Pulpit Reflections

Pulpit Reflections
In a few weeks people across the United States will celebrate Easter, the central event of the Christian faith, which is the resurrection of Christ from the grave. This historical event is so important, that the apostle Paul said, "If Christ is not risen, your faith is vain, you are still in your sins."

Christianity, you see, is about something that is impossible for human beings to do for themselves; it is about saving us from ourselves, that is from the penalty we deserve because of our sins. And this is something no one can do for himself.

When Jesus in Matt. 19:24 explained to His disciples that "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," they were amazed and asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus' answer is just as amazing. He said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

We need to get that straight. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves, nothing. According to the Bible's teaching, salvation is purely by the grace (that is the free and unmerited favor) of God. When we try to help save ourselves we are like Jewish Pharisees of Jesus' time who "being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:3).

Now, God saves us in a very simple and direct way. He sent His son to earth as a human being who "Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24). In other words, Jesus went to hell for us, and in so doing He did what is impossible for us to do for ourselves, He saved us from our sins. With God all things are indeed possible.

In order to have Christ's payment for our sins applied to us personally, each one of us needs to repent and believe in Him. In His preaching, Jesus said, "Or those 18 upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think they were worse sinners than all other men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, No, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:4-5). Again, the apostle John says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."

Finally, real repentance means giving up on ourselves and trusting in Christ. In Rom. 10:9 the apostle Paul summarizes Christian faith, "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

All of which brings us back to Easter. Just because Christ has died for our sins and risen from the dead, those who trust in Him look forward to their own Easter, when they too will rise from death to "dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23:6).

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