Today, Churches adhering to the Gregorian calendar celebrate
Resurrection Day (Easter). For Orthodox Christians, who use the Julian
calendar, April 27th will be Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday) this
Regardless of when this event is celebrated, it marks the completion,
or culmination, of Jesus’ purpose for His appearance in this fallen
world: to offer salvation – spiritual rebirth – to anyone who chooses to
believe in Him.
As I’ve mentioned before, this salvation is not the “cheap grace”
that is so popular with many “believers.” What is the difference? True
salvation is manifested by repentance which results in positive change
in the believer’s life. Remember how Jesus would heal a person and then
say “go and sin no more”? Change is the key.
There are many who claim to be “born again” because they said the
sinner’s prayer at some time; but their actions make you wonder. For
example, I will never forget one such family that was very active in
Christian endeavors – and how they would leave their dog tied outside
with no water or food. Such lack of empathy is far from Christ-like; it
has more in common with sociopathic behavior. One would expect those who
are truly born again to experience an increase in empathy and compassion
for all of God’s creation, including, but not limited to, the farmed
animals whose suffering is enormous.
God has been trying to bring about positive change in humans, to whom
He granted free will, since the fall. The following passage from the
Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is an example of God’s desire to rescue
humans from their destructive behavior. However, it’s obvious that it
continues to be a long, hard struggle.
Ezekiel 36:26 (New American Standard Bible)
26 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit
within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and
give you a heart of flesh."
Other relevant Bible verses follow:
John 3:3 (New King James Version)
3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you,
unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Matthew 7:20 (New American Standard Bible)
20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits."
Matthew 7:21 (New American Standard Bible)
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the
kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in
John 14:12 (New American Standard Bible)
12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works
that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;
because I go to the Father."