The Easter story is the focal point of God’s plan of redemption for humanity. It was so important that time is marked from that day forward—what God did for us, in Jesus, divided history into before and after. The only Son of God was sacrificed so that we might be justified, redeemed and restored to a right relationship with God.
Sadly, for many in the world, life goes on as usual. Refusing to believe in the saving power of the blood of Christ, perhaps even refusing to acknowledge a need for salvation, many continue in sin. As Christians, our primary duty is to proclaim the good news of the gospel. The good news starts with some bad news: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT); “The payment for sin is death” (Romans 6:23 NCV).
That’s very bad news. But each of those verses has a second and opposite clause: “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Romans 3:24 NLT); “But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NCV).
That’s very good news! God’s redemption, given to us for free! Well, it’s free to us, but it cost him a great deal: “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place” (Hebrews 10:19-20 NLT).
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross cost him everything, but it’s worth everything to us. We can be truly free and inherit eternal life with him. He does this to repair the relationship between us that was broken by our sin—God wants to have fellowship with us: “Count on this: God is faithful and in his faithfulness called you out into an intimate relationship with his Son, our Lord Jesus the Anointed” (1 Corinthians 1:9 VOICE).
In any relationship there is give-and-receive. Because we are in fellowship, we desire to please the other person. Paul gave us some challenging instructions on what would be appropriate, given God’s great love for us: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1).
Sacrifice is a word we don’t like to think about: we don’t want to give up in order for someone else to benefit. Yet that’s exactly what God did for us. Paul considers that offering our bodies in sacrificial devotion to God is the true and proper way to worship him. As Christians, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to God, and doing his will, sharing in his holy work, is only fitting.
I hope that this Easter will challenge us to be even more intentional about doing the work of Christ. Our international leaders have declared 2017 the year for The Whole World Mobilising. In Canada and Bermuda, we know how important this is. We have mobilized already and our strategic priorities are urging us upward, outward and onward. There is much to do for the kingdom of God, but we do it together, in partnership with each other and in fellowship with God himself.
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:4-6).