Two thousand years ago Christ was put to death on a cross and then miraculously rose from the dead 3 days later. Since that time, Christianity has flourished. Today 2.1 billion people consider themselves Christians. Taken as a whole, Christianity is now the largest religion in the world – yet only a remnant remains faithful to the Word. This “great apostasy was predicted in revelations.
So what is the secret to remaining a faithful Christian when even Oprah is turning to new-age spirituality?
A good start is to reflect on Holy week and why the events of this week changed the history of the world. Jesus was raised from the dead as proof of his supreme being, or have we forgotten this?
Easter is a good time to search our souls, to thank Jesus for dying for us, and to contemplate what Christ the King, who will be our judge, says we must do if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven.
According to Paul the apostle, the first thing we must recognize that this fallen world is not all there is.
Our time on earth is our exile. It is our test to see if we really want to be with God for eternity. God could force us to love him by showing us his glory, but he shows the ultimate respect for us by giving us free will to choose him or not.
We cannot overcome our sins without Jesus’ help – but we must ask for it, over and over. And even then, we will fall – even the saints did. The only difference between the saints and us is that they had the humility to know they were sinners. It’s interesting to note that without exception, all the saints saw themselves completely inadequate before God.
They knew that if they tried to overcome sin on their own they would fail. Consider this, Pope John Paul II went to confession every day.
According to scriptures and as witnessed by the saints, the road to holiness is the joyful one – even though it is harder.
Sin is not freedom, as many people believe; instead, sin eventually chains and imprisons a man, driving him to a life of sorrow and despair. Just look at the headlines.
If our prayers are sincere, Jesus promises he will give us the graces necessary to overcome the sins that hold us captive – all we need do is ask.
The Resurrection of Christ is the hope for all Christians that we too will be resurrected and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven — the ultimate end and fulfillment of our deepest longings.
Heaven is the state of supreme definite happiness, and Jesus’ death and resurrection opens the door for us creatures.
So how do we get there … or not?
Jesus said, “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:9
What does this mean? According to theologian Dr. Brandt Pitre, God is saying, “If you are ashamed of me I will be ashamed of you.”
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21)
God has given each of us the innate knowledge of what is right and wrong, it’s called a conscience. Unfortunately, the more we sin, the more our conscience gets buried in the darkness to where we may not be able to here it without God’s help-that’s why prayers are so important.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the flesh and those who live according to the spirit set their minds on the spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death but to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace.” (Romans Ch. 8)
“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:26-29)
“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light.” (Luke 12:2)
Editor’s note: some of the information for this article was taken from Dr. Brandt Pitre’s most recent bible study “Jesus and the End Times” for more information on Dr. Pitre and the bible studies he has available on cd, visit his website: www.brandtpitre.com