Easter Changes... what We Deserve March 30, 2017
We are living in a singularly hostile political environment. Most of the turmoil centers around questions of rights: The rights of an unborn child versus a woman’s reproductive rights, the rights of LGBTQ people, the rights of African-Americans to equal treatment by police. You may feel your blood starting to boil at the mere mention of these issues, recalling shouting matches on media outlets, awkward disagreements between co-workers, or strained family relationships.
Regardless of where you stand on these issues, you’ve undoubtedly felt the tension.
To debate rights is to debate a central human question: What do I deserve? To what am I entitled? You may find the Biblical answer sobering. Romans 9:20-21 says, “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its Molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” In other words, because God created us, God has the right to do whatever He wants with us.
We don’t deserve any favorable treatment from God.
If this isn’t alarming enough, the Bible actually goes one step further. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” In other words, every person who has ever lived, or will live, has sinned, and therefore deserves death. In the Bible, the concept of “death” doesn’t merely describe the end of life as a human; it refers to eternal separation from God. Because God is holy and perfect, sin cannot enter His presence. To whomever is reading this—black, white, asian, or hispanic, gay or straight, man or woman, rich or poor—you deserve eternal separation from God.
Easter changes this.
Seeing the sinful human condition, God came down as the man, Jesus, to live the perfect, sinless life that no one else could. He gave His life on the cross, enduring the punishment for sin that we deserved. Those who believe in Jesus are not only justified before God—avoiding the punishment for sin—but are also adopted as sons and daughters of God, and therefore heirs to eternal life. While we deserved nothing more than death, God loved us and chose to give us eternal life as a free gift. We don’t do anything to deserve it or earn it—we just accept it.
To whomever is reading this—black, white, asian, or hispanic, gay or straight, man or woman, rich or poor—God loves you and gave Himself for you on the cross.
Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son reflects this. The son leaves home, squanders his inheritance, and ends up hungry and alone. Knowing he deserves only scorn, he returns home hoping that his father will have pity and at least hire him as a servant. To the son’s surprise, his father welcomes him, restores his status of sonship, and places him in the seat of honor. The prodigal son deserved nothing, but was given everything.