“The best news the world ever had came from a graveyard.”
The greatest day in history took place over 2000 years ago, the day when Jesus Christ conquered sin and death. Easter signifies hope. Though my sins are like scarlet, Jesus’ death and resurrection turns them as white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18) All of this was made possible because of an unblemished lamb’s sacrifice on our behalf.
Easter also represents the great exchange. It was Jesus Christ’s blood for my blood. I am the one that should be crucified. It’s my sin that needs to be atoned for and it’s my transgressions which need to be forgiven. Hebrews 9:22b says, “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Jesus exchanged my imperfection for His perfection. He replaced my unrighteousness with His righteousness.
Jesus swapped out my shame for His honor; my disgrace for His grace. Our shame points the way to our need of a Savior; someone to come and save us from our disgrace. Shame came in at the Fall after Adam and Eve sinned. As a result, God sacrificed an animal to clothe them. Sin requires sacrifice. I need a Savior to save me from my sin and shame. Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, was sacrificed so that we could be set free.
We can be delivered from our sin and have our hearts restored through repentance. In Luke 13:3 Jesus commands us to repent. “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Repentance restores our relationship with God and gives us refreshment. (Acts 3:19) Repentance is turning from sin and turning toward God. It’s a 180 degree turn from running your own life to allowing God to run it.
The easiest time to clean dirty dishes is immediately after they are soiled. Likewise, the easiest time to repent is immediately after the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin. The dirty dishes that are allowed to sit in a sink or on a counter for any length of time makes it harder to scrape off the dried, caked on food. Similarly, the longer we take to repent, the harder it becomes. Our pride seeps in and makes it more difficult to humble ourselves and repent.
Repentance is humbly acknowledging our sin against God. We confess our transgression and ask God to forgive us. King David gives us a beautiful example of this in Psalm 51:1-4. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight…”
God’s promise to us in I John 1: 9 is, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Forgiveness from God restores peace to our hearts and rebuilds our relationship with Him. I feel my husband’s love the most when he forgives me, such as when I’ve bounced a check. John giving me grace is an expression of His unconditional love for me. It’s the same with God. I feel most loved by God not when I’m obeying Him, but when I’ve received His forgiveness.
God’s forgiveness is not based on our own good works, but rather on God’s great work for us on the Cross. His forgiveness is not dependent on anything we do, therefore it cannot be
earned. The Father’s forgiveness is completely grounded on who He is, a compassionate and loving Father. God’s forgiveness in exchange for my repentance; now that’s the great exchange.
“We owed a debt we couldn’t pay; Jesus paid a debt He didn’t owe.”
1. How does Easter signify hope to you in your life?
2. What sin is God convicting you to repent of in order to receive His forgiveness?
3. List some of the “great exchanges” God has done for you.