Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Consequences of Easter

Easter changes everything! Nothing in this creation remains unaffected by the resurrection; nothing that you are or do is unchanged. The most fundamental difference is in the area of the Law and sin. Because of Christ's death and resurrection, the Law's condemnation has been removed. Sin itself is destroyed, for Christ paid the debt we owed to God. We have forgiveness; sweet, wonderful forgiveness that covers over each and every stain.

But I have noticed in myself and in others that this fundamental and beautiful change doesn't take hold in our hearts. We unfortunately still act as if Christ's resurrection didn't happen. To see what I mean, think about what happens when you commit a sin. What is your first impulse, your first instinct? We attempt to justify ourselves, in a multitude of ways. We deny that what we are doing is actually sinful, by appealing to the culture, or to our feelings, or some vague standard that we can't quite express. We offer excuses and explanations, anything, really, rather than confession. We try to make ourselves feel better by comparing ourselves to others who clearly have worse sins. We blame others for our failures, just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden. In short, we spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to avoid admitting that we have sinned. Why do we jump through hoops to avoid the reality of sin when Christ Himself has already paid for it? Because even as Christians, even as those who know the story of salvation, we are still terrified by sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this should not be! Easter has changed everything! What do we do with sin? We confess it and receive Christ's blood-bought forgiveness! We have the free offer of grace, given to all sinners. We don't need to hide our sins, we don't need to avoid them, we can bring the whole stinking mess to Jesus, and He will forgive. We don't need to be scared by sin!

Don't get me wrong—sin is still serious business. It was serious enough to send Christ to the cross to pay for it. If you want to know how significant your sin is, just look to cross. But that is exactly the point. Sin is serious, that is why none of our excuses of self-justifications will hold any water. All we can do with our sin is see it in light of God's Law, confess it, and receive the blessings of forgiveness. Easter has changed everything; self-justification isn't the answer—Christ's justification is. Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

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