Easter Starts With Sin

In many respects, sin is a pivotal moment in all of history, but certainly Easter starts with sin. No sin, no need of a Savior—no Christ, no crucifixion, no resurrection. No Easter.

As western culture moves more and more toward the secular, fewer people celebrate Easter as a day of remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus. Now we have schools that take Spring Break, not Easter Break. We have a holiday that is known for Easter eggs and flowers and bunnies and pastel colors, especially pink and yellow and green. Yes, falling as it does after the spring equinox (officially Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox), the secular version of Easter has become a celebration of spring.

But even such an understanding recognizes the end of the bleak winter months—the cold, the gray days, the bare trees, dead grass, flowerless gardens. Spring signifies life after death.

And of course the ultimate life after death took place that first Easter morn when Jesus took on His resurrected body and came out of the tomb. I’d say, walked out of the tomb, but I don’t think He necessarily did walk. But more on that another day.

For now, I want to focus on the truth that so many people don’t like—we all, every one of us—have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

I’ve been shocked by a number of people who don’t want to accept this fact, even as they will whole-heartedly agree that nobody’s perfect. As I see it, that’s just another way of saying, Since we can’t be perfect, we’ll accept close enough, and God should do the same.

Because most of the “nobody’s perfect” crowd see themselves as a little better than most of the others. Or at least on average. Sure, the rapists and murderers might be sinners, but not the adulterers or people fudging on their taxes.

That perspective is not one God shares:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:10-11)

Sin is simply not a minor offense with God, even if we look at it that way. Later in James He says, “Whoever knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (4:17). So even neglecting to do what we know we should do, carries the same weight of guilt and lawbreaking as any of the “thou shalt not’s.”

I remember a time or two when I was a child waking up to a blanket of new snow covering the yard. It was so perfect . . . until my dad walked out and began shoveling the sidewalk. Of course we needed him to make the way clear, but every step on the pristine white coating our property, marred it, spoiled it, left a blemish, a mark that could NEVER be removed.

Sin is like that. It simply can’t be undone. And no matter if a dog left a little trail across the snow, or we had a roaring good snowball fight that left pits and ditches of chewed up snow, that yard was never going to look as it had in the morning right after the snowfall.

Sin is like that, too. One little disobedient act. One bit of defiance, or multiple acts of waywardness. Makes no difference.

There is One and only One answer to the problem of sin. And it isn’t by doing multiple acts of kindness, as helpful as those are and as grateful as many may be for them. The acts of kindness can’t erase the acts of disobedience.

But there is hope:

“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18b)

Only the cross can do that. Which comes before the resurrection.

So Easter, to be understood properly, must be seen in the light of humankind’s fall into sin.

I suppose the term “fall” comes from the idea of falling from grace or from a favored position in God’s eyes. But it really is a little misleading. I mean, generally when people fall, they do it by accident. They didn’t actually mean to fall down the stairs, but they slipped. That sort of thing.

But this fall was more of a walking away. Adam, who was not deceived as his wife was, purposefully and willfully chose against God. Yes, he knew what God had said. Yes, he understood the consequences. He was going to do what he wanted anyway. That’s rebellion, in a nutshell.

Because of this willfulness, humankind has been separated from God, and only because of God’s persistence and His desire to fix what was broken, to bring life to what was dead, is there any hope in the world, any Easter to look forward to.

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Published in: on March 18, 2019 at 5:06 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I appreciate this post, Becky. Your “messing up the snow” analogy is a good one.

    I also like how you said, “neglecting to do what we know we should do, carries the same weight of guilt and lawbreaking as any of the “thou shalt not’s.” Amen. Sometimes we miss that.

    Also good, that “nobody’s perfect ” line. I get that nobody is perfect and I am full of grace and mercy,but should we as Christians be promoting a low standard like that? I suggest not, we are sinners saved by grace, saints, the inheritors of a kingdom and we should walk the world that way. A pastor I know has been preaching on doing your best, not the best of other people. Far too often we’re trying to grade on a curve,on comparison. Well, if you’re a world class sprinter (or a saint,) we’re called to a higher standard, and it is actually sin to run the race beneath your ability.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, IB, we want to grade on the curve. I like that. That system plays to our less-than-best nature, for sure. We can feel much better about ourselves because “we’re not like THOSE people,” whether they are legalists or drug addicts. Anything to make our own sin, our own need for a Savior not so glaring. But God does not play by those rules. I think that’s what bothers so many atheists—they don’t like that 1) God gets to set the standard and 2) that they have no way of measuring up on their own. They don’t want to accept that their best still comes up short. Never mind that they don’t actually live up to their best 99% of the time.

      Sounds like a good sermon series.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good article! I’ve always said that heaven is a perfect place, but if it’s filled with imperfect people, it won’t be perfect any more.
    Interesting distinction between how Adam fell and how Eve fell. Adam was given the command before Eve was created. And he was there when Eve was deceived, saw the whole thing, and said nothing. (Genesis 3:6)

    PS Speaking of sin and snow, I think you’d enjoy my post “The Big Cover-up” (February 1)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, SDP. I’ll check out your article when I get a chance. Thanks for passing along the title.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That was a very well written article with excellent quotes from the Holy Bible. However, your conclusion at the end I disagree with. That part of your attention to Adam and how being willfulness that God is separated from us for….NO I think we are like God with our willfulness and without sinful willfulness and with true love…death is overcome. But, Of course, either way, God is always perfect. And true love is God’s Law.

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    • Hi, Robin. I’m not sure I understand your objection to the end of the article, but I’ll try to clarify.

      Adam broke relationship with God. He decided to do what he wanted, not what God wanted. That’s pretty much a description of “sin.” It’s making ourselves the authority, not God.

      No matter what we do, we cannot repair that broken relationship, which is why Jesus came. He stood in for us, took the death sentence for us, and He did that because of God’s great love for us. Does that help?

      Becky

      Like

  4. Rebecca, you have written an excellent and moving piece. Easter brings us face to face with the Cross and its implications for all of us. I miss the Lenten journey from years ago when I regularly attended a Lutheran church. The journey prepared our thinking to walk with Christ during those 40 days. How I miss that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bigsky, a local Christian university has a Lenten devotional project, one that my church recommended this year. There might be something like that that can serve to help focus your thoughts as your other church did. If you’re interested in this one, they describe it as “an online resource of aesthetically rich daily meditations throughout the Lenten season. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, each day’s meditation includes Scripture, art, poetry, music, and a written reflection.” Here’s the link. http://ccca.biola.edu/events/2019/mar/6/lent-project-2019-subscribe-here/

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person


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