By Chaplain J. Osterhout, 174FW
/ Published March 15, 2008
Hancock Field Air National Guard Base -- Each Spring, as New Yorkers, we welcome the change of seasons as the winter weather gradually departs. At the same time, Christians experience the season of Lent as they are in preparation to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. In short, we remember the Lord Jesus' atoning sacrificial death on Good Friday, and God the Father's raising His only Son back to life on Easter Sunday.
While the original apostles experienced the earthly ministry of Christ firsthand and were immediate witnesses of His resurrection, we are blessed also as those who have believed without seeing, and we now have new life. In the biblical book of Romans, chapter six, the Apostle Paul writes, "...we died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection." (vss. 2b-5). So then, on Easter Sunday we not only celebrate the resurrection of Christ, but also our own resurrection into new life as believing Christians. In Romans 6:6, the Apostle Paul again describes the transformation Christians experience, and the purpose for this transformation, based on their individual decisions for salvation in Christ alone. "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with...."
When reading through this passage, the progression of action-packed verbs listed by the author has always grabbed my attention and reminds us there is a logical sequence to the Lord's plan of salvation. As Christians we have: "died to sin"; "[been] baptized into Christ Jesus and into His death"; "[been] raised"; and "been united." Also as Christians, our "old self was crucified" and finally we have "been freed."
In Romans 6:8-10 Paul states, "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." And so also, the new life a Christian lives, is now lived for the purpose and glory of God. As Christians we have already begun new life in Christ and will continue with everlasting life in the hereafter. The New Testament book of Acts refers to Christ as the "author of life." There are various biblical passages which remind us that God is both the Creator and Sustainer of all things. The Lord God is the source of all blessings and by His grace He has given us the gift of life. Each individual has the free will to make the decision to live for salvation in Christ--which is our Creator's intended design and purpose for us. With the gift of life also comes responsibility and accountability.
On a different level, regarding life, my wife and I announced the arrival of our second daughter, Breanna, on March 2, 2008. Our daughter Abigail, who will be two years old soon, has been very intrigued with her new little sister and is also being a very helpful big sister.
May God bless each of you and I wish you a good Easter with your families.