line of peers with Abraham, Buddha, or Confucius. He is utterly unique. He has the power not only to lay down His life, but to take it up again.
Hank Hanegraaff, Resurrection

The truth of the resurrection gives life to every other area of gospel truth. The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns and without which none of the other truths would much matter. Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy and religious speculation.
John MacArthur, 1 Corinthians

This is the truth which is still to be taught, refine it who may, spiritualize it who dare. This is the historical fact which the apostles witnessed; this is the truth for which the confessors bled and died. This is the doctrine which is the key-stone of the arch of Christianity, and they that hold it not have cast aside the essential truth of God.
Charles H. Spurgeon The Resurrection Of Our Lord Jesus, Delivered April 9th, 1882

For regeneration is owing to the resurrection of Christ from the dead…but if Christ is not risen, there never was, is, or will be any such thing as regeneration and sanctification; …Moreover, if Christ is not risen, his people are under the guilt of their sins; there is no expiation nor remission of them, nor justification from them; for though he was delivered as a sacrifice to atone for their offences, and his blood was shed to obtain the forgiveness of their sins, yet he must be raised again for their justification, and be exalted as a Prince and a Saviour, as to give repentance, so remission of sins, or they will never enjoy these blessings; for notwithstanding his sufferings and death, if he lies under the power of the grave, they must remain under the power and guilt of sin, and be liable to everlasting punishment for it.
John Gill’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 15

And of course, the most important “quote” of all, from the Apostle Paul’s pen in the letter Gill was referring to:

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, ESV

Here’s hoping that you and your family are putting at least as much emphasis into the preparation and celebration of the Easter event as you did at Christmas. After all, this is what’s really important. And if we neglect this…

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