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Risen? What Does It Mean To Be a Christian?

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Joshua Lee recaps for us the learning points of this year's youth camp and shares how the camp has prompted him to reevaluate what it means to be a Christian.

The overall theme for this year's youth camp is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what that means. The main takeaway was that we are dead to our sins, but through the grace of God, we are given new resurrected life. We receive this life by repenting from our sins, and we get baptised as a sign of having been resurrected spiritually with Christ. 

Below are the learning points from the talks held during the workshops of the camp:

Talk 1: The Real “Goal” of the Hand of God
Ezekiel 37:1–14 ESV—The Valley of Dry Bones 

The talk in three sentences:

  1. The imagery of the dry bones conveys the message that the Israelites (but also us) are spiritually dead, and we cannot help ourselves.
  2. God shows to Ezekiel that He will promise to revive (transform) the bones by giving them flesh, breath and raising them up from the graves, pointing forward to our spiritual transformation in Christ.
  3. With the manifestation of our new life, we are to hate our past sinful selves and turn to live a godly life instead. 

Talk 2: The Reality and Blessing of Christ’s Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:1–23 ESV—The Resurrection of Christ 

The talk in three sentences:

  1. The Resurrection of Christ is important, real and reliable.
  2. If Christ has not been raised, our preaching and faith will be in vain, those asleep will be forever dead, and life will no longer be valuable nor significant
  3. The glory of the resurrection of Christ is indicative of the faith of all Christians to come, including those who have already passed; we should rejoice that in Christ we are made alive. 

Talk 3: Proper Response to Our Lord and Christ
Acts 2:32–41 ESV—Peter's Sermon at Pentecost 

The talk in three sentences:

  1. Jesus’ resurrection means that God has declared him Lord and Christ, having all authority over everything above, on and under earth, both now and forever.
  2. We are called to repent (complete change of mind and attitude towards God) for our sins to be forgiven and be baptised (which is an outward step of obedience that follows repentance).
  3. By doing so, we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Talk 4: Christ’s Resurrection Calls Us to Live New Lives
Romans 6:1–14 ESV—Dead to Sin, Alive to God 

The talk in three sentences:

  1. Even though our new lives in Christ's resurrection means we no longer bear the weight of our sin, we are still under the grace of God and therefore cannot keep sinning.
  2. Our new identity is one of union with Christ, Him taking our sins and us receiving his righteousness; therefore we are no longer slaves to sins.
  3. We are instruments of God for righteousness, and knowing that we are not under law but under grace should motivate us to live for God. 

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The campers paying full attention during the talks.

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It is my first time studying the resurrection of Christ in depth, and I have to say (through all the talks, workshops and devotions) that the concepts (as mentioned above) are not objectively unfamiliar. Rather, I just have not encountered them as coherently connected ideas that can be traced using the event of Christ’s resurrection in the Bible. 

From a student’s perspective, I am so often caught up with studies that it often can become an idol and sin. (Studying is not imperatively sinful; it's only when you do it for selfish gains apart from God, then it starts being a sin.) This is the precise reason as to why the resurrection of Christ is so crucial to our faith. We do not have the ability to overcome our own sin, whereas through God’s sovereign hand we are able to achieve salvation as long as we place our faith in Christ. 

But what’s even more appealing about the resurrection of Christ is the new life that he offers. The new resurrected lives we have in Christ are far better, we get to enjoy this new identity, having dominion over sin and being able to share the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are also given the Holy Spirit who guides us through our walk with God. 

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Joshua (left) and his group summarising what they have learnt and their thoughts during the final night of this year's youth camp.

This youth camp has been really enjoyable and provided me the time to reevaluate what it means to be a Christian. Although my walk with God would still be a long one, I can know that Christ’s resurrection is real, a firm foundation in which I can place my faith in.

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Read also Rayna Wong's reflection on how the camp has drawn her closer to God