Word for Word 3/14/18

Rev. Ron Pederson
Rev. Ron Pederson

Why Good Friday and Easter?

Why Good Friday and Easter? It all goes back to one moment in time, a moment that corrupted the human race. Moses tells us about that moment in the Book of Genesis: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Genesis 3:6).

The Fall into sin is not only the reason for Christianity but also all other religions.

All religions hearken back to the Fall and propose a remedy for it. And it is either God or man that provides the remedy.

Christianity teaches that God provided the remedy for sin by sending His Son Jesus to make atonement for the sins of the fallen human race. All other religions teach that man provides the remedy for sin with good works. The works they prescribe may be different but essentially the remedy is the same: Man saves himself by good works.

But it is impossible for us to save ourselves by good works. The 10 Commandments require that we return to the pre-Fall innocence, that we be like God, perfectly holy in all our thoughts, words and deeds. Jesus said: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). And James writes: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).

What man could not do, God did. St Paul writes: “What the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us” (Romans 8:3-4).

On Good Friday Jesus died because God made Him guilty of the sins of the whole, fallen human race. God punished Him for our sin. St Paul writes: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And on Easter Morning when God raised Jesus from the dead, He put His stamp of approval on Christ’s atoning sacrifice for our sin. The sins of the whole, fallen human race were now paid for in full. In Jesus we now have the forgiveness of all our sins - Forgiveness that we can claim as a free gift by faith alone.

Why Good Friday and Easter? It is God’s remedy for man’s fall into sin.  In Jesus our pre-fall innocence is restored. In Jesus we have the forgiveness of all our sins - Forgiveness that is ours to claim as free gift by faith alone.  

Rev Ron Pederson
King of Grace
Lutheran Church, Waukon

 

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