Assurance through Christ
The Rev. Bill Hurlbutt, senior pastor, Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive:
When I think of the spirit of Easter, I immediately think of the spirit of God.
Easter, which would better be called Resurrection Sunday, is the day believers remember and celebrate God's approval of the sacrifice his son Jesus gave two days earlier on the cross of Calvary. It is only because of God's love for us and Christ's perfect sacrifice for sin on that dark day almost two millennia ago that humanity can even have the hope of keeping the spirit of Easter alive.
The hope I am speaking of is the assurance God gives through Jesus Christ. It is not like the hope we usually talk about in conversation today, when we may hear someone say: "Well, I hope that happens" or "I hope that is true."
The hope of keeping the spirit of Easter alive - unlike that of the world - can be a sure thing. We can have the assured hope of eternal life by placing our faith in Jesus Christ and what he has accomplished for us through his death, burial and resurrection.
It is only through receiving Christ and what he has done on our behalf almost 2,000 years ago that the spirit of Easter can live on. When we come to Christ realizing our hopelessness and call out to him, we receive his forgiveness by grace. At that time, something wonderful happens: The spirit of God actually comes to dwell within us. It is then and only then that the spirit of Easter lives on. The spirit of Easter is the life-giving spirit of God himself.
- Send e-mail to Bill Hurlbutt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Easter spirit, paid in full
The Rev. Darrell Brazell, pastor, New Hope Fellowship, 1449 Kasold Drive:
Fortunately, for those in Christ, keeping the Easter spirit alive isn't up to us.
Resurrection life is a reality that exists because Jesus rose from the dead. Granted, there are many times that we don't "feel that spirit," but not feeling it doesn't mean it is dead.
Jesus' last word on the cross was the triumphant cry, "It is finished!" The word also could be translated, "Paid in full!" Jesus knew that the sacrifice of his sinless life would pay for all our transgressions.
The powerful reality of Easter is that Jesus took our sins with him into the grave but rose victorious over sin and death, leaving our transgressions in the tomb.
Satan, however, is a liar, a deceiver and an accuser. He constantly bombards us with accusations about our sin and the distortion that God is angry, disappointed or apathetic toward us. The light of resurrection, however, exposes his lies for what they are: smoke and mirrors. Because of the cross, our sin is no longer a problem for God. The price has been "paid in full."
"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). The truth behind Satan's smoke and mirrors is that God is always glad to be with each of us. His joy is immeasurable, and he longs to lavish this joy on us. Therefore, the key to feeling the "Easter spirit" is to focus on the resurrected Jesus and allow God to reveal his resurrection power at work in us.
- Send e-mail to Darrell Brazell at email@example.com.