|The Message of Easter|
|20100404 Rev Larry Wolfe|
|Although Christmas is the most celebrated Christian holiday, Easter is by far the most important event in the life of Christ, for He came to die for the sins of mankind, be buried and rise again on the third day for our justification.|
This is the Gospel message in a nutshell as Paul proclaims in I Corinthians 15:1-4: 'Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.'
Here is the Gospel given in it's briefest, but most precise form, and it consists of three facts; all of which took place during the Easter holiday: That Christ died. That He was buried. That He rose again the third day.
The first of these three, the death of Christ, paid the unpayable price of the sin of mankind. Unpayable by man himself because of his flawed nature and thereby incapable of paying his own sin debt! The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23); this is the price necessary to atone for the sins of mankind. According to the holy and just requirement of God, somebody had to pay for the sin debt of every sinner born. This price had to be paid by a perfect sinless sacrifice. God's requirement was the reason He had to send His Son for He was the only One worthy, the only One capable of meeting God's standard of a perfect sinless Sacrifice to atone for the great sin debt of all mankind.
Jesus' first title given Him when He appeared on the shores of Jordan to John Baptist was 'The Lamb of God'! Yes, upon the inauguration of His earthly public ministry, He was given the all-telling title of the Lamb of God, the Sacrifice whose destiny was the Cross to which He would be nailed just a few short years later to provide God with the substitutional Sacrifice necessary to bring man to God and in the process glorify God Himself!
Romans 3:26-31 shows at least four different ways that the Cross glorified God. First of all, the Cross reveals God's righteousness: 'To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just and the justifier of him which believeth on Jesus' (v.26). God's righteous character is openly displayed 'without the law' through the propitiation of Christ. Christs suffering and shedding of His own Blood on the Cross provided God grounds upon which God could set forth His righteousness which is the heart of the doctrine of justification. God is now proved to be just and also the Justifier of those who believe through faith in the Blood of Christ. Our faith in the atoning Blood of Christ as payment for our own sin's penalty is the faith that saves us from eternal death in Hell and instead freely gives us eternal life with the Lord in Heaven!
Secondly, the Cross exalts God's matchless grace. 'Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.' God's great grace provided us with salvation through His marvelous grace. Yes, 'For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast.' (Ephesians 2:8,9) It is all of grace, for God supplied the Sacrifice and also the faith through His great grace that we might be saved, and thereby the Cross magnifies and exalts God's magnificent grace!
Third, the Cross reveals God's consistency in dealing with all mankind: 'Is He the God of the Jews only? is He not also of the gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision (Jews) by faith, and uncircumcision (Gentiles) through faith.' (v.29,30) The great divide has been broken down in Christ as Ephesians 2:14 explains, 'For He is our Peace, Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.' Herein lies the consistency of God through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross 'Having abolished in His flesh the enmity...to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross... Now therefore ye (Gentiles) are no more strangers and foreigners but fellowcitizens...of the household of God.' (Ephesians 2:15-19)
Fourth, the Cross confirms God's Law: 'Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.' The immediate assumption of voiding the Law of God is quickly dealt with by Paul as he underlines the continuing validity of the written Old Testament Law. His response is one of shock and dismay at even the thought of voiding the Law of God as he exclaims: 'God forbid!' which is a favorite expression of Paul throughout the book of Romans when he is confronted with such bold-faced absurdity as the canceling of the precious Law of God. His affirmation proves the effectiveness of the Cross in confirming the Law.
Although these four truths are important, the main work of the Cross is set forth in Romans 3:24,25: 'Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His Blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God.'
The doctrine of justification, which is God's impartation of His righteousness to those who will by faith believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, finds its foundation here in these two verses. First of all, we are 'justified freely by His grace' which underlines that the source of justification is found in God's grace, 'without the law' (v.21) without works, all that is required is the exercising of faith which also is given by God. So, it is all of grace; grace made possible 'through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.' God has set Him forth to be a propitiation, which is the basis, the grounds, the foundation upon which God could offer remission/forgiveness of sin past, present and future. Now, God the Father remains just as He forgives sin past and justifies all those to come who put their faith in the atoning work of Christ on the Cross!
Let me ask you this important question, have you received Jesus Christ as your Savior from the penalty of sin? God sent His Son to die on the Cross so that you might have eternal life with Him! Don't let this Easter pass without knowing beyond a shadow of doubt that you are a child of God headed for heaven because of what Jesus did for you on the Cross! Yes, He died, was buried, and rose again on the third day just for you, for the Bible clearly states in this most familiar verse, 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.' (John 3:16)
Rev. Larry Wolfe--Evangelist 3015 Pelzer Hwy #16 Easley, SC 29642 864-442-6602
|Tags: Easter Gospel Message Corinthians|