At the tomb in Jerusalem in 2016.
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27).”
That’s my Easter message to you. I mean we’re all going to do that some day, so why not use it as a greeting this Easter? Walk into church on Sunday and with a big smile, let’em have it with gusto:
Let me explain. This verse in the Book of Hebrews makes it crystal clear that there is no reincarnation, no purgatory, and no other escape from His righteous judgment.
We will all die, and then a righteous and unerring Judge will judge all of us. Simple theology. His criteria? He Himself is the standard (Matthew 5:48). Absolute perfection. Holiness.
Utter and glaring bright righteousness where not one sin, mistake, or error will be squinted at. Anything less than absolute perfect morality will be judged wanting. Think about it. If God let us sinners into His Heaven it’d be the same mess we have now on earth, right? Can’t have sin in Heaven. Sin has to be eliminated to have holiness.
But on the other hand, nobody’s perfect, right? We’ve all broken a commandment or two. Everyone has stolen something or lied or dishonored parents. So how is this fair if we all fall short of His perfect standard? Seems rigged. Shouldn’t He weigh our good deeds against our bad deeds? Nope. That’s not perfect and absolute 100 % holiness.
As James said, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all (James 2:10).”
That’s the bad news. According to James, we are all guilty of breaking all the commandments because just one sin kills perfection. Now here’s the good news that makes Easter the greatest holiday of all time…we don’t have to stay dead as Jesus proved when He left His grave EMPTY!
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
That’s our guarantee that death and punishment can be taken care of, a substitute takes all of our righteous judgment for sin for us, as Peter said,
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18).”
The only catch is in Mark 1:14-15, “repent and believe.” Repent is a fancy word for changing your mind. Instead of going left, you go right. Instead of ham, you chose liver for Easter dinner. Also known as surrendering, admitting you’re defeated and lost. Instead of doing what you want, you surrender to what He wants…all of it.
And believing isn’t in your head. It’s in your heart. It means action. You do it because you believe it. You take a stand, like getting baptized; something He wants and your first proof of believing (Matthew 29:18-20). Symbolically you “drop dead” into the water, and come up out of “death” like Jesus Christ…a new and forgiven person by faith in His death and resurrection…with your own empty grave in the water.
“Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
So have a Happy Easter, have some liver for dinner, and drop dead…please!