“I am He that lives, and was dead; behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of death and hell.” Revelation 1:18
Today is Good Friday.
On this day over 2,000 years ago the long awaited Messiah, the One who was supposed to bring salvation and set His people free, was laying lifeless in a tomb after being brutally murdered . People who knew the Scriptures knew He came to save them but they didn’t know He would die to do it and when Jesus drew His last breath and surrendered Himself over to death, the hope of the world died, too. On this day the sun was darkened and all of creation felt the impact of the greatest loss the world has ever known.
Can you imagine the despair of the people who had waited their entire lives for this and staked everything on the assurance that Jesus was the Savior promised to them? He fulfilled prophecies and promises, performed miracles right before their eyes, raised their dead loved ones back to life, and changed their lives with His love. Those close to Him saw His humanity and His divinity and people drew close from near and far to get a glimpse of this Jesus who spoke truth and walked in victory and touched a place in people’s souls that had never seen such light before.
And then instead of saving them like they expected Him to, He allowed himself to die a gruesome death while they looked on, helpless to do anything but hope He might save Himself. Maybe He would get down off the cross and show those soldiers who was boss. Maybe He would do a miracle last minute. It couldn’t be that this Jesus who changed everything would really die and leave them? But He did. Because only by His death and resurrection could He forever conquer death and darkness and purchase the victory of salvation (deliverance, wholeness, healing, forgiveness) for us.
Love kept Jesus nailed to the cross, forsaken by His Father; Love took our sin and gave us righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21); and Love experienced hell itself to defeat it and hand the keys of that victory over to us. Love conquered sin and death and on the third day Jesus rose again and the darkest night gave way to the brightest day.
Never forget what can happen in three days!
We Christians are looking forward to celebrating the risen Christ on Easter this weekend. But what does this really mean for us today?
For me, Easter was a reminder of Jesus raised to life and still alive today. I loved to think of the temple curtain being torn in two and Jesus making a way for all to enter in where there was no direct access to God before. I knew my sins were forgiven and I knew where I was going when I died… but it didn’t much affect my day to day life – except that when I stopped to think about it, it always made me feel thankful and comforted. Forgiveness and heaven are INCREDIBLE gifts – eternity with a loving God is the BEST gift – but that’s not all Christ died to give us.
There are so many beautiful facets of this story of redemption and yet it is only recently that I have begun to see more of the fullness of what exactly Jesus accomplished at the cross and that it can be mine, in this life. What Jesus did for me starts right now; it’s not just for heaven “someday”. It is for victory and freedom in THIS life. “On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) is God’s will for us.
I love how John G. Lake puts it:
“The great majority of the Christian world is still weeping at the foot of the cross. The consciousness of man is fixed on the Christ Who died, not the Christ Who lives. They are looking back to the Redeemer Who was, not the Redeemer Who is. On this side of the cross we see all the marvel of the opposites to what we see in the Christian on the other side of the cross. On the other side of the cross we see a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs, bearing our sicknesses, carrying our sorrows. He had nowhere to lay His head. Poverty was one of His characteristics.
Nobody ever stops to think, or rarely so, and what for? Answer: That through His poverty we might be made rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). He bore our sorrows, what for? That we through His sorrows might be made glad. He bore our sufferings, for what? That we through His stripes might be healed. He gave His life a sacrifice for sins, for what? That we should know no sin. Then having completed the redemption, or purchased the redemption, the redemption became manifest this side of Calvary.
“As He IS,” not as He was, John said, “so are we in this world.” Not in the life to come. The glory is not for the life that is coming but for the life that is now. The victory is not for the future. It is for the NOW. It is not for the good days by and by. It is for the NOW. Not for heaven to come, but for heaven to come to earth NOW. Sin, sickness, death under His feet. Hell itself taken captive and obedient to His Word. Every enemy of mankind throttled, bound, chained by the Son of God. Mankind joined with Him by the Holy Spirit, living in triumph. Why, if I received of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, of the Christ who IS, I receive the Spirit of victory and power and might and dominion, of grace, of love, of power, blessed be God.”*
Life in Christ is on THIS side of the cross! When you receive Jesus and His Spirit, you receive the Christ Who IS. As John said, as Jesus IS, not as He was, so am I IN THIS world (1 John 1:17).
It seems that so often people get “saved and stuck,” I think partly because we as a church have taught that salvation is only a ticket to heaven and our purpose here on earth is to help others get their ticket. That is what I always thought before I started really reading the Bible for myself! But salvation is not just a ticket to heaven and a long hard ride until we get there someday and can finally start enjoying the benefits.
What happened at Calvary forever changed the course of history. It did something for us that nothing else would ever be able to do. A Divine exchange happened when Jesus conquered sin and death and sickness and packaged up all the fullness of life, of victory, of overcoming, of prosperity, of healing in His Spirit and gifted it to us. And in this way He brought heaven to earth. Now. In this life.
This is the victory of the cross.
When God looks at you now, He sees you through the filter of what Jesus did. This is GRACE! He sees your born again Spirit – and it is perfection because it is HIS Spirit. He sees you standing in righteousness because of what Jesus did, not because of what you’ve done. He sees you clean, dressed in pure white, because Jesus’ blood has made you a completely new creation. He sees you as victorious, strong enough, good enough, because that is who His Spirit is in you. It is an overcoming, powerful, victorious Spirit. He sees you healthy, because Jesus bore your sickness and healthy is who you were created to be. Sickness does not belong to you when you are in Christ. It’s not who you are. That pain you have been carrying – Jesus carried it for you so you could have the chance to be free from it. You don’t have to carry it with Jesus. He is enough.
If you are a Christ follower, you don’t have to live as though there is no hope until heaven. You don’t have to let life just live you and suffer through to “someday heaven”. No matter how you feel on any given day, every day is an opportunity to practice walking in the victory Christ secured for you – like a gift waiting to be unwrapped. Because the truth is, when you have the Christ who IS, every circumstance is something you now have everything you need to rise above. Every scheme of the enemy is something that you have authority over. The truth is that the mountain you see before you is actually under your feet – Jesus has positioned you on top of it. The truth is that every sickness is defeated. The truth is, no matter how you feel, Jesus carried your grief, sickness, and pain on the cross so you could have the chance to leave them there and find out who you are without them. The truth is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is inside of you right now (Romans 8:11).
And yet we wait for someday.
This year, Resurrection Sunday is different for me. No longer is it a look back on the Christ Who was and someday heaven; it is a celebration of the Christ Who IS and Who He is IN ME NOW. It is a celebration of victory right here, right now, a daily walk with a loving Father who wants me to live in the same power that His Son did when He walked this earth. It is a celebration of the RISEN SAVIOR Who has overcome so I can overcome, Who became poor so I could prosper, Who became sickness so I could walk in health, Who became sin so I could become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14-15
*John G Lake book. An excellent read!
There are many wonderful teachers who have been faithful over the years to share the Gospel of Jesus with a balance of grace and faith. I love and link a lot of Andrew Wommack simply because he is so easy to understand and follow along with a Bible and his resources are free in written article or audio teaching. These are some that talk about the finished work of Christ and what it means for us now: Spirit, Soul, & Body, The Believer’s Authority, You’ve Already Got It