Claim His Grace this Easter
Spring is my favorite season of the year. After a long and cold winter, snow melts, grass grows a vibrant green, flowers bloom, and the song of birds sweetly fills the air. The days feel much longer and the sun shines into the evening, giving promises of summer. With spring, we welcome the celebration of Easter and the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s a happy time all around. But like the changing of the seasons, spring only comes after a bitter winter and Easter comes only after the Fall (Genesis 3).
At the heart of Christianity, there is grace in abundance. Yet we cannot understand or appreciate it without knowing the depths of our sin. In the Old Testament, sacrifices of innocent animals were made to atone for our sins. Our sins were so grievous that the only way to be made clean, was to perform intricate rituals in the slaughter of innocent animals. And likewise, in the New Testament, we are made clean only by the sacrificial blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. The nails pierced through His hands, the crown of thorns laid on His head, the painful death He endured on the cross—was done at your hand. It was done at mine. It was our sin, the temptations we were unable to withstand that put Him there. Our temporary satisfaction and evil desires caused His torment on the cross.
At the heart of Christianity, there is grace in abundance.
I’ve been a Christian all my life. I was raised on these truths and believed them in my head, but struggled to believe them in my heart. In childhood, I spent a lot of time questioning why God would put certain challenges in my life and I portrayed myself as a victim. I was so blinded by my “wounds” that I couldn’t see how God had saved, defended, and protected me from even worse things. I took the Gospel message for granted. I grumbled and complained.
Yet, God extended to me an extra measure of grace while visiting Honduras. It was there, in a poor community, that I learned how richly I am blessed. Though I didn’t deserve it, God provided all of my needs and taught me to have compassion on those less fortunate than I. Though we don’t deserve it, God desires to take our heavy burdens and replace them with His light and easy yoke. All we need to do is be willing to give it to Him. Confession and surrender. This is when true freedom occurs.
In accepting Christ, we die to ourselves and our worldly desires (Romans 6:1-23). We die to the pain we once carried, because “the death He died, He died to sin once and for all” (Romans 6:10). It is no more. We are a new creation, dead to sin, and alive in Christ! Grace comes in! We are set free from sin and become slaves to righteousness, leading to holiness (Romans 6:18-19). This grace is so exceptional we can’t help but share His Easter story with everyone around us.
This is our purpose in life, when Christ comes in…
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I pray this Easter season may be a time of reflection for you, a time to acknowledge your sin as you remember the cross. Let us remind each other to die to ourselves every day, so that we can become more like Christ. And together—out of gratitude for everything God has done—I pray that we will share the Gospel, having confidence that He is with us to the very end of the age.
“For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb
Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.”
vs.3 and refrain of Jesus Paid it All—words by Elvina Hall (1865), music by John Grape (1868)