Sometimes I feel as if life is conspiring against me…that no matter which way I turn, my path is blocked and my goals are thwarted. Do you ever feel this way?
These situations make me cry out to God in anger, in confusion and even betrayal. Why, God? How can this be part of your plan? I thought you were on my side?
Maybe, just maybe, I’ve been looking at this wrong all these years… Continue reading “My Undoing”
The essence of Easter is audacious. It’s disturbing. It’s offensive.
If you don’t think so, then we’re not reading the same New Testament narrative. Here are four things that Easter does that might surprise and perhaps even transform us: Continue reading “The Audacity of Easter: 4 Ways the Resurrection Wrecks and Redeems Us”
4. Easter compels us to extend God’s grace to our enemies.
This grace thing seems all well and good when I apply it to myself; but it’s problematic when I have to extend that same mercy to others.
What about those who have truly harmed me or those I love? What about the abusers, the accusers, the robbers, the rapists, the manipulators, the murderers, the tyrants and the terrorists? What about those who twist the truth and promote ungodliness? What about my political opponents and religious enemies? What about the adulterous ex-spouse and cruel ex-boss and corrupt ex-business partner?
Surely I don’t have to hold out hope for them, much less extend grace to them? Don’t they deserve the hell that God has prepared for Satan and his demons? Continue reading “The Audacity of Easter: Part 4 of 4”
3. Easter invites us to embrace the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice.
At Christmas, the Son of God lays aside his glory to be incarnated as the Son of Man. On Good Friday, the Son of Man takes our sinfulness upon himself to fully satisfy the debt we owe Almighty God. On Easter morning, the Father vindicates Jesus to the whole universe by raising him from the grave and—in doing so—destroying the power of sin, death, and hell (Philippians 2:6-11).
If I am to understand Easter, I must confess that it’s not just the sin of humanity—but my sin in particular—that caused Jesus to walk up Calvary’s hill.
My good works can never appease God—much less please him—but Christ’s perfect work does. This is why Jesus cries, “It is finished!” as he dies (John 19:30). My sin debt is “paid in full” upon his death. As Paul the apostle writes, “God made him who had no sin to be sin [or the “sin offering”] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Continue reading “The Audacity of Easter: Part 3 of 4”
2. Easter convicts us to confess the depth of our own depravity.
From the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation, the Bible tells the story of God’s relentless plan to redeem a people who will love and worship him. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit begin by creating humanity in their image with the capacity to choose (Genesis 1:26-27). God gives Adam and Eve the freedom and abundance of a perfect world, but warns them that the treason of disobedience will result in their losing everything—even their very lives (Genesis 2:15-16).
Their sin not only separates them from Eden, but also alienates them from God, from one another, and from the very earth from which they are created. If heaven is the dwelling place of God, then hell—the ultimate consequence of sin—is the utter absence of God’s presence. Though the Bible describes hell in terrible, metaphorical terms, words can’t do it justice. When we abandon God, he grants us the full consequences of our choice. As C.S. Lewis writes in The Great Divorce: Continue reading “The Audacity of Easter: Part 2 of 4”