Victory in Christ
Scripture Reading: John 20:1-18; Ephesians 1:7-23; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 15:3-19, 54-58
I have absolutely loved my time so far in college, but I must say, it’s brought some not-so-positive characteristics of mine to the surface. Characteristics that weren’t so noticeable in high school have been intensified in college, probably brought on by the lack of sleep and way too much caffeine. I sometimes find myself impatient, judgmental, apathetic to the struggles of others, and many other things I don’t want to admit. God in his grace reveals those things to me, leading me to repentance, but I’m still not proud of those ugly parts of my heart.
I think that’s why I’ve focused on one aspect of the Easter story more than the rest over the years: Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. The fact that Jesus, the actual Son of God, would be willing to die on my behalf in order to pay the price of my sin is completely mind-blowing. It still baffles me to this day that anyone would love me that much, let alone the God of the entire universe. Because of what Jesus willingly did on the cross, I no longer have to face the wrath of God because of my sin. And that one fact changed the rest of my life and saved my soul for the rest of eternity. But the even crazier thing is that Jesus didn’t stop there.
Ephesians 1:7-10 (ESV) says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan of the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, thing in heaven and things on earth.”
Not only did Jesus pay for our sins, he lavishes us with the riches of his grace. He didn’t stop at forgiving us (which alone is more than we deserve), but he also redeemed us and rains his grace and mercy on us.
Paul continues in verses 11-14, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
Did you catch that? We have received an inheritance, and we have been made fellow heirs with Christ. Because of Jesus’s work on the cross and his resurrection from the grave, we now have access to the Holy Spirit who has placed God’s seal upon is, claiming us as one of his beloved children.
From the very beginning, from the moment when sin first entered the world, we have been desperately trying to save ourselves and earn our forgiveness. We set the high, unreachable standards, and we can never measure up. We give so much energy and effort pursuing the things of this world, then we wonder why we are constantly disappointed and never satisfied. I imagine the disciples probably felt pretty let down when they thought the Romans and Jews had won, and that Jesus really was dead and not coming back. But Jesus isn’t like anything else in this world. He never disappoints, never fails, and always satisfies. Because Jesus lives, we can rejoice every single day.
Don’t allow yourself to grow apathetic towards the Good News of Jesus’s death and resurrection. We have the hope of heaven, forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance far better than anything we could ever imagine.
The resurrection is not something we only celebrate on Easter—live your life in light of the resurrection and that Jesus is indeed risen.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:57-58