Seeing Clearly

Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
We have just finished celebrating Holy Week, beginning with the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, moving on to His crucifixion on Good Friday, and culminating with His resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The death and resurrection of Jesus in particular serve to bring certain things into clearer focus for us. Many of us wear glasses or contact lenses. These corrective lenses bring into focus what is otherwise blurry to us. They help us see more clearly. In a sense, the death and resurrection of Jesus do that for us as well; they help to bring into sharper focus what would otherwise be blurry and less defined to us.
For instance, the sacrificial death of Jesus brings into focus our justification before God. To be justified before God means that our sins, our rebellious acts and attitudes toward God have been forgiven so now we can be in right relationship with God. Our sin no longer impedes our relationship with God. Incredibly, this is God’s gift to us. We don’t (and can’t) justify ourselves before God, but God declares us to be justified through the death of Jesus. Rom. 3:24-25 assures us that through His death Jesus became a sacrifice of atonement for us, and as a result we are justified freely before God. Through faith in Christ who died for us we are in right relationship with God.
The death of Jesus also helps us to see more clearly the nature and depth of God’s love for us. Rom. 5:8 declares: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It is the death of Jesus to bring us forgiveness that helps us understand how deep and certain God’s love for us is. God’s love is not merely an emotional feeling, but it is an active love that did for us what we could not do for ourselves; it took care of our sin problem. And we see how great God’s love for us in that He paid the highest price imaginable to win our salvation.
The resurrection of Jesus brings into sharper focus the nature of death – specifically that now death has been defeated. Jesus said in Jn. 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” Now we can see that death is not the end of life, but the passageway to a new dimension of life – eternal life in the presence of our Lord.
Through the lens of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we see clearly that while we were guilty before God, God has freely justified us. He did this because of His deep love for us. And now, death has been defeated and our eternity in the loving presence of God is assured.
Thanks be to God!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Bob

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