Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Lasting Implications of the Cross

This year for Easter I preached from Romans 5:1-11.  The reason I chose this passage was that it is one that follows on Paul’s teaching on justification by faith and shows the implications this has for life after the cross.   That the same faith that saved is the same faith we are to live by.  The message at Easter should be one that speaks of the reconciliation with God at the cross for those that believe and continued reconciliation for the life of the believer until they are called home or Christ returns.

Paul, in Romans 5:1-11, speaks of seven implications of Justification by faith: Peace with God, Access to God, a hope of glory, the ability to rejoice in suffering, the love of God in us, being saved from the wrath of God and continued reconciliation to God.  What was interesting is that the Gospel message that Paul delivers is not one of deliverance from trials or troubles but one that delivers us from God’s wrath to peace with God.  The implications given are not ones that we often hear but is one that needs to be preached often. 

I often wonder, if the only promise we offered when delivering the Gospel message was to have peace with God would people still see it as pleasing.  So often the message that is delivered, and especially at Easter, is one of deliverance from our personal dilemmas but the only dilemma we truly need to be delivered from is our enmity with God.  We are estranged from God due to our sin and only the cross can rectify that.  But that is not the end of the story as salvation is not just about a past event with future implications but instead has implications for the here and now.

So, we need to see that when we share the Gospel the cross is just the start as when God gives one the faith to seek Him it is that same faith that allows us to have the ability to serve and worship Him as He desires.  To find God’s commands as not being burdensome (1 John 5:3) one needs the see that life is to be lived by the same faith that reconciled us to God.  The faith to walk daily is the same faith that saved. 

So let us see that Easter is about the start of a journey and that journey begins at the cross.  It is a journey that is made possible by the gift of faith, a gift from God (Eph 2:8-9).

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