Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 Acts 10:34-43
May these words and our thoughts be acceptable to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
During Lent in our Bible discussions we have been thinking about Christ Crucified. Tragically Christ’s Crucifixion happened because of all the wrongs that we had ever done, which have to be accounted for and erased. As a plain fact, we owe God loyalty, so how can we be loyal and still go against His laws and teachings. We can’t, but we do. We owe God everything, life itself, so what more can we give to make up for our delinquency ? We can’t. We hear about winning athletes who gave 110%. You and I know that’s just a figure of speech, to emphasise how much effort they put into whatever they achieved, but practically it is an impossibility; it’s an exaggeration. We cannot give more than all we have. It’s not possible to donate someone else’s blood ! We only have what we have.
So we are defenceless when we face God, and He asks us how we are going to make up for our wrongdoing. In the world of crime and punishment it would be game over for us. We would lose our life because we could not meet our debt, and it is all that we have left to give. That means extinction for us.
But Easter proves we have a lifeline, someone else’s blood, someone who had no debt of His own that He had to pay Himself, someone who was totally in sync with God. Guess what there is only one way to be totally in sync with God and that is to be God. For a mere mortal, being like God, is impossible. We were made in God’s image alright but we were not made of the same stuff as God. We are dust, and you’ve got to know that dust is not the most desirable or reliable thing around. We would fail. God knows that, but I think wanted to see if the other attributes He gave us would redeem us. Well they didn’t perhaps they couldn’t. Did God set us up for failure then ? No, because we had freewill. We could have had a clean sheet, if we had really tried. We didn’t because there is another thing that goes along with freewill – temptation. Temptation, you nearly doomed us to the grave forever.
But Easter changed that. God never desired harm or death for us. We are God’s children, only someone deranged, like the Turpins of California, who mistreated their twelve children, would do that. God loves us because we are His unique creation. We are the only creatures created in His image. We were going to be saved from obliteration by our loving God, even if that meant God taking all our ugliness away from us and onto His own shoulders. Like when a young child eats chocolate cake, we wipe away the mess, not in anger but with love. God did that when it came to this last week.
First God showed us how we should behave; being servants to each other; and loving one another. Then God showed us how we could be redeemed from our sins; by the sacrament of Holy Communion. Then God went out and made that symbolism real; by submitting to Death by Crucifixion. Then God went the final step; He overcame Death, and gives us thereby the gift of life forever more.
So now we must go from proclaiming Christ Crucified to Christ is Risen !
Now that is a message, the most joyful message, anyone could want to hear ! Because He lives, we live ! Regardless of the sin factor we have no ability to live forever in ourselves. We’ve got these dusty old bodies. Only the spirit can live forever, God is Spirit and this is how we are truly made in God’s image. We have spirit too, and Paul tells us that when we give-up our dusty remains, we pick-up a spiritual body, one that never needs dusting-off, because we will have got rid of that old demon Temptation.
Because of Easter we will live forever totally in sync with God, because we will be made, at last, of the same stuff as God. Now that is worth thinking about.
Can you imagine a life, where you had certainty about the right thing all the time, and that everyone else had the same opinion, that no one was hurt or disadvantaged by it, and everyone prospered by it ? That’s Heaven, where you are headed.
Can you imagine a life, where goodness and plenty exist for everyone, where if you take something you are not taking it from someone else ? That’s Heaven, where you are headed.
Can you imagine a life, where nothing dies, ever, where trees and flowers are perpetually in bloom, where brooks and streams gurgle by and don’t foam at the edges with pollution ? That’s Heaven, where you are headed.
Can you imagine a life, where you are in the perpetual presence of God, where you don’t ever have to wonder where God is when you seek Him in prayer ? That’s Heaven, where you are headed.
And in the here and now, the new Heaven and the new Earth, God is creating is in you. Living in peace and harmony with your family, friends and nature ? Living in accord with God’s Law takes away most of the strife we have in this life, because strife lives within us. There will always be conflict with others because many people go their selfish way, but as believers headed for the Promised Land we have the chance to show others a better way of life. What more could you want ? And remember this is all possible because of Easter. Thanks be to God. Amen.