In Christ we have freedom from sins to be forgiven. In Christ we have purpose and an opportunity to live for something beyond ourselves. In Christ we experience victory over sin and death and now live out that victory by the power of the Holy Spirit as we participate in the disciple-making mission. What an incredible God He is! What an amazing thing that He would send His Son to the cross, conquering sin and death and giving life and eternity to those who believe in Him. And that’s where we find ourselves in our Risen series, belief in Jesus Christ.
The tomb is empty, Jesus has risen, and it is at this point in John’s gospel in which Christ begins to appear to His disciples. And there’s one disciple who, fairly and maybe somewhat unfairly, questions whether or not Jesus has truly risen leaving an indelible mark on his legacy. “I’ll have to see His wounds. And not just see them, I’ll actually have to touch them otherwise I won’t believe,” Thomas retorts. About a week later, Thomas is confronted with the truth of who Jesus is. He sees the scars, he places his hands into the wounds, and Thomas responds in worship.
To believe in Christ is to receive the truth. That Christ has conquered sin and death, that the grave could not hold Him, that death was not a finality! This is what we believe and what we hold fast to, this is the power of God at work not only in the resurrection of Christ but in the reconciliation and redemption of our own lives as well. And the response that is required of us is belief. Thomas believes because he has seen but Jesus commends those who will believe though they have not seen (John 20:29). Believing in Jesus leads to life, full and abundant and eternal life, in the name of Jesus. In his letter to Rome Paul writes, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10).
This is not empty rhetoric or words spoken without authenticity. This is not praying a prayer or simply lip service. To believe in Jesus means putting your faith, your trust, your very life completely in Him. To believe in Jesus inherently means to bear fruit in keeping with the salvation you have received; not to earn your salvation but to live it out in the manner worthy of the gospel. Our hope for you this week is that you will believe and receive the truth of the gospel. Our prayer echoes the prayer of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossian believers:
“9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” -Colossians 1:9-14.