Today most professing Christian churches celebrate the resurrection of Christ. This is not a bad thing at all. Of course Christians should recognize Christ’s resurrection every day not just one day a year. Nevertheless, for some, recognizing Jesus’ resurrection one day a year is better than none.
The Critical Importance of the Resurrection
Regardless of the celebration or recognition of this monumental event, we must always believe in the resurrection of Christ every day.
Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, paying the full penalty for our sins and giving us eternal life. There could be no eternal life if Christ did not rise from the dead. The Bible is very clear on this.
14And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain… 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins 1Cor 15:14,17
Some Christians (who obviously do believe in the resurrection otherwise they would not be Christians) still do not realize how important the resurrection is, and that it is such a critical doctrine of salvation that it is impossible for someone to be a Christian if they deny Jesus rose from the dead.
9That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. 10For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the Scripture says, Whosoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed. Rom 10: 9-11
Throughout the book of Acts we see the Apostles witnessing and preaching on the resurrection. Yet today some try to evangelize by preaching only that Jesus died for our sins without any mention of His resurrection. Some make this mistake innocently out of ignorance. Others are full blown heretics who go so far as to even deny the resurrection of Christ altogether or deny that He rose in bodily form, claiming that Jesus rose in spirit only. These are both dangerous heresies that if believed can prevent someone’s salvation.
Why the Celebration of Holidays Like Easter is Not to be Condemned
For those Christians bent on condemning other Christians for celebrating holidays like Easter and Christmas, here is an edited and updated excerpt from my article, “Another Letter to a Legalist”:
Applicable here is basically the entire chapter of Romans 14, and even more specifically verses 4-6.
4Who are you that judges another man's servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yes, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand. 5One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not, and gives God thanks. Rom 14: 4-6
Here as well as in other related Scriptures, the Bible makes it very clear that we are to let people decide for themselves what days are holy or not holy to them. And, just because certain holidays may have some pagan roots or pagan connections from long ago doesn't mean that those days can't be used today or ”redeemed” in a sense for God's present use. We all have some pagan roots (in a sense) if you consider the fall in the garden. Do we throw ourselves out the window?
I am certainly grieved at the celebration and promotion of the Easter Bunny (and Santa Claus at Christmas) and the resulting distraction from Christ with all the materialization, commercialization and the over emphasis on giving and receiving material things like Easter baskets, candy, eggs, etc. But we can correct these things and bring them into proper balance without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Easter and Christmas may not be accurate date-wise or name-wise, but the religious freedom to celebrate these holidays nationally is still a great blessing in our country in part because it is a great opportunity to reach out to people for Christ. Many unbelievers are at least "tuned" in or receptive to permitting a conversation on the subject of Jesus during these holiday seasons. This can be a great door-opener to witnessing and evangelism. Imagine the far greater problems that we would suffer well beyond the annoyances of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus if our country celebrated Buddhist and other false religious holidays instead! Thank God that at least Christian-based holidays are still allowed in our rapidly changing country!
I am not judging anyone for not wanting to celebrate certain holidays. That is their right and I am to keep my view to myself from the perspective of trying to “condemn” them for their view or in trying to strongly persuade them to change their view. While they are free to share their view generally, I am simply reminding these people not to press their view on others legalistically where they make others feel guilty or cause them to endure condemnation for non-compliance with their particular views.
But nevertheless, let me ask this question: what would be better in the USA? To have Buddhist celebrations and the holidays of other false religions come flooding in instead? At least Christianity is not a false religion. Should we have no Easter or Christmas holidays when at least some people are open to Christ-specific spiritual things on these days and in these seasons? I cannot condemn someone for not wanting to celebrate these holidays and I cannot push my views on them either. All I can do is issue a reminder that we are not to make a big deal out of these kinds of things.
People can celebrate any day they want to celebrate or forgo celebrating any day that they want to forgo and we need to keep our views and personal preferences to ourselves from the standpoint of pressing them. The Bible affords the freedom for Christians to choose for themselves on these issues and no one should take that freedom away.
This does not mean that we should fail to issue warnings about blatantly dangerous holidays that have no potential of inherently honoring Christ, such as Halloween (which has been and presently still is clearly occultic), which doesn’t have even loose connections to Christianity and that clearly celebrates death while utilizing horror imagery to do so.
What About Easter and Christmas Gifts?
Do you feel you should give someone an Easter or Christmas gift? Well, just like on someone’s birthday, if we show up to their house without a gift on a day that they expect a gift, we may have hindered our witness and subverted the opportunity to share the Gospel within a demonstration of love (love as far as they are concerned). For some, the receiving of a gift is how they equate love. There is nothing evil or sinful about giving appropriate gifts on any day and God knows the motivations of our hearts. God gives us all kinds of gifts and Christ is the ultimate gift to the world. If a cultural custom or practice is not evil, we should not be concerned with it. If it is evil, it should be avoided. The end does not justify the means.
Blessings to Christians who celebrate the Easter holiday and blessings to those who do not,