By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Kaduna, Rt. Rev. Timothy Yahaya, has emphasized that being in Christ is accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and denying the world, not just going to Church or practicing religion.
Bishop Yahaya said that the Bible must be translated in one's life, because Jesus died to give man a new life that was not under the bondage of the devil.
He explained that anyone who was in Christ was a new creation and therefore that person's old life was in the past and forgotten by the Saviour, Jesus Christ.
He quoted from the scriptures, pointing out that God forgave all sins whenever one surrendered to Him and used the story of a caterpillar and a butterfly to describe the sinner and a Christian; stating that a sinner was like a cartterpillar and who when he or she received Christ became a beautiful butterfly and began to fly.
Bishop Yahaya spoke on Day One of the Annual Lenten Revival programme tagged, “The Way of the Cross”, of the Diocese of Abuja which was held at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Abuja.
Speaking on the topic for the day, “New Creation,” the Bishop said that to be a new creation was to be crucified in Christ. He explained that many Christians today lived a life of syncretism where they embraced any belief and practice, including that which was contrary to the word of God. He said many of them were no longer different from unbelievers, because they allowed the world to dictate their lifestyle.
He observed that the Christianity being practiced today was one where believers said, “It doesn't matter” and so, they craved for new things, new dressing, new face and even, a new gender. The guest preacher however pointed out that once a thing had left the factory, it was no longer considered as new; adding that it was only the grace and mercy of God that was new every morning.
Bishop Yahaya, speaking on the general theme of the programme, “A New Beginning”, recalled the biblical story of the creation where Adam sinned against God and God asked him the question, “Where are you?”
He said this was a question that anyone living in sin must answer; pointing out that after Adam's sin, a veil was put between man and God. But, according to him, when Jesus died, He took on Himself the sins of man and caused the veil separating man and God to be torn in two. He said with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the old religion was gone and no other sacrifice was needed to cleanse man.
The cleric emphasized that the death of Jesus Christ gave man a new beginning, where God was no longer far away from His people and no individual was excluded from going before God in worship and prayer.
He highlighted the significance of the tearing of the curtain, which once covered the Holy of Holies, explaining that now Christians could worship and pray to God at any time and approach Him without dying, as in the case of Uzzah.
He also noted that all Christians were now part of the royal priesthood and were the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
The Rt. Rev. Timothy Yahaya concluded his message, stating that many did not know what they missed out on when they refused to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. According to him, when one gave one's life to Jesus, one became a new creation and God became that person's Father, which, he said, meant that one would live a victorious Christian life of no defeat.
He added that a believer could trust God for anything, including healing, and still have the gift of eternity with God. Hence, he gave an altar call for all who were yet to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour to step forward in faith and accept Him into their lives in order to also partake of this new life in Christ and have a new beginning.
The gathering, which had people from all the Churches in the Diocese of Abuja Anglican Communion, also had in attendance the Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion, The Most Rev. Dr Nicholas D. Okoh, who introduced the guest preacher and the Gbagi Language translator, the Bishop of the Diocese of Gwagwalada, the Rt. Rev. Moses Tabwaye, and also led the prayers said for the guest preacher after his ministration. It was a glorious service that marked the beginning of the 7-day Lenten Revival programme.