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Easter Made the Difference (part 1 of 2)

Edited by: Roxane Day

God is the Supreme Authority, Commander in Chief, the One who gets to make the rules—or break them—as the case may dictate. He even has the prerogative of countermanding His previous commands. For example: His most dramatic, gracious change for Believers was changing the declaration of fact, “You’re dead in your sins,” to the new statement of your condition, “You’re alive in Christ.”

In the Old Testament, God issued many, “If you…then I,” conditional promises. But He countermanded this on Easter. He liberated us from living under if-you-then-I law to living under I-have-done-it-all-for-you-through-Christ grace. Man’s part is simply to appropriate His grace by faith in Jesus’ finished work. This is a huge paradigm shift!

Old habits and beliefs, however, die a hard death. God had to prepare mankind through centuries of living under the burden of if-you-then-I law to be prepared to receive this merciful, radical transformation of who we once were, and He did it in a most unusual way.

Jesus initiated the coming change by teaching such things as the parable about a man who had been forgiven of a great debt who subsequently refused to forgive his own debtor. “Then…his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart” (Matt. 18: 32-35).

Wow! How does such condemnation relate to changing from living under law to experiencing grace?

Jesus was undermining their false belief that eternal life can be merited through law keeping. Instead of saying, “You’re wrong,” He raised the demands of the law so high that it was impossible to keep them. Since receiving the “changed heart” He said they needed, but that was impossible to attain until a person is regenerated (Heb. 10:16), how could people comply?

They couldn’t do it! Jesus’ teaching produced hopelessness! Until they’d heard this “bad news,” why would they have wanted to fix something they believed “ain’t broke?” Hopelessness obliterated their false security that they’d merit eternal life. The resulting void prepared them to embrace both the message of salvation by grace (forgiveness) and how to live in God’s grace, by faith, when these became available after Christ’s Easter work! It was law’s unattainable demands that convicted them that they were hopelessly lost and that led them to embrace the post-cross Savior! (Read Gal. 3: 21-26.) It’s the same today. People see no need to be saved until they’re convinced they are lost.

Jesus kept piling on impossible law-demands like, “Tempted to steal? Just cut off your hand;” “lusting after the Cowboys’ Cheerleaders? Just gouge out your eye;” “want eternal life? Be as perfect as God is.” Though such teachings defeated them, they kept returning because they sensed Jesus held the key to eternal life. To reiterate: Since He “came to seek and save that which was lost,” why did Jesus teach impossible law-standards? Because without such defeat they (and modern man) would have never learned that self-effort to keep the law is futile. Abandoning their erroneous tradition opened the door to salvation by grace through faith. Easter made the difference!

About the Author

Bill founded Lifetime Guarantee Ministries to encourage people to experience the reality of Christ as life. His transparent, humorous, down-to-earth style and sense of humor made him one of the most effective teachers of his time. He communicated with great clarity the full extent of what God accomplished in Christ and what that means for the Christian identity. Although Bill passed away in June 2011, his messages are timeless and will continue to impact generations to come.