We live in a sin-sick world. Every day, every now and then we are to hear news of ghastly and ghostly activities that are committed all over the world by people against people. All sins are against God because God is the Creator and Sovereign owner of all people irrespective of creed, colour, cast or any other distinction that may divide people from people. Certainly there has always been something inherently gone wrong with mankind. The Holy Bible teaches us that this is due to an old problem ever since the fall of Adam into sin. In man dwells a sin-nature. This he inherits from Adam. In Adam all mankind has sinned and as such possesses the old sin-nature. That’s why people commit sins. We commit sins in our thoughts, in words and also in our deeds. Nobody is immune from the influence of that original sin. The guilt of the sin of Adam and Eve is imputed in the very selves of all their descendants without any exception. Their sin is in a certain sense the sin of all.
We sin because we are sinners, not that we are sinners because we sin. This follows from the doctrine of Original sin. Due to Adam’s sin we have inherited a corrupt condition of sinfulness. We are under sin, as it is taught in the New Testament. Man has an inherent concupiscence and the propensity or inclination to sin. This is something which is imputed to every human being by virtue of the fact of our descent from Adam. Adam is the federal head or representative of all humanity. We are morally responsible for what Adam did in his disobedience to God’s command not to eat that particular fruit in the Garden of Eden.God worked for five days before he made Adam. He had created and given man all freedom to eat every food, enjoy all of his creation. He asked him just not to eat the fruit of one tree, ‘the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.’ Alas, he listened to Devil and disobeyed his Maker and as such ate the forbidden fruit. This Biblical story teaches a great deal about man and his eventual fallen nature. Because of Adam’s fall all mankind have lost our direct relationship with God. We are alienated from his, from our fellow-beings, from nature and as such we have got alienated from our true inner selves. Our intellect, our will and emotion—all are adversely affected or tarnished.
No human effort or any good work can earn him salvation from the bondage of sin. Only God-man Jesus Christ, who is without any shadow of sin or any blemish, can take his sin. There are many theological, scriptural and archaeological evidences in support of the belief that Christ rose from the dead. Two well-known non-Christian historians: the Jewish historian named Flavius Josephus, and the Roman Tacitus wrote about the rather exceptional life of historical Jesus in their historical writings about two millennia ago. Apostle Paul, the greatest commentator on Christianity mentioned about the fact of Jesus’ appearance to as many as more than five hundred people including his first disciples (Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians). The extraordinary persecutions suffered by the disciples and followers of Christ at the hands of the Jews and the Roman government especially during the first two centuries in the Christian era amply speak for the veracity of their conviction in the life, death and the glorious resurrection of Christ. List of the testimonies to the resurrection could be multiplied. Out of the three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament about Christ two hundred relates to his sacrifice for the salvation of man’s sin. One such prophecies is to be found in the words: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement for our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). The purpose and mission of Christ’s incarnation, in his own Words as recorded by Saint Mark, was: “For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the core and central belief that makes Christianity what it is. Resurrection is the testimony to the fact that Christ conquered death and he has authority to forgive sin. In the resurrection God has vindicated his Son, Jesus, who suffered innocently unjust sufferings and died on a cross in the hands of unjust and sinful people. Sinless Jesus paid the ransom-price for the atonement for sin of man for salvation in and through his vicarious death. The wrath of Holy God for human sinfulness was propitiated and satisfied on the cross of Christ. Christ made the atonement for sin. And it was only he who could do this because of what Christ is.
St. Paul tells of this in this manner in his epistles in the New Testament: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned. . .” (Romans 5:12-21); and “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). Loving God wanted to reconcile man to himself. So he sent his Son to die as the only perfect, effective and acceptable sacrifice for sin. And his glorious resurrection is its sequel.
Along with the joy of the resurrection of Christ we have also a definite call and challenge. Resurrection implies for us a new kind of life and attitude to life and to the world. This is the call to have faith in God and his love for all mankind. To be authentic in our faith in God, in our love for his Creation we all need to repent for our sins: for our greed, pride, lust and selfish and filthy desires. Repentance has to be in an inner change of mind and attitude producing outward result. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” questioned Jeremiah one great Old Testament prophet. On one occasion Jesus told his hearers, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). The human heart is so corrupted just because of our peculiar inheritance as members of the human family. However, there is the sure hope for us. There is the divine remedy and repair for it. We need to come back to our Maker in humility and genuine repentance turning our back to evil, to our old sin-nature. The ancient adage invites us: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”; and again: “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.” (Proverbs 4:23; 23:26). While still living in this world we need to experience a resurrection of our hearts in the power of the God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit. This is how our hearts, desires, wills, designs and emotions can become good for the wellbeing of other people for eventual glory to God.
The writer is a Christian Theology teacher and a church leader