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April 15, 2014

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 15 April 2014

The weather today will not feel quite spring-like, as a new cold front glides to the East Coast — bringing a mixture of rain, wind, falling temperatures, and even snow. Sunshine will warm the East Coast by the end of the week, and, indeed, it will be evident again that spring is here! The great evidence of spring is when God’s creation brings forth all the colors and smells that winter caused to rest. Spring is also the time of year that the First Council of Nicaea decided to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. Subsequent to the Jewish Passover, the annual Christian commemoration is consistent with the weekly celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Sunday.

According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the two essential truths of the gospel message include:

that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Even a casual reading of the apostolic preaching in the book of Acts reveals the reality that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was not only a vital element, but also was a primary emphasis in their witness. Such an emphasis is not surprising because only a living Savior can offer salvation from the penalty and power of sin (which was the reason for his innocent death).

Since the time of the Enlightenment, the modern mind has attempted to be free from any semblance of religion. Fallen humanity attempted to erase the existence of God and the supernatural to be “captain of their own destiny.” However, in attempting to eradicate God, one eradicates the self in the process. Therefore, the hope of the resurrection is vital because it results in present and future significance. The resurrection of Jesus Christ assures humanity that life is not abandoned to nothingness.

Every human being is created in the image of God (Gen 1:26) but has fallen into sin (Rom 3:23; 6:23). However, the good news is that whosoever will have a faith relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will experience resurrection and live with the Creator for eternity (John 3:16). Of course, one’s faith is only as good as the object in which it is resides. Biblical faith is founded upon certainty in the historical resurrection of Jesus from the dead, as the divine Substitute on behalf of sinners who trust in Him. Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a practice of faith, but it is not a blind faith; rather, it is a reasonable faith in an historical Jesus, who by grace through faith in Him alone, will transform the heart of any individual.

The resurrection is a vital doctrine because it is the foundation for any hope in this life and thereafter. The resurrection is the vital truth of the gospel because it forms the basis for the legitimacy and reasonableness of faith.

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. . . . For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. . . . But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep (1 Cor 15:13-14, 16-17, 20).

When Socrates faced death, he was asked, “Shall we live again?” The philosopher replied, “I hope so.” Conversely, on the night prior to his beheading, Sir Walter Raleigh recorded the following words in his Bible: “When we have wander’d all our ways, shuts up the story of our days; but from this earth, this grave, this dust, my God shall raise me up, I trust.” How would you respond to the question, “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14). Job answered his question by stating,

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth (19:25).

God reveals his glory in every season; however, it seems easier to perceive his splendor in the spring. Perhaps, for this reason, the psalmist said,

Truth springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven (Ps 85:11).

The truth that “springs forth from the earth” is that winter is not permanent. Darkness and death do not rule; rather, God — in his grace — brings new life. God’s righteousness and peace kisses his creation (Ps 85:10). Believers today enjoy peace with God because all the claims of divine righteousness were satisfied by the work of the Lord Jesus.

If the ministry of Capitol Commission can serve you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Your Missionary to Our Capitol Community,

Chaplain Ron at Capitol

Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Georgia State Minister, Capitol Commission
ron.bigalke@capitolcom.org
www.capitolcom.org

Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.