April 4, 2018
Q: My faith today is probably about where it was 10 years ago—not much stronger, not much weaker. I know I ought to be a better Christian, but I don’t know how. What would you say to me?
A: Just as children are meant to grow and become adults, so we are meant to grow and become “spiritual adults”. Only then will we be able to resist wrong and do what’s right. The Bible says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
The key is to understand that when we come to Christ and commit our lives to Him, we now have a personal relationship with God. Think of it: God is now our Heavenly Father, and we are now His children! More than that, He has come to live within us by His Holy Spirit. God loves us, and by His death and resurrection Christ has torn down the barrier between us—a barrier caused by our sin. Now we are part of His family!
But how does any personal relationship grow and become stronger? The answer is clear: we have to spend time with someone—listening to them, sharing our interests and concerns with them, learning about them, and so forth. And the same is true with God. One way we do this is by listening to Him as He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible. He also has given us the privilege of talking to Him in prayer. We grow stronger too through our fellowship with other believers.
Make sure of your commitment to Christ. Then set aside time each day to read God’s Word and pray. God’s promise is true: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).
Q: Why do they call the day on which Jesus was crucified “Good Friday”? What was good about it? I think we ought to call it “black Friday” or something like that.
A: If you had spoken with Jesus’ family and followers on that Friday I suspect they would have agreed with you. Then all hope seemed lost; Satan and his servants seemed to have won; evil and death seemed to have triumphed.
But if you had spoken with them only a few days later, you would have heard something entirely different! Then they knew all was not lost; Satan and his servants had not won; evil and death had not triumphed. In fact, the opposite was the case: The forces of evil had been defeated, death had been destroyed, and from that point onward human life would never be the same.
What made the difference? The difference was twofold: Jesus’ tomb was empty, and He had appeared to them. In other words, Jesus had broken the bonds of death, and now He was alive! And suddenly they realized that what had seemed at first to be a defeat was in fact a victory—a victory over Satan and sin and death. The Bible says, “You, with the help of wicked men, put him to death. … But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 2:23-24).
Why is it called “Good Friday”? Because by His death, Jesus became the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. We cannot erase our guilt, nor can we overcome our sins by our good deeds. But Christ did what we could never do for ourselves, by dying for us on that first Good Friday. May this day truly become “Good Friday” for you, as you confess your sins and put your faith and trust in Christ.