Thursday I began a series of articles (and a video) on Easter. I began by expressing what I feel are the ten ways we should rethink Easter. Today, on Easter sunday, in order to conclude this series here are 10 accomplishments of the cross.
Enjoy meditating on the success of the cross as we celebrate the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ today!
“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” – 2 Corinthians 5:19
Reconciliation involves God reaching us in the midst of our darkness and alienation. In the incarnation Jesus came and lived within our fallen existence and from that place He reconciled our fallen humanity back to God. As C. Baxter Kruger says, reconciliation involves giving us eyes to see and ears to hear. Jesus came to undo our fallen alienation and to reconcile us into fellowship with God.
#2 Freedom From Sin
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” – Romans 6:6
On the cross Jesus freed us once and for all from the sin nature by crucifying it. The fallen sinful man died on the cross with Jesus and was left buried in the grave. On Holy Saturday we talked about our inclusion into the dead of Christ, and our being buried with Him. In the tomb, our sin and shame was forgotten for good. We are entirely free from sin.
#3 Dead Defeated
“Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?”
-1 Corinthians 15:55 MSG
The death of the One who is Life Himself, means to undoing of the very fabric of death. Death has been robbed its power in the death of our Eternal Lord. Jesus reigns triumphant over death. The incorruptible Son of God, meets us in our death, and undoes that death. O death, where is your victory?
#4 New Life
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20 NKJV
Resurrection means new life. Resurrection means new creation. Resurrection means our old life is dead and gone, our new life has begun. We are new, sharing in the resurrection of Christ. Our new life is the very Life of the Son of God. We participate in the Life of the Son. He is our Life. New Life is Christ Jesus!
“Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'” – Luke 23:34
Forgiveness is a life giving pronouncement. Forgiveness imparts life. God forgives us out of sheer Grace and love. Jesus did not earn forgiveness for us. Jesus proclaimed forgiveness! The Father’s forgiveness is not wishful thinking, it is the reality that Jesus came to announce. We are forgiven by the sheer goodness and mercy of our Heavenly Father.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” – Romans 8:15-17
The eternal love-dream of God is to have us as His beloved children, adopted and included in His life. The Gospel announces our adoption into the very family of God. We have been included into the Trinitarian life of God, the inner relation between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No longer are we orphans, but sons and daughters of God.
#7 The Fall Undone
“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” – Romans 5:15
Through one man, Adam, death and sin entered into the world. Through another man, Christ, the last Adam, grace and life overcame the world. The death of Christ undid the fall of Adam and restored the human race back from the pit of darkness and corruption.
#8 Seated in Heavenly Places
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace inkindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:4-7
We have been included in Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. When He died, we died. When He raised, God quickened us to life with Him. When Jesus ascended to the right hand of His Father in heaven we too were seated in heavenly places, and given participation in the very Triune life of God Himself. The stunning news of the Gospel is not just that Jesus died to forgive us, but that Jesus died to include us in His life.
“…by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
Our brokenness is healed by His brokenness. When Christ entered into our fallen existence He healed it. By taking part in our suffering, He imparted healing to our humanity. As St. Gregory of Nazianzus said, “The unassumed is the unhealed.” It is through the perfect union of Christ with out fallen humanity that our fallen humanity takes part in His healing and wholeness.
“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” – 1 Corinthians 1:30
Sanctification is not a process we embark on, it is a gift. Actually, more accurately, sanctification is a person. It is Christ Himself, and our participation in His holiness and righteousness, that is our sanctification. Through the cross and our union with Christ we have received a perfect sanctification. We have been made righteous and new! No longer sinners, we are saints!
As we celebrate Easter, may we humbly and reverently praise God for His infinite goodness.
It is finished!
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