by Michael Goldsmith
We’ve recently celebrated Easter weekend. For millions of people it was about family gatherings. It was loading up the car, traveling to mom’s house, spending the weekend with family and hiding brightly colored eggs for the children to hunt. For others, it was a reminder that winter is over, spring has come, summer is not far away. Their weekend may have been spent cleaning out the garage or airing out the house and catching up on a long list of “spring cleaning” chores. For others it was a good excuse for new clothes and the annual pilgrimage to church. But for millions and millions it was the day to be reminded of how incredible God’s love is for us (by coming to this world to die for us); and how mysterious God really is (His life began with a virgin birth and ended with being raised from the dead); and how much God wants to be involved in our lives.
Something about Easter and Spring just go together. Both of them symbolize new life. Both symbolize the passing of death and the entrance of life. Occasionally, I ponder what my life would have been like had I never allowed Christ to become my Savior. I’m very certain that I’ll never know what it would have turned into without Him. I’m simply, and overwhelmingly, awed that I am what I am today because of the grace of God within me.
1 Corinthians 15:20 says, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead…” After expounding on what life would mean without the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Paul, the writer of 1 Corinthians, tells us about the benefits of His resurrection. In keeping with Easter, the Resurrection, and new life, I’d like to list four benefits of Jesus’ Resurrection.
1. Sin is forgivable. Because Jesus is alive and was raised miraculously from death, we can be forgiven. The stable is important because Jesus was born. The cross is important because He died. And the empty tomb is important because He is alive. 1 Cor. 15:17 tells us,
“if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” We’d have no forgiveness had He not come out of that grave. But HE did! His forgiveness is comprehensive and expansive. It has the capacity to forgive anything and everything.
2. Grace is available. 1 Cor. 15:10 reads, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain (or empty); but I labored even more than all of the them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Grace is a mystery. It’s a power more wonderful than you can imagine. It’s by grace that we are saved, given gifts and talents, given our place in the body of Christ, and made to know His will. It’s by grace that we endure difficulty and challenges, stand up when we fall, overcome discouragement and defeat, and are made more than conquerors. It’s by grace that we live, move and have our existence. Grace is available in unmeasured quantities because of Jesus’ Resurrection.
3. Life is meaningful. The power of the resurrection can not only take the worst of sinners and change him into sainthood; but it can also take the most miserable of lives and transform it into robust joy, purpose, significance and peace. Bookstores are packed with buyers looking to find meaning in life, marriage, career, parenting, and the future. Jesus offers all of that to each of us. It is by His promise that we receive life to the full (John 10:10).
The Resurrection makes the future hopeful. James 1:12 records, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. The emptiness of a Middle Eastern tomb makes life bright not because it’s empty but because of who left it empty.
Just as surely as Spring is bringing new life, Jesus can bring new life to you. If you would simply acknowledge your sins and failures; ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart; believe in your heart that He is Lord and Savior; and confess that with your mouth you can be saved. Why don’t you give Him your life? Why don’t you rededicate your life to Him? Why don’t you take a moment and let His love pour over you?
Michael Goldsmith has pastored congregations in North Little Rock, Conway, Pine Bluff and Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. He now serves with Global University as Director of Advancement for a project in a sensitive country. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org