Easter is one of those wonderful times of the year for us to get back to the basics, and to once again ask the question “why?”
“Why did Jesus have to die?” “Why would Christians celebrate this event?” “Why would we decorate our churches with crosses, or wear crosses around our necks?”
Consider Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Think about what Paul says there – He’s already rammed home the point that all people are sinful. We can’t minimise or balance out our sin by good deeds – we’re guilty of crimes against the God who gives us life and breath and everything else.
So Paul says what our punishment is. “The wages of sin is death.” And we’ve earned our wages. We’ve done the crime, now we do the time.
But that’s not the end of the story! This is where Easter comes in, because the one person who didn’t earn those horrible wages is the one who received them! Jesus lived the perfect life we couldn’t, died the death we should have, and gives us a free gift which we didn’t deserve and couldn’t earn. A gift we receive when we repent and believe: Eternal life.
This is the gospel, the good news. This is why we celebrate Easter. Christ died to save sinners, to give them eternal life. And he proved it by being raised to life again himself. The one who gives life freely is alive now.
Why celebrate Easter? Because the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Join us this Easter as we consider the work of Jesus on the cross and rejoice that God raised him from the dead.
Death. It’s an event that fills people with fear, uncertainty and grief. Many around us are desperate to shut their eyes to it. While we include it in movies and TV shows to attempt to lessen our fear, we avoid thinking seriously about it as much as possible.
The way we deal with death is vastly different from our past. Death has been placed in the hands of the funeral industry. Caskets are closed. Funerals are a celebration of life but no longer also a time to mourn their loss.
But, as always, the Bible refuses to let us hide from the truth. Death is not merely a tragedy. As Paul says in Romans 6:23, ‘For the wages of sin is death.’ No matter how far we run, death is coming. It is the judgement of a holy God against sinners. All of us have rebelled against this life-giving God, which led to the entirely appropriate judicial sentence of death.
This is why we fear death. We know it is wrong, an intruder on what should be our experience of this world. We have an innate sense that we should live forever, which expresses itself in beauty products and medical technology.
Death is the wages that all of us are owed and will one day pay. But Paul continues in Romans 6:23, ‘But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Here is our hope. This is what a world full of people ignoring the realities of death need to hear. We all deserve death, but we can escape it. God in his mercy has provided a way. In Christ he died our death, so we could have life. But only if we are in Christ. What a story we have to tell the nations.