Hope for Living: Only Jesus could bring reconciliation

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John Wakeman is pastor of Greenfield Faith Church.

The celebration on Easter Sunday highlights the foundational event of the Christian faith.

We know what transpired during the last week of Jesus’ earthly life that we call Holy Week. It started with the joyous Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem. Jesus then taught and prayed for much of the days leading up to Thursday evening, when He shared the Last Supper with His disciples.

Later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed and arrested. He was nailed to a cross on Good Friday and spent a portion of three days in a grave, until Sunday morning. We know these facts, but let’s dig a little deeper.

From before the beginning of time, God knew that sin would separate us from Himself. The justice of the Holy God had to be satisfied by the punishment of death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Leviticus 17:11 tells us that life is in the blood and that the blood makes atonement for one’s life.

God could not excuse sin and pretend it never happened, even as much as He loves us. The price had to be paid, a price that would prove much too costly for us.

Jesus volunteered to pay the price of our sins (John 10:18). No one forced Him to take our place. Jesus did it because He loves us. And for that we should be extremely grateful!

Jesus, as fully man and fully God, was the only one who could have been this sacrifice. Unless He was human, He could not have represented our fallen race. Also, only a human could die; God can’t. And, unless He was God, He couldn’t have been without sin, and couldn’t have been our substitute. If Jesus had sin, He would have had to have paid for His own sins, not ours.

Ephesians 1:7 tells us that we have redemption in the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins, because of God’s grace and love for us. With God’s wrath satisfied, we can then have peace with God and enjoy His blessings forever.

On the cross, Jesus endured the wrath of God, which we cannot possibly comprehend, for the payment of our sins. The crucifixion of Jesus is a substitutional death. Jesus died, instead of us.

With His sacrifice, we are forgiven and reconciled to God. We can only receive this forgiveness by faith, not by anything we could do to earn it. There is nothing we could do that would even come close to what Jesus has done.

When we believe in the work of Christ, it is as if an accounting entry had been made in the books of Heaven. The Divine Bookkeeper cancels our debt. Our sins can be placed, or credited, to Jesus when we welcome Him into our lives.

Not only are our sins forgiven, but we have the righteousness of Jesus credited to us. Our perfect God can only let perfect people into Heaven. While we couldn’t be perfect on our own, we can be perfect when we are with the One who is: Jesus.

Praise God that Jesus did conquer sin and death for us! These can be offensive words to many, but life-giving words for others.

We worship a living God, Jesus Christ our Lord. With Christ’s death, our sins are forgiven. Through His burial, our sinful self dies.

With Christ’s resurrection that we celebrate on Easter Sunday, we are raised to life. We are prepared for eternal life in Heaven one day.

Be sure to not miss out on this free gift from God. Open your heart to Jesus and let Him in. Let the love of God, and the joy of our salvation, flow through us all, this day and every day!

John Wakeman is pastor of Greenfield Faith Church. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.