Friday, April 10th

Friday, April 10th

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:2

Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. Ephesians 5:25B-27

As we have already seen, the first thing the "Good News" of the resurrection brings to us is the reality that we are free from having to "measure up" because Christ "measured up" for us. The second thing the "Good News" of the resurrection brings to us is the reality that "God loves us." By combining the familiar words: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son" from John 3:16 with the words: "He (Christ) loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us" from the Ephesians 5:2 passage above, we see very clearly the role of "love" in our redemption.

It is very important that we keep clearly in view that God is both a loving God and a righteous God. The righteous nature of God demanded that his righteousness be satisfied (unrighteousness must be judged). The loving nature of God moved him to satisfy the demand of his righteous nature through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. It is on the cross of Calvary that the righteousness of God and love God come together in the most amazing and incredible way possible. If it were not for the God's love, we would all have to bear the burden ourselves of satisfiying God's righteousness. This would mean that we would personally experience the judgment of our unrighteousness. Without Christ the judgment of unrighteousness is an eternity in the ravages of hell separated from God and heaven forever.

But God does love us and his love did provide the gift of redemption. All of the passages above reinforce this wonderfully. We see quite clearly the role of love in the cross of Christ but what is the connection between the resurrection and the truth that "God loves us." The fact that Christ was raised from the dead shows us that what is said to have happened on the cross really happened. In other words the claim of "redemption inspired and provided by the love of God" is absolutely real and available.

Here is another connection between the resurrection and God's love. Our response to the provision of redemption is supposed to be a response to Christ himself and not just the message about what he did for us. In other words, because of the resurrection, the risen Savior, Jesus Christ can come to those who need redemption and say to them, "I love you." The Risen Savior asks people to respond to his immediate love for them by believing in him and the redemptive provision on the cross that was inspired and provided by his love in the past.

The Galatians 2:20 passage above helps us go further with the connection between the resurrection and God's love. Notice the words, "Christ lives in me." All week we have been emphasizing that the full outcome of the resurrection is that we have a Risen Savior and Lord who dwells in the core of our being. You cannot get any closer than this. Through the indwelling presence of Christ we are able experience and enjoy a lifelong love relationship with him. It really is a love story like that of a man and a woman. A man sets out to win the affections of the woman of his dreams. He goes all out for her, giving of himself in countless ways, and his love reaches her. He tells her he loves her deeply and asks her to marry him. They are married and begin a lifetime love relationship of intimacy and oneness.

Christ in love went all out for us on the cross to win us to himself. The Risen Savior comes to us and says, "I love you" and we respond to that love by putting our faith in him and his provision on the cross. We are joined to the risen Christ as he comes to live in us by means of the Holy Spirit. We experience and enjoy a lifelong love relationship of oneness and intimacy with Christ.

Lord, your love for me is amazing. Help me to believe it fully, experience it fully, and to rest in it fully. Transform my life from the inside out through your loving presence. Live your resurrection life in me and through me so that it really is true that the life I live is the righteous life you have had in mind for me all along. Lord, I thank you, praise you, and worship you with all my heart.

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