Easter – God’s Compass
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.2 Timothy 1:9-10 (KJV)
Introduction – The Great Manifestation
Easter is the focal point and apex of God’s plan; the central peak that defines it, and that separates history into “before” and “after.” In fact, Easter is the single most encouraging moment in history.
Why is Easter so important? Because during his life on earth, and ultimately at Easter, Jesus manifested himself to us. To manifest means to reveal and make known.
In fact, as the verses for this lesson state, Jesus came to us not just as both a sinless man and God, but as God’s purpose.
Jesus was and is the manifestation of God’s plan which found its final revelation at Easter, when Jesus rose from the grave on the third day. Easter then stands as a compass, pointing us to God and his truths.
In the rest of this lesson we’re going to learn some of the most important things relating to God that Easter points us to.
Easter Points Us to God’s Plan of Salvation and Redemption
First, Paul says that Jesus’s appearing made manifest God’s plan to save and redeem mankind.
Before Easter, salvation could be attained through faith in God. (Gen. 15:6) Moreover, God’s purpose – to call us and save us from our sins – and his grace, the mechanism by which such a purpose comes to fruition, were granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
Nevertheless, God fully realized his plan on Easter. Everything that the Old Testament had alluded to came to pass the morning Jesus left his tomb.“Through Jesus’s death, mankind was given the greatest gift – forgiveness.”
Not only that, but Easter and in particular Jesus’s resurrection, are evidences that God’s plan is true. What was in the Old Testament a distant hope, was now a fully realized reality. Salvation was here, not just figuratively but literally in the person and work of Jesus.
After Jesus rose from the grave three days after being crucified on a cross for mankind’s sins, the world was forever changed. Through Jesus’s death, mankind was given the greatest gift – forgiveness.
Easter then is mankind’s ultimate and supreme comfort because on Easter Jesus did what no religious system or person could ever do – forgive us of our sins.
There is nothing that God cannot do. He can save even the most wicked of sinners, and can forgive to the uttermost because he has the power to do so, not us.
Easter points us to Jesus’s gift to the world – salvation and redemption through the forgiveness of sins made possible by his death, burial and resurrection.
Easter Points Us to God’s Grace and Holy Calling
Jesus brought God’s grace to us thorough his appearing on earth and resurrection on Easter.
God saves us by grace alone, and by grace it is meant that he gives us what we do not deserve, forgiveness and eternal life. (Eph. 2:8-9)“God wants you to give up any faith you have in yourself and things and place your faith and trust in him alone instead.”
Likewise, Jesus was and is the manifestation of God’s holy calling. God’s calling is his invitation to sinners to come to him for the forgiveness, rest and salvation they so desperately thirst for, long for and need. (Jn. 4:14, Jn. 6:35)
It is a holy calling because only God can save, and he uses the Holy Spirit to draw us to himself. (Acts 4:12, Eph. 3:5) Conversely, we are not called according to any of our works but according to God’s purpose and grace in Jesus Christ. (2 Tim. 1:9)
God calls us to himself because he wants to, not because of our merits. He wants you to give up any faith you have in yourself and things (money, wealth, love, power, status, friends, etc.) and place your faith and trust in him alone instead.
This frees us from being burdened by our own works and endless striving. It allows us to rest in Jesus’s finished work on the cross.
Easter Points Us Away from Death and to Eternal Life
Jesus abolished death by coming to earth, living a perfect life, willingly dying for the sins of mankind as their perfect and only sacrifice and coming back to life three days after being crucified.
Easter then represents the “death of death,” – the day when death was overcome. This is why when we are saved we are not only crucified with Jesus, but raised with him and made alive, because he took our place in death (he died for us). (Col. 3:1, Col. 2:12-13) Thus, when we are saved our old man is passed away and all things become new.
Jesus overcame death and you can too, if you believe in him as your savior and repent of your sins, trusting him to save you through faith in him alone. (Rom. 10:9-10)“When we are saved we are not only crucified with Jesus, but raised with him and made alive, because he took our place in death.”
For those who do, death becomes merely an instantaneously passageway that serves as an entrance to God’s home and the mansion that he has prepared for those who are his. (Jn. 14:2)
Therefore, for the Christian, death’s power and dread are no longer to be feared.
While Easter and Jesus point us away from death, they also point us toward eternal life, for he who has found Jesus has found life abundant and eternal. (Jn. 10:10)
Paul tells us that Jesus’s appearing brought, and still brings, life and immortality to light through the gospel (the good news or God’s plan of salvation). (2 Tim. 1:10)
By life Paul means eternal life which encompasses the entire continuity of our lives – both the physical and the spiritual life. This is an immortal life that is incorruptible and without death. (1 Cor. 15:53)
However, by Adam’s sin and rebellion death entered into life and passed onto all men so that we are each born to die. (Rom. 5:12) Death is the punishment for our sins.
It is only by the new life that Jesus gives us in him, for he is life itself, that we can live an abundant and enteral life with him, renewed, cleansed and forgiven from all sin and no longer under God’s punishment or condemnation. (Jn. 10:10, Jn. 6:51, Jn. 14:6, 1 Jn. 5:11, Rom. 8:33, Rom. 8:1)
Ultimately, life without Jesus is no life at all but life with him is life to the fullest.
Easter points us to that marvelous eternal life.
Conclusion – The Forgiven Life
Jesus came not just to forgive you, but to give you eternal life with him. This is a new spiritual life in Christ and is what is meant by the phrase being “born again.” (Jn. 3:5-6) When you come to Jesus in faith he gives you new life in him. (2 Cor. 5:17)
This life is a real, authentic, eternal and true life. It’s a life where holiness and joy are greater than happiness, where becoming more like Christ is more important than attaining and achieving the world’s fleeting accolades. It’s a life where God’s approval matters more than man’s approval.“Jesus is the manifestation of God’s plan and purpose of redemption for mankind, and Easter stands as its great culmination whereby death was abolished, the grave overcome, sin paid for and forgiveness given.”
It’s a life where relationships and families are transformed to be what they were originally meant to be. It’s a life that finds its identity in Christ, a life that looks compassionately at others who do not know Jesus as souls in need of a savior and thankfully at those who do know Jesus as fellow citizens of heaven.
It’s a life freed from the power and fear of death, a life whose path in the present is a path of life that leads to future glory prepared and reserved. (1 Cor. 15:55, 1 Pet. 1:4, Ps. 16:11, Matt. 25:34)
It’s a consecrated life of service that is set apart and that loves God and others above oneself, a life that shines as a beacon in a lost and dying world. And most of all, it’s a forgiven life for without forgiveness the Christian life would never be possible.
The greatest ancient philosophers were unable to devise any answer to help man overcome his naturally wicked nature, sins, moral failures and evil tendencies. Nor have the finest minds of modern-day scholarship devised any way by which we can overcome ourselves.
Since Eden our nature is fixed, we’re born sinners who are naturally helpless and unable to find any forgiveness by our own means. No amount of effort, work or accolades can save us. But God has always had a plan for us.
Jesus is the manifestation of God’s plan and purpose of redemption for mankind, and Easter stands as its great culmination whereby death was abolished, the grave overcome, sin paid for and forgiveness given.
Have you accepted Jesus’s payment for your sins? My prayer is that this Easter you do, and that you relish the magnificent relief from guilt, peace that passes all understanding and eternal security that only a soul forgiven by Jesus can enjoy.
Soli Deo gloria!
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