April 4, 2021
So many people today are hurting. We’re experiencing disease, natural disasters, devastating weather events, and other physical, financial, and social disasters. Innocent people have been subjected to ethnic cleansing. Multiple crises have many crying out to God with “groanings which cannot be uttered.” But what happened on that first Easter morning 2,000 years ago will turn every hurt into a hallelujah, every midnight into a sunrise, and every Calvary into a resurrection.
If you think about it, every home has its heartache. We look around and see death and disease, confusion and pain. That’s why Easter is so important. In the resurrection we are encouraged, knowing no situation is without hope, and God is ruler over all.
Romans chapter 8, one of the greatest chapters in all the Bible, offers the comfort we need. Our ultimate comfort rests upon Jesus being raised from the dead and walking out of that tomb. Romans 8:11 and 18 put it this way:
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Paul doesn’t even bother to ask, “Is anybody suffering?” He knows we are. Suffering in this fallen world is the reality we live with. But Paul is keeping the books—he’s running a tally. Without discounting our present sufferings, he says that when placed against the glory we will one day experience, our present difficulties won’t even register (v.18).
What’s so devastating to us now will be like a pale, distant memory when we see the glories of eternal life with our Lord Jesus Christ. All this is true because of Easter and made possible because Jesus was raised from the dead.
But how did we come to this, to these inevitable sufferings? How did man, created in God’s own image, placed in a perfect environment, wind up in this sad condition? The answer is, in that perfect world created for mankind, God also gave Adam and Eve the ability to choose. They freely chose sin, and sin entered our world.
When Adam sinned, he dragged all creation down into bondage the Bible calls “the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21). The entire creation now has the curse of sin on it. Earthquakes. Floods. Volcanoes. Drought. Wildfires. Tornadoes. What happened to the Garden of Eden!
Nature itself has a curse upon it. When you see problems in nature, and when you have problems in your own body, understand that this is not the world as God created it to be, but a world marred by sin.
But there’s a deeper puzzle: Why did God allow it? This is the question people have asked throughout the ages: If God is good, why did He allow even the potential, the possibility, for sin? And why doesn’t God just step in now, kill the devil, and destroy evil? After all, if He’s God, He could. There are answers to both those questions, important answers.
If God removed evil, He would remove our freedom. Here’s how that works: We must have the ability to choose between good and evil. If evil doesn’t exist, we don’t have a choice, do we? We’re not free. Our choice becomes no “choice” at all. He would remove our capacity for the highest good—for His creatures to choose to love Him and serve Him freely. God made us free; this includes the freedom to sin.
You must understand: God is a God of love. We were created to have fellowship with God and enjoy Him forever. He wants to have a love relationship with us. But love is meaningless if we’re not free to choose to love and follow God. “Forced” love is no love at all. We are the Bride of Christ—He is our bridegroom. No bridegroom wants a “forced” relationship. God gave us freedom so that we can truly love Him.
Well then, you ask, what is God going to do about all this evil and suffering? Answer: God is not going to destroy it. God is going to defeat it. How? At the cross. Through the resurrection.
Romans 8 begins,
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin. He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
What kind of grace does He give?
First, sin no longer condemns us once we are “in Christ”—having received Him as Lord and Savior. Instead, like Noah’s family, safe in the Ark, we’re safe in Jesus, protected from God’s wrath against sin.
Second, sin no longer controls us because we are in Christ. We’re sinners by birth, by nature, and by choice, aided by that downward pull of “the law of sin and death.” But because of the resurrection, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death.
There are two gardens in our history: the Garden of Eden with its first Adam; the Garden of Gethsemane with the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus. The very Son of God took sin upon Himself, carried sin to a cross, and died for it.
Today, under the curse, “we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (v.22) and we groan as part of it. Something is deadly wrong with this world: the infection caused by sin. We grieve also because, though our spirits are redeemed, our physical bodies are not yet redeemed, and we groan with the effects of aging and disease (v.23).
Have you ever hurt so bad you couldn't even pray? I have. All you can do is just groan, but
…the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (v.26)
But this is not the end of the story! When Jesus returns, the curse will be lifted. Creation will be changed.
For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)
Ultimately, God through Christ will triumph over it all. Christ has broken the curse.
There's a better time coming. Romans 8:19 tell us all creation is standing on tiptoe and “eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”
The groans we endure are temporary. The glory we expect is eternal (v.18).
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Paul faced our sufferings and still assures us:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (v.28)
We've been prepared for glory by receiving life from the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We’re predestined for glory. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (v.29). “Predestined” means in the heart and mind of God, it is settled. Paul speaks in the past tense because it’s as good as done. What’s been decreed in heaven cannot be annulled by hell or by humanity.
We’re preserved for glory. In those days when someone was guilty of a crime, a paper listing his offenses would be nailed to his cell door. When he finished his sentence, that paper would be taken to a judge who would write across it one Greek word: “Tetelestai”— “paid in full.”
Colossians 2:14 says that Jesus took the handwriting against us, our certificate of debt, and nailed it to His cross. As He died, Jesus bowed his head and said the exact same word, “Tetelestai”—“It is finished—paid in full.”
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
No foe can conquer us. These seven enemies Paul mentions have been our enemies from time immemorial, and he had experienced every one of them.
No fault can condemn us, all because of Easter.
No fear can separate us. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are His forever.
Through the guilt, the grace, the grief, and finally the glory, God defeats evil with the cross and the resurrection.
Friend, that's what Easter is all about.
If you have not yet come to know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you cannot truly celebrate Easter. Ask Him today to forgive you of your sins. Repent (turn from) your sin, believe in the name of Jesus, and confess Him as Lord of your entire life.
If you’re not certain you’re saved, I want to guide you in a prayer right now, and you can ask Christ to come into your heart.
Pray this prayer: Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that You love me and want to save me. Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God, who died on the cross to pay for my sins. I believe God raised You from the dead. I now turn from my sin and, by faith, receive You into my life as my personal Lord and Savior. Come into my heart, forgive my sins, and save me, Lord Jesus. In Your name, I pray, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, let us help you with the next steps. Please click here for free downloadable resources or allow us to send you material in the mail to help you get started.