When we become a committed follower of Jesus we enter into a realm of faith that is unique to every other religion. Its uniqueness is expressed in its essence. Essence is defined by Websters as “the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something”.
I love the Bible and believe it to be a living book that is the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God. By reading and heeding its instruction it gives me guidance, comfort, gems of wisdom and a worldview to live by. But as important as the Scriptures are to my daily life it is not the essence of my faith.
Prayer is something I practice daily. Sometimes I set aside a block of time to pray and sometimes I pray a lot of little prayers during my daily routine. Prayer keeps me connected to my Heavenly Father. I pray to understand the will of God for my life. I sometimes pray for healing, for wisdom, discernment and even for a miracle. Prayer is a vital element in my daily communication with Heaven. As important as prayer is to my life, it is not the essence of my faith.
I love to fellowship with my Christian brothers and sisters. In a way, it’s like having a foretaste of Heaven. We are on the same page, we enjoy the same Lord and we base and plan our lives on Kingdom principles. As much as we enjoy going to church and good Christian fellowship, it’s not the essence of my faith.
The Risen Savior is the essence of our faith
The unique aspect of our faith is the risen Christ. Jesus’ virgin birth, his sinless life and his sacrificial death on the cross mean little without his bodily resurrection. Rising from the dead was the divine trump card. In that one act, Jesus became victor over death, hell, and the grave. The resurrection gives “indispensable quality” to our faith. No other religion can claim their teacher and leader rose from the dead.
The resurrection gives authority and validity to the Bible. The Scriptures predicted that a Savior would be born and he would be rejected by those He came to save. The Scriptures record that He would be falsely accused and murdered. Then he would rise from the dead three days later. All this happened just at the Scriptures recorded centuries earlier.
Because Jesus taught us the value of prayer and how to pray, we can now “come boldly to the throne room of heaven”.( Hebrews 4:16 ) Prayer takes on a new power and meaning. The resurrection enabled the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer. We now have divine guidance who teaches us how to pray, illumines the Scripture and then convicts us of our sin so that we can maintain continual fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
The resurrection gives us a new identity and a new power. Jeremiah wrote about this “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. (Jeremiah 31 NLT) Because of the resurrection, we can now be indwelt by the risen savior. Jesus prayed just before he was taken up to heaven.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”(John 17:20-21)
Because of the risen Savior we now have oneness with Christ. The moment we are born again we are placed into Christ and Christ is placed into us. That means wherever we go Christ goes with us. But it also means wherever Christ is (at the right hand of the Father) we are also.
“Even when we were dead in our transgressions, (God) made us alive together with Christ ( By grace you have been saved), we are raised up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-6 NAS)
The essence of our faith is the resurrection. The resurrection gives the Scripture further credibility, it gives prayer its power, and it creates oneness with other believers. Our faith is more than just a religious creed and a social gathering. Our faith is a relationship that was made possible because of the risen Jesus. He became victor over death, sin, hell and the grave. His resurrection gave us an identity that has a connection to an eternal, heavenly home.
The resurrection is not just an Easter Holiday, it is the very essence of our faith. Take time today to rejoice in your salvation made possible by the Cross and sealed by the resurrection. Because He lives we can now live.