As Easter arrives every Spring, we are reminded of new life all around us. After the cold weather and snows of winter depart, flowers begin to bloom and the animals awaken from their winter-long slumber. For Christians, Easter is a reminder of the new life found in Jesus. His life, death, and resurrection illustrates the love and mercy of God, and there is nothing more precious than this new life, since this salvation in Christ forever changes the course of our lives.
To understand the importance of this new life, a person must recognize the life apart from Christ. The life apart from Christ is a life in sin. Sin is every prideful thought, hurtful word, selfish act, or anything that is contrary to God’s holy character. Sin is synonymous with wickedness and evil. Sin cannot be ignored, swept under the rug and forgotten, nor be substituted and replaced by good works. Sin has to be dealt with. The result is that a holy God would have to judge a sinful humanity. His character demands it. Justice demands it. If this is true, how can humanity deal with the problem of sin? What can mankind do to avoid or solve the problem of sin and wickedness, and not fall under God’s judgment? The answer is that man cannot solve the problem of sin.
Therefore, since humanity could not solve the problem of sin, God took the initiative. God sent Jesus, fully God and fully man, to live a sinless life so that He could redeem mankind. Only a sinless man could take the place of a sinful one, and Jesus, being fully God, is able to redeem all of humanity. This redemption took place at the cross, where the shed blood of Jesus and His broken body atoned for the sins of all mankind. His resurrection three days later ensures the complete victory over sin and death. This is what Christians celebrate during Easter. This is our eternal Spring.
In the book of Ephesians 2:8-10, the apostle Paul summarizes the work of Christ, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” There are three words from this passage that I want to focus on: grace, faith, and gift. Easter is a celebration of grace because it is unmerited and completely initiated by God. Easter is a celebration of faith because salvation is appropriated only by faith in Jesus. Easter is a celebration of a gift because humanity did not work or earn salvation; Salvation is God’s gift to us. This is why Easter is celebrated by Christians around the world with such fervor and excitement. We invite you to join us in the following:
1) Preparing our hearts and directing our minds on Easter by reading and meditating on the Passion Week devotionals by Desiring God Ministries entitled “Love to the Uttermost” (www.tinyurl.com/MBCLAPW);
2) Reflecting on the suffering and death of Christ on Good Friday, April 19 at 7:30pm;
3) Celebrating Easter and the empty tomb together with our church family on Easter evening, Sunday, April 21 at 7:00pm.