Easter weekend is the time that a greater portion of the world pauses to respect Christians who hold this time as a holy holiday. So far, so good, but what Easter represents is so much more than just a holy holiday.
Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection marked the beginning of the New Age of the Kingdom, or, the New Covenant. Jesus passes on His authority to all believers who are now commissioned to announce or proclaim the Good News of Grace, the Gospel of His Empowering Presence.
We’re in that “New Age” right now!
Jesus never meant that we should feel abandoned by God, and never meant that we should be constantly questioning whether or not we belong. We do belong as God regards all who believe in Jesus as His sons and daughters. We’re His family now and we should never feel that we do not qualify to stay connected with Him. We are made righteous because of our choice to believe in Jesus. Great news indeed!
What does this mean?
Let’s go back to New Testament times to understand (in brief) what they understood. In keeping with the theme of this post, I am equating Jesus’ death and resurrection with God’s empowering Grace, and we get to live a life that is lived after the cross, not leading toward it.
Grace (Jesus’ death and resurrection) is a powerful demonstration of God’s Love We’re in the new age of God’s Transforming Love
And just as Moses in the desert lifted up the brass replica of a snake on a pole for all the people to see and be healed, so the Son of Man is ready to be lifted up, so that those who truly believe in him will not perish but be given eternal life. For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.
“God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! So now there is no longer any condemnation for those who believe in him…” – John 3:14-18a (TPT)
Grace (Jesus’ death and resurrection) made the coming of the Holy Spirit possible. The Holy Spirit is God’s empowering Presence. He is Grace.
The New Age of the Kingdom is the New Age of powerful and empowering Grace. Grace not only gives us eternal life by believing in Jesus, it (He) also gives us the power of righteousness. We cannot separate Grace from the Holy Spirit, a point not really recognized by those who lead the Reformation. They rightly said that righteousness was achieved by faith in Jesus alone, but they didn’t go on from there and say that the faith-only provision of righteous also included, by faith also, the gift of the presence of the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit. He “righteousizes” us. In other words the Holy Spirit fully completes our sanctification by faith!
Technical perhaps, but I want to emphasize that God gives us, in Jesus, a complete righteousness, guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.
We just don’t commence the righteousness process by being justified in Jesus, and then complete it (sanctification) by our efforts.
The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are equal and powerful effectors of both our relationship with God, and also our full righteousness.
No wonder the Cross and it’s aftermath is so powerful.
I refuse to be ashamed of sharing the wonderful message of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ! For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved—the Jew first, and then people everywhere! This gospel unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness—a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe. And it moves us from receiving life through faith, to the power of living by faith. This is what the Scripture means when it says:
“We are right (“righteous” NIV, ESV) with God through life-giving faith!” – Romans 1:16-17 (TPT)
Our response should simply be, “YES, Jesus!”
Much Grace to you! – David