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What Easter Says About You
Christians rightly celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus this week—but do we fully understand why? Sure, we all know that Jesus died for our sins. But do we really know what that means for us?
Holy Week is upon us. Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, giving way to Maundy Thursday, when Jesus celebrated the Supper with his disciples; “Good” Friday, when he was tried and delivered over to be crucified; Holy Saturday, when he rested in the grave; and then Resurrection Sunday, when he was raised.
Christians rightly celebrate this week, but do we really know why?
Sure, we all know that Jesus died for our sins. But do we know what that means? It means that he bore all of the wrath, shame, guilt, and punishment that was rightfully ours because of our sin. He bore it all.
He also bore all the isolation, exile, and abandonment that we deserve. He bore it all in our place. He is our “propitiation” (1 John 4:10)—that means that all of God’s wrath for all of our sin has already been poured out on him in our place. Good news? Yes, immeasurably so! But that’s not all.
The curse is lifted
Christ’s resurrection also means that the curse of death for disobedience that had held sway over the entire human race, from Adam onward, has been obliterated. When Adam and Eve sinned, the punishment of death fell upon us all. But when Jesus died on the cross and spoke those glorious words, “It is finished” (John 19:30), he meant that he had fulfilled every obligation to die for disobedience because of the Law’s curse.
Sure, we all know that Jesus died for our sins. But do we know what that means?
No longer would his people suffer the punishment sin requires. The curse of death for disobedience has been satiated. “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17) has been silenced. How? Why?
The curse of death for disobedience has been silenced because, for believers, there is no longer any Law we have to obey to merit life. The Law has been silenced, but it can only be silenced when it is has been perfectly fulfilled—when it has been completed. And that’s just what Jesus did.
The Law is fulfilled
When Jesus said, “I have not come to abolish [the Law] but to fulfill” it (Matt. 5:17), he wasn’t speaking metaphorically. Fulfilling all the Law’s demands is what he spent his life doing: obeying every command and loving his Father and his neighbor perfectly. Why? So that the Law, being completely fulfilled, would pass into obsolescence, and could no longer threaten us with the sentence of death. It’s impossible to disobey if there aren’t any rules you have to obey to avoid punishment and earn blessing.
The Law has been silenced, but it can only be silenced when it is has been perfectly fulfilled—and that’s just what Jesus did.
So then, when Paul says that Jesus was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom 4:25), he means that the curse of death for disobedience was finally gratified by Jesus’ crucifixion in our place. And it means that the power of the Law to condemn and kill us is no longer enforced.
For those of us who believe, who are “justified,” we should no longer fear eternal punishment for breaking the Law. Slavish fear, guilt, and terror of conscience has been gloriously abolished because the Law’s power to condemn has been abolished.
What Easter says about you
What does Easter say about you?
First, it says that you are forgiven. The fact that the Father raised the Son from death proves that his sacrifice was accepted. But that’s not all.
It also proves that Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the Law’s righteous demands in your place so that, right now, before God, your record is not, “Sinner awaiting execution,” but rather “Holy Bride, awaiting consummation.” Easter says that you are forgiven, that you are holy, and that the curse of death for disobedience has been eliminated because now there is no Law that must be fulfilled to earn life. He’s already done it all.
So this Sunday, when you go to church and sing those great resurrection songs, remind yourself what it means. It’s not just some fuzzy happiness that Jesus rose from the dead, but that his resurrection means you are forgiven and righteous, and the Law no longer has any power to condemn you. Now that’s something to rejoice about!
For more from Elyse Fitzpatrick, check out Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ and the accompanying DVD & Study Guide Series.