Because Christ is risen, our salvation is sure.
When Jesus walked this earth, he made an audacious claim.
Jesus said he was the Son of God. He said he was the Messiah. And he said he had come to die for the sins of the world.
In fact, just before he was executed, he had a passover meal with his disciples, and he said the bread of the meal, which was broken, symbolized his body that was about to be broken. And he said the wine poured out was to remind them of his blood that was about to be poured out, and then he added one critical detail. He said his blood was being poured out “for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Elsewhere he said that he came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:8; Mark 10:45). So, Jesus saw himself as the chosen one of God, the Messiah, and he said he had come to die for the world. He came to set captives free by giving his life as a ransom. The wages of sin is death, and he came to pay that debt. He came to die in our place.
But here is the million dollar question: Did it work? Anybody can say they are the Messiah. Anybody can say they are dying for the sins of the world. But how do you know if it worked? Well, if the payment for sin is death, which is what the Apostle Paul reminds us (Romans 6:23), then if that payment had been paid, once and for all, it would seem that death would be undone, right?
To use another analogy, if someone goes to debtors prison, they stay until the debt is paid. If you see them walking the streets later, you figure the debt must have been paid. So, if everything we heard Jesus saying was true, then I suppose we would expect to see him up and about, no longer dead.
But of course, the good news of Easter morning is that Jesus is risen and death is undone, and therefore, because of this, we know that our salvation is sure!
The Apostle Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). But Christ is risen, so we are not in our sins!
In Romans, Paul declares that Jesus was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25). To be justified means to be declared righteous. So, his resurrection declares us righteous. This is not to say that his resurrection achieved our righteousness; his death did (Bavinck, 1956). We have been justified by his blood (Romans 5:9). But Christ’s resurrection is the “final proof that he had earned our justification” (Grudem, 1995, p. 615). As Bavinck (1956) puts it, “His arising was the public declaration of our acquittal” (p. 370). “The resurrection is the day of Christ’s crowning” (Bavinck, 1956, p. 369).
So, Easter morning declares that the price for redemption has been paid. Because Christ is risen our salvation is sure! Thus, in his substitutionary death, our sins are paid for, and in his resurrection, we have the receipt, the proof of payment. With the rising of Christ on Easter, we remember and rejoice in our sure salvation.
Easter means we can be justified. We can be forgiven. We can be free from our sin and shame. This redemption, which Christ has won and his resurrection has declared, is wonderfully good news. We could stop right here, and go on celebrating the rest of our lives. We are forgiven and free!
But forgiveness and freedom is only the beginning…
Bavinck, H. (1956). Our reasonable faith: A survey of Christian doctrine (H. Zylstra, trans.). Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Grudem, W. (1995). Systematic theology: An introduction to biblical doctrine. Zondervan.