Christians celebrate Easter as the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and His victory over sin and death. It is because of His resurrection that we can be set free from the power of sin and the destruction caused by sin. Because of Christ's resurrection, we can be reconciled to God and become His beloved children. It is because of His resurrection that we can have victory over death and the grave - we can have eternal life!
We know He bore all the sins of all mankind on the cross, and paid for our sins fully and completely, once and for all. Yet many are unsure of why Jesus had to die. There were three reasons for Christ's death.
To defeat the enemy.
- To glorify the Father.
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. (John 12:27-28)
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
To provide atonement for sin for all that would believe.
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32)
Jesus knew He had come to earth to die, but not just any death. It had to be in God's timing, and in a way that would fulfill God's plan of salvation for mankind.
And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, unless a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. (John 12:23-24)
Christ knew His death would bring forth much fruit, just as a seed that is planted in the ground brings forth much fruit. So what are the fruits that His death brought ? The Bible uses a wide range of images to express the richness of the work of Christ, or the fruits of His death and resurrection. These images may be described as analogies, or metaphors. Each gives a piece of the whole picture, and all of them together give us a better sense of Christ's role in God's perfect plan to restore fallen man back to Himself. Let's look at some of these fruits.
Forgiveness: This can be seen in two ways. In legal or financial terms, forgiveness is like the cancellation of a debt. In terms of personal relationship, forgiveness means the setting aside of personal hurt or injury.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; ( Eph. 1:7)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
(1 John 2:12)
Atonement: Reparation for wrong, or sin; restoring to Divine favor; making one at one with God = “At-one-ment”.
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Rom. 5:11)
- Propitiation: An atoning sacrifice, appeasing Divine wrath and thus avoiding Divine retribution..
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.(1 John 2:2)
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
- Salvation: Deliverance or rescue from a dangerous situation. The word can also suggest restoration to wholeness, a healing.
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Heb. 5:9)
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
(1 Thes. 5:9)
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
- Ransom: A price paid to obtain someone’s freedom. The emphasis falls on the idea of being freed, not what that freedom cost - although it cost Jesus everything!
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Tim. 2:6)
Redemption: To “buy back,” or for a slave, buying freedom.
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Tit. 2:14)
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (Gal. 3:13)
- Reconciliation: Reepairing and restoring a broken relationship. God reconciles us to him. He acts to restore a friendship, and we respond to his initiative.
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.( Heb. 2:17)
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (Col. 1:21)
Justification: Being put right with God; a legal term meaning to be found to be not guilty of any wrong-doing, but declared by a court to be in the right. “Justified” = “JUST – (as) IF- I'D never sinned”
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Rom. 4:25)
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Rom. 5:1)
- Adoption: Making us legal children of God. Faith brings about a change in our status, from outsider to family member. The phrase “born again” suggests a different way to enter the family we are not "born" into the family, but "born again" into it, by adoption.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
- Sanctification: The ongoing process of growing in grace and Godliness, becoming more and more holy, being transformed more and more into the very image of Jesus Christ.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (1 Cor. 1:30)
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:11)
For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Heb. 2:11)
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Heb. 10:10)
At Easter, we celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead, because through His victory over death and hell, Jesus provided everything we need to be once again be perfect and blameless in God's sight, perfectly restored to righteousness and a right relationship with God, our Creator. Jesus provided our forgiveness, our atonement, our propitiation, our salvation, our ransom, redemption, our reconciliation, our justification, our adoption into the family of God, and our sanctification. And that my friends, is reason to celebrate! Alleluia, and Amen!