I recently started reading a new blog by MckMama. The story of her son Stellan is amazing, and I encourage you all to read it and pray for him (and them!). She posted this earlier today, and I was struck by what she wrote and how she wrote it. I already knew this, as may many of you probably do too, but it helped me see it in an entirely new way.
We all sin.
There is no one who does not suffer from Adam's curse, nor a human who has not done wrong, not a soul who can claim no membership in the depravity of man club. We all have fallen short; we all enter this world, at birth, with a sin nature. And as for me? I rank right up there on the list of all the world's imperfect people.
In fact, Romans 3:23 reminds us that we all do, when Paul wrote, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
For that very reason, I love this stanza from Horatio Spafford's well-known hymn, It Is Well With My Soul:
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
Our sins, all of our wrongdoings, icky thoughts, and impure motives can be nailed to the cross. We needn't bear them any longer, nor suffer under any guilt because of them.
That is the truth about Easter!
The truth is, Jesus died for everyone. His blood was spilled for me, for Stellan, for you.
And He did not stay dead. After three days, He rose again. To this day, He lives. And our sins can all be forgiven because of what He did on the cross!
If you're thinking of tuning the rest of this post out, because it sounds like I'm starting to get awful religious, let me have you consider this:
I am not religious at all!
No, I mean, seriously. I'm not. I do not follow a religion but rather a Person. I follow Jesus Christ. Grace has set me free. I am not bound by any traditions, ceremonies, rules or any religious formulae. I know for an absolute fact that I am going to Heaven, and let me tell you, it's not because of anything I have done in my life. And, by the same token, I wouldn't not get to Heaven because of anything I didn't do. I could never be a good enough person to earn my way into Heaven. Nor will I get into Heaven by just trying hard enough. Neither will I miss out on Heaven because I sin too much.
I have already mentioned that I am a sinner, right?
You see, the truth about Easter, and about Jesus, is that no one can earn or behave their way into Heaven. When I die, I will go to Heaven simply because I believed in Jesus and accepted the fact that He died for me, forgiving my sins, and letting me into Heaven because of what He did for me on the cross, not because of anything I did or did not do on earth.
I have written about this exact topic of truth on my blog before. I believe Easter is a good time to reiterate it, because this season represents the most pivotal point about Christianity, the one act upon which everything else hinges: that Jesus died for us. If we only but believe in Him, we can have life everlasting, beyond this earthly existence.
No. Strings. Attached. It's just truth, plain and simple.
Of course, in our enlightened day and age, is totally hip to be self-focused. To search for your own truth. To do what makes you happy. To simply find what floats your boat. To cling to what seems to ring true to you. To believe in whatever you want to believe in, with the thought that your belief makes whatever it is true for you. Oh, and to afford all others that same right, of course.
Have you noticed the errant, yet all-too-common, mentality in our politically correct, inclusive, tolerant society that what works for you, spiritually, might not work for me, and vice versa?
I have. And today on Easter Sunday, I want to say something very pointed.
Truth is truth.
Truth is not relative. There is no truth for you, and truth for me. Truth is absolute.
It is as absolute as the fact that our son Stellan is currently wearing striped leggings on his legs as he sleeps in his hospital bed. Whether you believe in something or not, does not have any bearing on whether or not it is really true! Either Stellan is wearing leggings, or he is not! There is no, "If you want to believe Stellan has stripey leggings on, that's great for you, but I don't believe it and that's okay for me."
Like it or not, it does not work that way.
There is an absolute truth about Stellan's legs. Either they are adorned with leggings right now, or they are not. Now, you may not know if he has leggings on or not, but that does not change the fact that there is an absolute truth. Either he's wearing them, or he's not. Truth is not relative. It does not hang in the balance. It hinges on nothing. That is what truth means!!! Either Stellan is sporting leggings, or he is not! There is no room for any middle ground.
And, either Jesus is real, and He died on the cross and rose again as the only way to Heaven--for everyone in the world--or He did not.
There are no other alternatives.
Personal truth has no place here. In fact, there is no such thing! Personal truth is an oxymoron. There are not many ways to Heaven. I happen to believe that Jesus offers the only path to life after we die. And you do not have to believe that! But simply because some people choose not to believe that, doesn't mean it's not true! The choice to not believe in something has no power in and of itself: disbelief in something can't make it not true!
You might believe, deep in your heart, that Stellan is not wearing leggings on his legs right now. But the fact of the matter is, Stellan is wearing leggings! You can believe all you want that he is not, but that won't change the truth!!
Therefore, by the same token...
You might believe, deep in your heart, that Jesus' death on the cross is not the only means of salvation beyond this earth. But the fact of the matter is, Jesus is the only way! You can believe all you want that He is not, but that won't change the truth!
The truth about Easter is absolute. And it can change your life. The truth about Jesus, and His forgiveness of my sin, continues to change my life every day. And, in the spirit of Easter, as you nibble on chocolate and watch your children hunt for eggs, I want to encourage you to seek real truth. And I don't mean to find a truth that works for you, but to instead seek the one real truth, and to make it work for you.
Because, if truth is really truth, there are no other options, are there?
There is a way to know for sure what will happen when you die and I believe it is through a relationship with Jesus Christ, who died and rose again on Easter to break us free from our sin, and nothing else.
The truth about Easter is nothing less than paramount in my life.