Hillary Paul Odili Okeke

Bishop Hillary Okeke, the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, has urged Christians to fully submit their lives to the teachings of Jesus Christ and shun all forms of idolatry.

Okeke made the call while delivering his Easter Message at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral, Nnewi on Thursday.

The theme of the message is: “New Way of Life with Jesus Christ Risen from the Dead”.

He said Christians must live above love for the world and strive to show love worthy of their call in Jesus Christ.

The cleric who used 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, to describe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, warned Christians against committing vices such as immoral sex, idolatry and adultery among others.

According to him, thieves, misers, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.

“As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ after the death on the cross and burying in the tomb, Christians should reflect the new way of life.

“In all truth, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit.

“What is born of human nature is human; what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

“By our baptism into his death, we were buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin to live a new life,” he said.

Okeke said that people who practiced neo-paganism would not inherit the kingdom of God.

He said that neo-paganism could be described as where people who professed Christianity still indulged in cultural and traditional ways of life that were laced with idol worship.

He added that people must be willing and courageous to jettison their idolatrous customs which conflicted with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

He also said that such idolatrous custom had destroyed the lives of many people, adding that they would benefit from salvation which Christ bought through his resurrection, if they repented from such acts.

“The Church will continue to talk though they do not have powers to enforce the teaching of Jesus Christ, but every man should remember that there will be judgment after death.

“I am not saying that your new life should reject traditions and customs, unless the custom you are practicing involves evil and connected with idolatry.

“Today, the Church continues to combat idolatry, bribery and corruption, kidnapping, robbery and injustice.

“Christians who are politicians, business people, traditional rulers and educationists among others must completely act in line with the mind of Christ.

“As God’s dear children, take God as your pattern and follow Christ by loving one another as Christ loved the Church, giving himself up for us as an offering,’’ he said.

Okeke prayed that this year’s Easter celebration would bring newness of life, peace and love to humanity.

“May the celebration of the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ bring all Christians fully back to the new way of life?

“The life of holiness, love, goodness, truthfulness, honesty, true faith in God and true worship of the only One.

“By sincere and joyful celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, anyone who repents from evil ways and embrace fully the new way of Jesus Christ will be guaranteed eternal salvation,’’ he said.

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