It's Easter Sunday and all around the world Christians are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus died for our sins so we can be forgiven and go to heaven when we die. This is true but not the WHOLE truth! There is so much more. I think we need to rethink the gospel this Easter and what it's really all about.
Jesus cleanses us from our sins so that God’s original design of dwelling with us can be fulfilled. God wants to dwell with us in this age and in the age to come. We don’t pursue a life of holiness and righteousness for its own sake. That is moralism. We do so because we desire for God to dwell with us.
What is sin? That is a good question! To answer this question, we need to go back to Genesis. That’s where everything starts. In Genesis, we find the original design and divine purpose of human beings. Why do we start here? Because in order to evaluate if something is functioning correctly, we need to know its purpose. Think of your phone. You say, “it’s broken—I’m not getting any calls, or the screen has gone dark or is frozen.” Simply put, it is not doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s not doing what it was designed for.
So what were YOU designed for?
Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image…” Being made in the image of God gives us identity, value and purpose. We were created to be like God. Our identity is to be squarely found in being created in the image of God. We are his offspring so to speak. Because of this we have the highest possible intrinsic value. We don’t have to DO anything to be valuable. We are valuable because we belong to God. And our purpose? Our divine purpose is to bear God’s image to the world
Knowing that our identity, value, and purpose are rooted in our divine creation (made in God’s image) defines all our relationships.
Let’s get one thing straight. God is NEVER the author of sin. Once a student told me, “Yes, I went off the rails, but that was so I could appreciate God’s grace more.” NO! God's purposes for us are always good. He never leads us to or desires us to sin. He’s always on our side. This is clearly stated in James 1:13 reminds us, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.”
It goes on to say, in 1:13-15, “Each one is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desires and enticed.” There are evil desires in our hearts like lust, greed, and covetousness. There are also good desires that God has given us such as the desires for provision, companionship, sexuality, excellence, etc. Yet, even good desires can become evil if we fail to submit them to God and determine to fulfill them in our own time and in our own way.
James continues with, “Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin.” Desire leads to action, even mental action. But first it starts with a desire. Our desires are corrupt because we are broken. We have wrong desires – not all of them – but a good bit. “And sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.” Death is the fruit of sin. Now and later. Sin is a sin, and it cannot produce anything else but death. Sin is like taking a little bit of poison bit by bit until it kills you.
That’s the bad news. The good news is we are not made for sin! We were made for God, to dwell with him and for him to dwell with us. God’s already made a way to bring us back to “factory design standards” and restore our identity, value and purpose. It’s through Jesus, because of the Father’s Love and by the power of the Holy Spirit every day.
1 John 1:8-2:2 gives us some great action steps in response to sin:
And this transformation is glorious. Unlike Moses, whose exposure to glory diminished with time, it is a transformation with ever increasing glory. Every day is more glorious. How? This is a work of the Spirit of God. Just remember: you were made for this! God made a way for you through Jesus. He now dwells with you. You are God’s temple- the dwelling place of the living God.