It’s Easter once again, culminating the Lenten observation in Christian communities around the world. In PH, because there is FREEDOM of religion, this, and the other important days of
other major faiths are accorded appropriate holidays.
This freedom guaranteed Filipinos to believe in any faith, including the choice not to believe in religion. In fact, there are groups of free thinkers amongst us who believed in “freedom from religion” because religion is a major cause of prejudice, discrimination, and to some extent violence.
There is a difference, though, between the two freedoms, the first freedom (of religion)– people have the liberty to believe and express a faith of their choice. In the process, they may convince others to join their belief or “nonbelief”. In the other freedom (from religion), if my understanding is correct, you are allowed to choose your faith but you cannot express this publicly, lest you offend those with dissenting belief.
In my opinion, the basic premise of our democratic society is free speech– the ability to express and reason out our belief or non-belief, likewise, giving opportunity for the listeners to exercise his freedom to rebut and choose whether to believe or not.
Now allow me to discuss another freedom that is relevant to Christians. Today, believers all over the world celebrate the resurrection of the Christ. Setting aside the commercialization of the event, what’s in it to those who believe?
Before I throw my two cents, allow me to lay down the framework of my discussion.
- In the book of Acts, the believers were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26) because the non-Christians saw the similarity of Jesus’ way of life to first-generation Christians. Christian meant “Christ-like”. Thus, not all who claim to be Christian in our modern society are indeed Christians in the biblical standards.
- To be born from a Christian parent will not make a child Christian, to study in a Christian school will not make a person Christian. To join one of the Christian sects will not make a person one.
- To be a Christian is a personal decision. A person must be old enough to decipher right from wrong and chose to believe in what Jesus did on the cross.
- And the most important part, if Jesus just died, he is no different from national heroes or a prophet, and no better than the rest of us. But He rose from the dead and this set him apart. Those who believed are in for a life-changing experience.
Christianity is not magic, but empowerment to make day-to-day decisions that can lead to a transformed life. It starts with a choice and will end with a decision (a good decision leads to good results, but a bad one can also lead to digression).
Christianity is likewise not a license to be woke-like and pass judgment or assert oneself as better than others.
Now, let me go back to my original question, what’s in it to those who believe on Jesus death and resurrection? I will not discuss theology, there’s enough blog or websites on that. In a nutshell, though, l would like to share what’s in it to have freedom in Christ.
F R E E D O M
- Freedom– as humans, we are prone to get entangled with “addicting” activities. Anything excessive is bad. Without God in our midst, walking away from this is not possible. Col 2:13-14
- Relationship– Christianity is about relationship with God, not a set of rules and regulations. Christ death and resurrection reconciled us to God. Col 1:20
- Empowerment– the love of God transforms a person. Self confidence and enabling of new skills follows. So a Christian can become an achiever, the head and not the tail (Deut. 28:13).
- Enlightenment– to recognize a supreme being is a pre requisite to wisdom (Ps. 111:10). Therefore, it will be much easier for a person to discover his life purpose, to discern work-life principles and gain wisdom.
- Deliverance– because of men’s failure to keep the law, mankind are under a curse (Deut 28:15-68 -sickness, pain, failure and family destruction). But because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we are bought back (Gal. 3:10-14)
- Opportunity — as mentioned earlier, Christianity is a process that begins and end with a decision. Everyday, a situation is presented to a believer for him to exercise his freedom to choose (Gal 5:24). Whatever path he takes can be an opportunity to grow, become stronger and succeed, or go back to his old self and backslide.
- Money– don’t get me wrong, money will not fall from heaven. But as the believer follow the principles of prosperity, giving and hard work, earning money is not hard.
While this is available for everyone, the “pacing” of the transformation is still dependent on the person. It’s like a gift that is already given but until the recipient claim, open and use the gift, it’s useless. This is the reason why some who profess to be Christians seem to be slow or not progressing at all
Happy Easter everyone, Jesus is Alive!