Every spring, the world acknowledges Christ’s resurrection, via the Easter holiday. It has been said that Jesus’ physical emergence from the grave—corroborated by eyewitness testimony and resulting in the birth of history’s largest faith group—is the most verifiable fact of the ancient world. Think of the implications of Jesus’ victory over death: It moved pious Jews to abandon a centuries-long observance of Saturday sabbath to begin worshipping on Sunday (“resurrection day”).
It is significant to reflect on the freedoms we have through Jesus Christ. His hard-won victory on the cross gives us these five liberties:
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:22,
“In Adam all die.”Physical death—and the risk of spiritual death—are universal realities because of the sin we inherit from Adam and Eve. In Christ we are forgiven, promised a home in heaven and are set free from guilt.
We have all known the right but done the wrong. Sinful actions not only put a wedge between us and God, they result in numerable negative repercussions. Christ forgives our sins, and the indwelling Holy Spirit can give us the strength to overcome temptations.
If we are willing, God’s Spirit can even help us overcome sinful habits that may have held us in bondage for years. Whether the issue is a gnawing remorse over past bad decisions, feelings of worthlessness, emotional pain from abuse or just fear about tomorrow, Jesus gives us peace within. The Gospel is our way to peace with God and is also the key to peace with ourselves.
Jesus is in the process of restoring a broken world. “Eschatology” is an 85-cent word that refers to what the Bible says about “last things.” One day the entire world and universe will be made brand new (Revelation 21:5). Just as there is a global, universal eschatology, Jesus gives us a joyous personal eschatology! This fallen world is under judgment, but Jesus has made the believer exempt!
Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for people to die once- and after this, judgment.”We may not want to think about our own mortality, but it is unavoidable. There is a date that we will leave this world, and God knows when that date is. It is very freeing to know that we are ready to face God! Not long ago, I was asked to visit the friend of a friend who had been arrested and put in jail. As a minister of the Gospel, requests like this come along more than you might imagine. It is an honor to do such things, and when people find themselves in the deepest of valleys, they are very often quite open to allowing Jesus Christ to become Lord of their life.
The facility was very bleak, with rough gray concrete everywhere and seemingly endless hallways of bars and flaking paint. Not surprisingly, an air of gloom and hopelessness permeated the place, and this was reflected on the faces of the inmates.
The particular jail where I visited this inmate had a very small courtyard in the middle of the building. There were a few concrete squares in an otherwise dirt enclosure. The dusty courtyard area reminded me of forlorn places I have been in developing nations. Suddenly I noticed a small flower growing up against the concrete wall in one corner. It was the only bit of vegetation in this otherwise lifeless place. Invisibly, some breeze had carried a grain of pollen over the roof and into this small open area within the prison facility. The bleakness of the surroundings made that one little flower all the more vivid. When you think of the bondage, sufferings and entanglements that permeate this world, the freedoms that we have through Christ appear all the more precious. Jesus is the flower of beauty in a barren, dusty place. He absolves the guilty who are imprisoned by sin. The heart longs for freedom—and finds it in Christ.