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TFL in Des Moines Register: Easter reminds us transformation is possible

by Greg Baker

Every Easter, the world stops to recognize two, crucial, historic events – Christ’s death and resurrection. And in these two events, we are reminded that we have hope, for we are reminded that true transformation is still possible.

Through the course of any year, we face trials both individually and collectively. 2023 has already been marked by school shootings, natural disasters, and international turmoil. It is easy to lose heart and wonder if things will ever change. Do we even believe in transformation? Do we believe that lives can in fact be changed?

Easter, however, is a blazing reminder that transformation is possible, even in a world full of trials and pain. For Easter transforms us in three ways: By giving us a new start, a new identity, and radical hope for a new future.

The transformation of Easter begins with new life. In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that all people must be “born again”; that every person was born first of flesh and blood, but we must be reborn of the spirit. Because of our sin, we are all separated from God, born the first time as those spiritually dead. And while we can try to modify our behavior, try to “be good” in some religious terms, we cannot truly be transformed so long as we remain spiritually dead.

Transformation, rather, can only come through the work of Christ on the Cross. Christ’s death pays the debt of sin each of us has gained through our rebellion against God. His death alone satisfies God’s wrath and judgment on mankind. But just as Christ died and was resurrected (on Easter!), we too can die to our old, spiritually dead selves and be “born again” a new, spiritually living soul. Through faith in Christ and surrendering our broken lives to Him, like Him, we can be given new life, a new start. Through Him, we can be reunited with our Creator and made spiritually alive!

What’s more, the resurrecting power of God in Easter transforms us through a whole new identity. Our broken world can so easily label us – as addicts, obese, felons, failures, poor – as if this is our identity, as if this is who we truly are. So often, we become who we see ourselves as being and who the world sees us to be. The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6 reminds those in Christ that though is who you were, it is no longer who you are. Born again in Christ, you are born into a whole new identity. You are beloved, children of God, co-heirs with Christ, blameless, victorious, righteous, and redeemed.

And finally, this new life and new identity further transforms us through a radical, new hope.

One of the top leaders in our state’s social services work said something that stuck with me: “All of us live along the edge, and what pushes us over the edge is a loss of hope.”

There are trials that push each of us to the edge. Some of these trials are loss of a loved one, financial hardship, addictions, or loss of health. It can be very easy to lose hope. Jesus’ disciples lost hope on Good Friday as well. All they had sacrificed for seemed to be gone.

But in Christ’s story, we are reminded that even in the despair of Friday, Easter Sunday was coming. Easter provides a hope that shatters this life’s hardship and circumstances. It is a hope that death truly has been beaten; that no matter what the world throws at us, death has lost its sting. It is a hope that God intends to make all things new, and we will a part of that new world!

We must not let the circumstances or mistakes of our lives or the nation weigh us down. Rather, we can turn our hope to the message of Easter: the message that no matter what we have done or what life brings, we can be transformed. Easter reminds us that transformation is possible, and it is possible for all people!

Greg Baker is the founding director of The FAMiLY Leader’s Church Ambassador Network.


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