The Essence of Easter

Last week’s blog explained why it is that Resurrection Sunday (Easter) is necessary. This week’s blog explains the essence of the resurrection as it applies to you. Last week explained how sin came into the world, this week explains the remedy for sin.

Your sinful nature and mine is inherited from Adan and Eve. It’s in our spiritual DNA, so to speak. And, we’re not perfect beings. Only God Himself, in three Persons, is good. So, you, I and everyone else make mistakes and deliberately do things we know are against God’s will. There is no one who has ever lived or will live who has not sinned except Jesus Christ, who is God. He is one Person of the Trinity. And, because He led a perfect life here on earth He is the only person who can take our place in payment for your sins and mine. No one else can make payment for us because he or she would just be paying for his or her own sins, and not ours.

Look at it this way. Suppose you were arrested for sin and went to court. The judge found you guilty and pronounced a death sentence on you for your sin. Another person stands up in court and says, ” Wait judge, I’ll take this person’s place”. The judge and prosecutor check the person’s record and find out he’s wanted for sin too. The judge tells him, “You can’t pay for this person’s sin, because we’re going to try you for your own sin”. So, you can’t pay for this person because you’re going to pay for yourself”. You’re still in the same fix, no change.

Jesus Christ now stands up and says He will pay for your sin. The judge and prosecutor investigate Jesus’ record and find no sin in His life. They investigate everything they can think of and still find no sin. The judge says he will accept Jesus as your substitute if you allow Him to be your substitute. This is important. The judge can’t allow Jesus to automatically allow Jesus to take your place in payment for your sin unless you agree to let Him do so. That’s your decision to make. Salvation is a free gift, but gifts aren’t gifts unless they are accepted by you. You don’t have any gift from anyone if you don’t take it. And Jesus can’t take your place on the cross without you accepting Him as your substitute. Jesus says He is the way, he truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Him (john 14:6), and anyone that says there is another route to heaven or way of salvation is only a thief and a robber (John 10:1). Only Jesus, God incarnate, can save you from sin and allow you into heaven with God forever. That was Jesus’ reason for coming into the world

It would seem reasonable then that everyone would accept Jesus as their Savior, but only a few do accept Him. John 3:16 tells us that God gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. But many are called, but few are chosen, because only a few accept God’s gift of salvation (Ephesians 2: 8-10). All the other people reject Christ in favor of spending eternity in hell with Satan, his angles and all the evil persons who have ever lived or who will ever live on earth. Think of the worst, most dangerous part of the city you live in, the neighborhood with the most robberies, murders, rapes and other crimes and multiply the evils by ten billion times. That will give you some idea of what hell will be like for those rejecting Jesus.

Deliberately choosing hell over heaven seems silly, doesn’t it? Not deciding for Jesus is deciding against Him. That’s not rational. Why would anyone do that? Thousands of reasons exist for people not accepting salvation, but here are a few of the most common ones:

Procrastination: I’ll do it tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes. We just don’t get around to it. It’s like a person camping out on train tracks. He knows he train will come by sooner or later. But he keeps thinking he has plenty of time. “I’ll do that later. No sense in rushing into this, I’m really having fun here and I don’t feel like moving just ye….. Ooops! Too late now. The train ran over him. He’s dead forever. You have no guarantee of tomorrow nor even the next minute. Now, this instant, is the time of salvation for you. You probably won’t hear the train coming, so get off the tracks now while you have the chance.

I’m Happy, so why change? Worldly happiness is contingent on things of this world, and those things can change in a heartbeat. Worldly happiness is founded on temporal things that can and do change. Whatever sustains your happiness in this world can unexpectedly leave you at any time. The permanency of temporal things is an illusion. Rich people were happy until the stock market crash that signaled in the depression. Many committed suicide when their money disappeared in one day. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes (Hebrews 13:8). He is the only trustworthy foundation for true happiness. You can’t count on anything in this world to keep you happy. You can count on Christ.

Believing isn’t believing: That sounds like a contradiction, but it isn’t. Paul tells us that we are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus as Savior, no other way (Ephesians 2: 8-10). So why don’t people change from living worldly lives to living for God? It’s because they don’t have faith that the spiritual world really exists, or that Jesus really can save them. Let me give you an example. I am terrified of heights. Accordingly, there is no way you would ever convince me to walk across one of these little suspension bridges that span deep canyons. No way am I going across one of those things. My friend Lenora has photos of her family standing on a glass-bottomed platform off the side of a skyscraper in Chicago, I think it is. People standing on the platform can see down hundreds of yards to the sidewalk below. In the photo it looks to me like the ground is miles down below the platform. No thank you, I’m not going out on that thing! No way!

Now, rationally I know the suspension bridges are safe. I know the platform is safe. They are all designed by good engineers and built by competent construction companies, and they are inspected regularly but safety engineers to insure their continued structural integrity. What I believe doesn’t matter to me. I’m not going out on those things Because I don;t have faith in them. The two main reasons I won’t use the bridges or go out on such a platform is that I have an irrational fear that the perfectly safe devices will fail. That doesn’t make sense. I know that. I know it’s an emotional reaction on my part that causes me to distrust the bridges and platforms. It’s because deep down I don’t have faith in them. I know they’re safe, but until I have faith in them I won’t use them.

And-this is the biggie- I don’t really have faith in myself. I’m afraid I’ll fall off those contraptions, even though there are safety rails and walls to keep me from falling. I know I can’t fall, but I still feel that I might, so I don’t go out on those things. You may logically know that God exists and that Christ is the only Savior, but you don’t accept Him as Savior because of an irrational fear that He can’t save you, or that leading a Christian life isn’t infinitely better than a worldly life, which it is. It’s because you want to cling to things you can see and touch instead of spiritual things. You don’t really have the required faith necessary for true belief just like you don’t have faith that a chair will hold you up until you sit on it. So you put off making a decision for Jesus which is really making a decision against him.

And deep down you don’t have faith in yourself. But that isn’t necessary. Personal worthiness doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you sit on the chair of salvation. Nobody that ever lived deserves salvation. No one is worthy. That doesn’t matter. God so loves you that He gave His only begotten Son on the cross in your place. And His resurrection from the grave gives you your Easter gift of salvation. You can die to your worldly self and be be reborn in Christ forever. Just as Jesus returned from the dead you can be reborn in Him. You can’t fall off the bridge of salvation from your worldly life to life in Christ, and the chair of salvation will give you rest in Christ forever.

This is the essence of Easter. What you can’t do for yourself Jesus did for you through dying in your place on the cross and rising from the dead on Resurrection Son-Day, so you can be resurrected from this world to the heavenly world. All you have to do is accept God’s gift of salvation. Grab onto it now while you still have the chance. The train’s coming.

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