Easter: Not just another holiday

EMELDA Musonda.

IN ZAMBIA, probably out of every five people you meet, four will claim to be Christians if not all the five.
It is estimated that 90 percent of the population is Christian.
While almost everyone is Christian today, not so many are Christ-like.
Christians going by their name derived from Christ, are supposed to be a reflection of Jesus Christ Himself.
This Easter period should therefore be an opportunity for Christians to reflect on the quality of their Christian walk with God as they remember the price God paid for them.
Easter is a reminder that When Jesus died on the cross, He didn’t take the place of Christians but sinners. He came to save man from the condemnation of death as punishment for sin (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
Worth noting is that Jesus did not only come to save man from punishment but from slavery to the life and nature of sin.
It is saddening that today we have so many Christians whose lives are still enslaved by sin.
One becomes a Christian by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. Romans 10:9-10.
But many people think they become Christians by merely being church members or goers. This is similar to saying one can become a car by simply being in the garage.
This is why we have so many people who attend church regularly but their lives remain unchanged.
These are Christians who are casual about their lifestyles and justify things or behaviours which are in conflict with Biblical values such as alcoholism.
The Bible is the manual given to guide Christians on how to live but we have so many Christians who do not read the Bible.
God in Joshua 1:8 tells believers to keep the book of the law on their lips and to meditate on it day and night so that they may be sure to do what it says.
Psalms 119:11 also says your word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against.
How can one do what the Bible says if they do not even know what it says.
Many people profess to be followers of Jesus Christ and yet they have no personal relationship with Him. As such they do not know much about Him and their lifestyles are not in any slightest way in semblance with His image.
This is why we have Christians who are very committed to church activities and yet their personal characters are far from being Christ-like.
These are people who serve in various ministries in the sanctuary. You find them in ushering, praise team, hospitality, and in senior leadership positions of churches but their characters are devoid of Christ.
These are Christians who fail to demonstrate the basics of Christianity such as love, obedience, forgiveness, truthfulness and so forth.
While Jesus Christ has commanded all His followers to distinguish themselves through love, there are people who claim to be Christians and yet their lives are anchored on hatred.
These are people who instead of drawing people to God they repel them.
Today we have so many believers in the church living in unforgiveness despite Jesus Christ’s command to forgive one another as He has forgiven us.
This is not an option but an obligation for every Christian worth the calling.
Still in the church we have Christians engaging in adultery, fornication, abortion, alcohol and drug abuse, theft and other filthy acts. Theirs is a double standard life.
For such, you even have people betting over their destinies, that if they make it to heaven, then everyone else will.
Of course there are also genuine and good Christians whose lives are a true reflection of Jesus Christ and many affirm to their faith. These are Christians who are truly impacting the world with the true and undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately these are not so many.
However, celebrating Easter this year should not just be yet another annual tradition where people attend church to sing their favourite songs and listen to a sermon and then back to business as usual.
Let this Easter be a time to reflect at individual, church and national levels if we have lived upto the values of Christianity that we claim to abide by.
Let it be a time to remind ourselves of the price Jesus Christ paid for our salvation.
It is recorded in the New Testament books, known as the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John how the King of Kings laid down his life to be crucified for the redemption of mankind.
Through His death Jesus Christ paid the full price for mankind’s liberation from the bondage of sin and subsequent punishment.
Easter should therefore be a time for those lost in sin to turn to God and find mercy.
It is also time for the beneficiaries of God’s grace to renew their commitment to sharing the good news so that many others may also benefit.
For the Church, let Easter be a time to refocus on preaching the true gospel that leads to repentance and salvation as opposed to only preaching messages of prosperity.
As a Christian nation let this Easter be a time to reflect on whether we are living according to our declaration.
It should also be a time to interrogate ourselves if we are doing enough to inculcate Christian values in our younger generations.
Today we are experiencing unprecedented moral decay in our society.
The Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs will do well to use this Easter to reflect on some of the things the Western world is imposing on us like legalising abortion, distributing contraceptives to young people and so-called comprehensive sex education for minors in primary school. Are they adding to our Christian values or subtracting?
In conclusion Easter is not just another holiday, it is a reminder that the door to heaven is open for all mankind and those willing are free to enter and escape hell.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.

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