• O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. [Isa 26:13 NASB]. Your face, LORD, do I seek. [Psa 27:8 ESV].

Easter and the Gospel of Jesus Christ

All quoted Scripture is ESV.

Today is Resurrection Sunday or what many call Easter Sunday. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and we say, “Christ has risen.” But what does this mean? Christ died for our sins and He rose again from the grave, but why did He have to die?

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” This is the first verse in the Bible. In this chapter, the Bible tells us everything God made was good. This means everything was pure and sinless; there was no decay.

The second chapter describes how God created man and how He placed man in the Garden, gave him work to do and warned him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the East, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. . . The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” [Gen 2:8-9, 15-17].

Man was created in an innocent state, but he disobeyed God and he ate of this tree. He fell into sin and earned the curse of death upon himself and mankind continued in his sin.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. [Gen 6:5].

Even to this day, man continues in his sin; every one of us. Our hearts are rebellious toward God. We are selfish, we do bad things and we think bad thoughts. The Bible tells us:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. [Rom 3:23].

There is nothing righteous in ourselves. The Bible tells us all our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa 64:6). No matter how good we try to be, our goodness is full of sin and our good works cannot atone for our sin.

But God had a plan. Before He created the world, He had a plan to save man. Before He made a covenant with man, He made a covenant with Himself. God, Himself, would die for man; the Bible says it pleased the Father to crush His Son on our behalf. Jesus Christ came to earth, to be born as a man. He lived a perfect, sinless life and became the spotless sacrifice; then He suffered the wrath of God on our behalf.

The Prophet Isaiah, in the 52nd and 53rd chapters, gives us this account of Christ’s suffering on our behalf:

Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
He shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted. [We see, God has declared He has done this for His glory. Philippians chapter 2 tells us, though Christ was God, He did not cling to His glory but He came to earth to become a man and to die for man and now God has exalted His name above every name.]
. . .
His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and His form beyond that of the children of mankind—
so shall He sprinkle many nations. [We are saved by His blood. This is a picture of Moses sprinkling the people with the blood of the sacrifice. The Bible says without blood there is no forgiveness of sin.]
. . .
Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him,
and no beauty that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed Him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities; [though it appeared He had brought this on Himself, He was sinless; it was OUR sin which put Him on the cross. God crushed Him for OUR sin.]
upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with His wounds we are healed. [The Apostle Paul tells us He nailed our sins to the cross (Col 2:14).]
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and He was afflicted,
yet He opened not His mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so He opened not His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
. . .
although He had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in His mouth.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; [twice now, this passage says Christ was crushed for us and here the prophet says it was the Father’s WILL to crush His Son on our behalf.]
He has put Him to grief;
when His soul makes an offering for guilt,
He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. [God accepted the guilt offering, the sacrifice, of His Son. The death of His Son satisfied His wrath and by His death, He redeemed His people.]
Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied;
by His knowledge shall the righteous One, My servant,
make many to be accounted righteous, [The Apostle Paul wrote that Christ took our sin upon Himself and has given to us His righteousness. Those who believe in the Son, God sees them as righteous.]
and He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the many,
and He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because He poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet He bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors. [Christ sits at the Father’s right hand, making intercession for those who follow Him.]
[Isa 52:13-53:12].

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter three, just after he told us “all have sinned,” that God the Father put forward His Son to be our propitiation. A propitiation is something that satisfies God’s wrath. Many professing Christians don’t like to talk about God’s wrath. But God determined His Son would satisfy His wrath for all those who receive Jesus Christ by faith. Then, Paul wrote something very curious: he wrote, in verse 25 of Romans chapter 3:

This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

What was the time when God had passed over mans’ sins? Remember in Genesis chapter two: God told Adam, the day he eats from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he will surely die. But man did not die that very day. To be sure, man brought death upon himself, but God redeemed man that very same day by the blood of animals. He used the flesh of animals as a covering for man; that is, God made clothing for man. Then, God required blood of animals to be the covering for mans’ sin until the time of the Redeemer. The blood of animals could not atone for sin; it was a type of Christ’s sacrifice and the animal sacrifices pointed man to a coming Redeemer. So, it appeared to many men and to all the principalities that God had passed over mans’ sins. It appeared to man and to principalities that God was not truly just; He appeared to be lenient; it appeared there was some wiggle room with God.

Who could know it was God’s plan from the beginning to crush Himself, to bear upon Himself His wrath against man and that He should become man in order to accomplish this? His plans are greater than the human mind can comprehend and greater than all the minds of the principalities and all those who oppose Him. Colossians 2:15 says God disarmed rulers and principalities and put them to open shame by raising His Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead.

The Apostle Paul wrote, Jesus became our propitiation, the One who satisfied the wrath of God on our behalf. And the Prophet Isaiah wrote, it pleased God to crush Him on our behalf. This was, according to Romans 3:26 “to show God’s righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ.” In other words, God’s wrath is real and though it took some time for His wrath against sin to be atoned, at the proper time God crushed His Son on our behalf; proving His justice and proving He, alone, is the justifier of man. For no man can be justified without coming to Christ by faith.

The Apostle Paul stated this again in another passage. When confronting the men at Mars Hill, he said:

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead. [Act 17:30-31].

Once again, this “times of ignorance” is the same thing he wrote in Romans chapter three, where he said, “in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” Paul declared the Redeemer had come and God has proven this by raising Him from the dead. Hallelujah, Christ is risen!

If Christ was not the Son of God, why would God raise Him from the dead? If God was not satisfied with the sacrifice of His Son, why would He raise Him from the dead?

Christ has risen! On Easter Sunday, the world rejoices; we celebrate. Some people buy new clothes. The pulpits across the world declare Christ’s victory. But many people, most people, miss the point.

Let us read that last passage of Scripture, once again. Acts 17:30-31. It says:

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead.

What Christ did by bearing the wrath of God, was NOT just a mere symbolic act done long ago and in the past. It is NOT something He did so people going to church on Easter Sunday can have the false assurance of eternal life. It is a fearful thing that He arose from the dead. The passage says, “God commands all people everywhere to repent.” And the passage warns us, God has fixed a day when He will judge everyone in the world by this man, Jesus Christ. Christ’s resurrection is God’s declaration judgment is coming!

What Christ did was pour out His life, enduring God’s wrath to redeem all those who follow Him by faith. If we have repented and follow Christ, we can rejoice and celebrate Christ has risen! But those who have not repented and do not obey Christ, should not think lightly of this Easter Sunday. This passage tells us, Christ coming out of the grave is a warning, judgment is coming.

In another passage, the Bible tells us it is appointed unto man to die once and after this to face the judgment (Heb 9:27). In John 3:18, the Bible tells us if we have not received Jesus Christ, we are condemned already. Christ did not suffer God’s wrath for everyone. Many professing Christians and preachers will be surprised to learn this. But in John 3:36, the Bible tells us Christ suffered the wrath of God for those who believe and follow Him; to them He has given eternal life. Those who disobey Christ, do not believe, and the wrath of God REMAINS upon them. The gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ, in the words of Jesus Christ, is “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” [Mat 3:2].

My friend, have you repented of your sin? Have you received Jesus Christ? If you feel convicted by this message, do not let salvation pass you by. The Bible says, “Today is the day of salvation.” [2Co 6:2].

You may ask, how do you receive Jesus Christ? The answer is, you repent of your sin and you receive Jesus Christ as the sole payment for your sin. You cannot add to what Jesus Christ has already done for you. If you believe anything else can save you or that you can help complete your salvation in any way, you cannot be saved. A sinner’s prayer won’t save you; making a decision for Christ won’t save you. Salvation is the work of God, but we are called to act. But it is not our action which saves us; so don’t take credit for it. The Bible tells us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and we will be saved.

If we believe, we will obey. How do we obey? We repent and we seek Christ. We seek Christ by studying His Word. This is Christ producing fruit in us, according to John chapter 15. He said if we truly believe, we will abide in Him, we will be in His Word. Jesus said if you are in the Word and the Word is in you, then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (Joh 8:31-32). Jesus said, in John chapter 6, He is the bread of life. We need to eat this bread. This means if we believe, we will get into the Word and chew on it; grow in it.

Today, if you believe, repent of your sin, receive Jesus Christ, alone, as your Savior and Lord; then get into the Word and grow in Him. He has risen, but His victory is only given to those who believe and follow Him.

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