LETTER: Easter reminds us of the gift
To the Editor:
Recently a billboard was shown on TV news with a cute child's picture and a message asking that they not be taught religion but be allowed to make up their own mind (sponsored by atheist groups). I agree that we shouldn't teach religion but if we don't teach children about God, they haven't got a choice, they are being raised atheist.
Many people know very little about the Bible anymore so they don't understand what Easter is. Jesus Christ's birth, His perfect life, His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead are the most important world events since creation.
You don't believe the Bible? Have you read it? It's the history of people who actually lived, and their interaction with God. It reveals the Living God; His love for mankind, His absolute holiness, and His justice which is necessary because of His holiness.
To understand Easter, you must have the right picture of God. He's not a glorified man, a grandfatherly type who is kind and giving without requiring anything of us. He's almighty and powerful but He's a God of love and justice.
Thus the story of Easter. Since He is Holy, nothing sinful can enter His presence. In the Old Testament, people who believed in God brought sacrifices of animals or birds to the Tabernacle, or later, the Temple, and confessed their sins to God, sacrificing the animals. But those blood sacrifices only covered sin so they had to make them periodically.
Jesus Christ, because of God's great love for us, fulfilling prophecies that it would happen, came to live a perfect life and be the perfect sacrifice. His blood that He shed on the cross as He suffered for the sins of the world was the final sacrifice. He paid the ultimate price for our sins. Our sins can be forgiven and we can be set free from their bondage. The Bible says, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature."
The Temple in Jerusalem had a great veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The high priest would make a sacrifice once a year and enter the Most Holy Place to meet with God's presence confessing his sins and the sins of the people. When Jesus died, God tore the veil in the temple from the top to the bottom showing that we all can now come to God ourselves through Jesus Christ.
When Jesus said, "It is finished" just before He died, it meant exactly that. We cannot add anything to what Christ did to earn salvation. Acknowledging His death for our sins, confessing our sins, repenting of them and asking Him to forgive us and save us and be the Lord of our life is the only way to Heaven and gives hope for now and eternity.
There is an old hymn, "The Haven of Rest" by H.L. Gilmore that expresses this so well: "My soul in sad exile was out on life's sea, so burdened by sin and distressed, When I heard a sweet voice, saying make me your choice And I entered the Haven of Rest. I've anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest, I'll sail the wide seas no more; The tempest may sweep o'er the wild stormy deep, In Jesus I'm safe evermore."
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.