Easter Sunday brings families together for dinners, Easter egg hunts, and church. However, there’s more to this holiday than candy and the Easter Bunny. This is the time to remember Christ’s resurrection from the grave. As I was reminded at our sunrise service, this wonderous event needs to be in our minds all throughout the year, not just on Resurrection Sunday. Christ’s death and resurrection is valuable to every person because of these five simple facts found in the book of Romans.
1. Peace with God
I’ve talked about the peace chart I used for my kids when they were younger. It was with the idea to help them get along and for me to keep my sanity. When they kept the peace, they experienced an absence of conflict (which pleased me to no end) and harmony. With Christ’s death and resurrection, we can experience this same lack of conflict and harmony with God. This takes on an even bigger meaning when we realize that on the scale of goodness, God is a 10 while the best person you can think of may come to a 9. This is important when we take into consideration that nothing below a 10 can get into heaven! Due to Christ’s sacrifice, we can have peace with God.
2. Grace to stand
Not only can we have peace with God, but we can find grace to stand. Here on the Oregon Coast, we have massive wind storms. We watch as trees topple and waves roll. However, there is one thing that stands the storms–the lighthouses. They can take the beating and still guide ships safely ashore. That’s the idea behind the word to stand. It’s an immovable object. Taking into consideration the idea of our good deeds being no better than filthy rags in comparison to Christ, we can’t stand on our own. We need His grace–undeserved merit.
I think of the movie The Fox and the Hound when I think of grace. There’s a scene at the end where the hunter has Tod in his sights and is ready to shoot, but Copper steps over Tod and fills the gun sights. This is what Christ’s resurrection has done for us. God the hunter sees our sins and knows the penalty is death, but Christ steps in front of us and says, “I paid that penalty.”
3. Hope of heaven
How often have you said, “I hope it doesn’t rain today”? If you live on the Oregon Coast that’s a pretty weak hope considering we’ve received almost 45 inches of rain so far this year! (Yep, it’s been a wet winter.) Our hope of heaven is much more secure than a hope it won’t rain. It’s more of the expectant anticipation of a child on Christmas morning who’s seen the pile of presents and knows there’s several under the tree for her or him. We can know we’re headed to heaven because Christ has paid our debt.
I love singing the song Because He Lives by Bill and Gloria Gather. I remember singing it growing up. When I was in high school, I’d sing for special music at church. One lady always enjoyed hearing me sing, but due to cancer she soon wasn’t able to come to church. One day during a phone call to see how she was, she asked me to sing for her. She requested this song. The words of the final verse always bring tears to my eyes now because of that memory. “And then one day, I’ll cross that river. I’ll fight life’s final war with pain, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.”
4. Experience God’s love
Love fills our culture, but the love shown in movies, books, and TV is a conditional love based on what we can receive back. God’s love is unconditional; it is given even when we are His enemies! Because of this, once we experience His love, we can share it unconditionally as well. It’s like a full cup of coffee that’s filled to the brim and overflowing.
5. Joy of God
One final benefit of the resurrection is we can experience joy. This is one of those elusive ideas. Many people think of joy as happiness or walking around with a smile on our faces even though things go bad. That’s not what joy is. I can tell you there was no smile on my face when my friend told me of her daughter taking her own life, and yet the days that followed contained a peace, a contentment knowing God was in control, and an ability to sing. Last April, when I discovered I needed to publish my books independently, saw many ups and downs as well as a bucket load of tears. However, through it all, I could rest assured knowing God had it all under control. That is my definition of joy.
In today’s society, we have become an unchurched people; yet if someone is to attend church, it mostlikely will be on Christmas or Easter. I link the two holidays in my mind. My Christmas plays blend the story of Christ’s birth with his death and resurrection. I could not live without the firm assurance that I can face uncertain days because my Savior lives.