Based on Biblical Text: Acts 10:43 KJV
To him [Jesus] give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
It is difficult sometimes to resist the commercial frenzy associated with the Easter celebration. You see, Easter offers us a gift. Christmas, the holiday most associated with gift-giving, is really about the Promise of a gift. The truth of the matter is, Easter is about the delivery of the gift!
Our text summarizes the gift of Easter, in my humble opinion, better than some others. The sermon, Peter’s first as the bishop of the New Testament church movement, is quite impressive, as it focuses on the meaning of Easter. Peter reminds us that Easter is about the gift of forgiveness of sins.
We are in need of forgiveness because sin separates us from God. We cannot pray, meditate, or even worship the Lord as a sinner. Sin cannot stand in the presence of God. The Ten Commandments were the governing law in God’s covenant relationship with mankind. They were designed to be the foundation of our duty to God and our duty to each other. However, we disobeyed the Law. The truth is we could not fulfill the laws of the covenant because of disobedience.
We need forgiveness because we have no power of our own to overcome sin. It seems, for the most part, we are comfortable in our sin. That is, arguably why there is so much of it. Sin presented a dilemma for us. It separated us from God, who is holy and perfect. We who represent God’s precious creation, born into this world to worship Him, could not worship Him because we were overpowered by our sin. We could never fix our broken relationship with God on our own. We needed holy help! We were in desperate need of the help of a Savior.
We are in need of forgiveness because we are doomed for eternal death without it. We cannot save ourselves! The power of sin is too great an enemy for us to fight alone. Without forgiveness, we are doomed. Sooner or later, every one of us must face the fact that our soul will spend eternity somewhere. We can spend it in the presence of God or we can spend it forever separated from God. The apostle Paul understood the great dilemma we faced and cried, “O wretched man that I am; who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). The answer reverberating from Heaven was clearly Jesus! The choice is ours.
Jesus came to rescue us from the source, the scope, the strategy, the sorrows, the signs and more importantly the sentence due to our sin! He came to reconcile us to God in the only way we could be reconciled. He took all the torture, all of the pain, all of the suffering and all the grief. He took our punishment upon Himself. He shouldered it all so that we could stand in the presence of God and worship Him! Our omniscience God realized, even at Creation that an alternative covenant would be necessary to save us. Easter is the fulfillment of that alternative method! We are forgiven and we are saved from the hell of punishment without pity, misery without mercy, and despair without end. That is the gift of Easter!