I remember as a young girl looking so forward to Easter and all it entailed—dipping hard-boiled eggs into cups filled with various pastel dyes; unwrapping and eating way too many foiled chocolate eggs; buying a new dress, hat, shoes and even white gloves to wear to church on Easter morning before heading over to my grandparent’s house for an outdoor Easter egg hunt with our cousins and a delicious dinner. I was blessed to know our celebration had to do with Jesus’ death and resurrection. Raised as a Lutheran, our family went to church every Wednesday during Lent, attended Maundy evening services where we celebrated the ‘Last Supper’, and spent most of Good Friday afternoon in church hearing the seven ‘words’ Jesus spoke from the Cross. I recall thinking it very strange that the day on which Jesus died was named ‘Good Friday’—what could be ‘good’ about His death?--and thought it should’ve been called ‘Bad Friday’ instead. I also confess that at the time it didn’t seem like such a big deal that one person would die so that the rest of the world could live.
That was until I became an adult and knew without a doubt that I had sinned against God in thought, word, and deed. God graciously revealed to me that Jesus went to the cross for my sin. He didn’t just die the death that others deserved; he died the death that I deserved to die for my rebellion against Him, a holy God. As I studied His Word for myself, I realized more and more why ‘Good Friday’ is truly GOOD!!!
On my own, there was no way for me to ever be set free of my sin, my guilt and shame…but there was and is a Way, but only ONE Way! Only Jesus, the ‘unblemished Lamb’, the sinless ‘Son of God’ who chose to become the ‘Son of Man’ could atone for my sin. No one else could pay the debt I owed to God for my sin of rebellion against Him. Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Confucius, nor any other person who has ever lived, because everyone besides Jesus has sinned against God, and everyone else has or will die. ONLY Jesus came from the Father, is ‘one with God the Father’, rose from the grave-- and by doing so overcame death-- then ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of His Father, living to intercede for those who put their trust in Him. (John 6:38; 10:30; 16:28; Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:19; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 7:23; 12:2-3)
Jesus alone could do what you and I and no one else could ever do; pay the debt that we owed because of our sin against God. And there was only one price that could be paid in order to pay our debt, and Jesus was willing to pay it. The cost was His very own blood. And, by paying that debt, Jesus freed us from the death penalty that we deserved, which included hell and damnation. Only Jesus’ blood could deliver us from death and hell and restore us to a right relationship with God the Father. (Romans 6:23; John 1:12; John 3:16) His death and resurrection made it possible for you and I to receive total and complete forgiveness for our sin—to have the debt we owed due to our rebellion against God cancelled once and for all time. His death alone could bring reconciliation between you and me—sinners— and a holy God who hates and will judge sin. What a life-changing passage is found below in Romans 5:6-11 (verse 8 is bolded):
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. ESV
Jesus didn’t wait for us to get cleaned up before dying for us; He dies for us ‘while we were yet sinners’! Don’t listen to Satan’s lies when He tells you that Jesus couldn’t love you because your particular sin is too big. Jesus knew every sin you would ever commit when He went to the cross on your behalf, and He died and paid the debt for every one of them! Your sin is not greater than the power of Jesus’ blood that was shed to wash away your sin! God’s love for you is so much bigger than your sin! How great is His love for you? Consider His outstretched arms on the cross as He hung there dying for you. His love led Him to take your place on the cross and to make it possible for you to spend eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven.
Not only did Jesus’ death pay our debt and thereby set us free from the penalty of sin, which is death, but His triumphant resurrection from the grave made it possible for you and me to be set free from the power of sin in our lives as well! We now have the power to resist our own self-will and the lies of the enemy and we can choose not to sin! By the work of the Holy Spirit-- Who is alive in all who put their faith in Jesus’ atoning death-- we have the power to choose not to sin. Did you realize that? Do you truly understand the power that is available to you if you have received the gift of salvation that Jesus purchased for you on the cross? You don’t have to sin anymore! At the cross we not only leave behind our sin—our dirty rags-- we are also able to exchange our filthy rags for Jesus’ garment of righteousness! (Isaiah 64:6; Philippians 3:9) We go from being powerless against sin, to being able to live righteously and victoriously through the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in all who put their trust in Jesus! (Galatians 5:16) It took a long time for me to grasp all that Jesus’ death and resurrection purchased for me—and I’m sure I won’t have full understanding until I am joined with Him in Heaven. Below are some of the incredibly wonderful gifts I have because Jesus chose to die in my place, overcame death and the grave, and ascended into Heaven. All of them are also available to you if you are already a follower of Jesus, or, they can be if you choose to humble yourself, ask Him to forgive you of your sin, and choose to give Him your life and follow Him.
· I am forgiven and set free from the guilt and shame of my sin! (Psalm 32:5; Acts 10:43-44; 1st John 1:9)
· I have salvation in Christ! (Romans 10:10)
· I have a new life! I am truly a ‘new creation’ because I have been ‘born again’ and Christ now lives in me! (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:19-20)
· I am able to obey God, bear fruit that lasts, and live a life that is pleasing to Him! (John 15:1-17; Colossians 1:9-14; Galatians 5:16)
· I have an advocate with the Father who lives to intercede for me, whose Name is Jesus! (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1)
· I have the Holy Spirit who dwells within me and leads me into all truth, teaches me, helps and comforts me! (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16: 7,8,13; 1 Corinthians 2:10)
· I am set free from worry, anxiety, and fear and able to experience the peace that surpasses all human understanding! (Isaiah 26:3; John 8:36; Philippians 4:6-8; 1 John 4:8)
· I have power and strength and can do all things through Him! (Philippians 4:13)
· I am able to abide in Christ, obey His Word, and thereby bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. (John 15:4-10; Galatians 5:16; 22)
· I am no longer a slave to sin, but I am now set free to be a slave to righteousness. I know the Truth that sets me free from the lies of Satan; I am no longer ignorant of his schemes and deceitful ways and I can resist him and not succumb to his lies! (John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Romans 6:18; James 4:7)
· I have a new family that is comprised of other believers from throughout history, and from throughout the world, from every tongue and tribe and nation! (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Revelation 5:9; 7:9)
· I am a child of God, and as a child, an heir, and my inheritance is abundant life on earth and spending eternity with God, and with others who put their trust in His atoning work on their behalf, in Heaven! (John 3:16; 10:10; 28-29; 1 Peter 1:4
What about you? Do you realize all that is available to you because Jesus loved you so much that He died, rose from the dead, and now lives in you and intercedes for you? If you know you have been set free, are you walking in the freedom that Jesus purchased for you…that He gave His very life for you to have? Are you faithfully ‘going and telling’ others that they too can be set free from the shame and guilt of their sin? That they can have the power to live righteously before God because of the power of the Holy Spirit Who will reside in them if they choose to put their trust in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross on their behalf? Have you thanked Jesus today for choosing to go to the cross for you? And have you thanked the Father for His amazing love and His willingness to sacrifice His Beloved Son on your behalf?
*If you have not already committed your life to Christ, you can. He is longing to be in fellowship with you and for you to receive the love He has always had for you. He just asks you to ‘come to Him’. Simply humble yourself and tell Him that you are a sinner who needs a Savior. Acknowledge that He died the death you deserved to die when He took your place on the cross. Ask Him to come into your life and to live in you so that you can live a life that is pleasing to your Heavenly Father. Please feel free to reach out and contact us at the link below if you would like some more information on how you can grow in your relationship as a follower of Jesus. https://www.trueviewministries.org/contact
Written by Julie Van Gorp