Christ is risen. We’ve just announced that, and we continue to announce that throughout the season of Easter. And really, we mean that every time we gather on the Lord’s Day. As Paul says, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, we should find something better to do on Sunday mornings. We are here because Jesus is alive.
In this historical fact lies pretty much the entirety of our faith. Jesus rose from the dead defeating sin and Satan and all our foes. But that means that it isn’t your job in the first instance to defeat sin or Satan or any of your foes. Jesus already conquered them. That lust? Jesus suffered the infinite penalty. That bitterness? Jesus bled for that too. That theft, that lie, that angry outburst? When Jesus rose up from the dead, He threw those sins down. And not just in a vague, general sense. God had you in mind. God knew all of the sins you would face, all of the sins you would commit, all of them, and He has prepared your salvation for you ahead of time.
When the gospel comes, when Jesus is announced, we are not proclaiming an opportunity. We are not proclaiming a possibility. We are proclaiming the finished work of the cross. When Jesus said it is finished, He wasn’t lying, He wasn’t exaggerating. He cried out in agony that it was finished because there’s absolutely nothing more to be done. And when Jesus stretched and pulled the grave clothes away that first Sunday morning, He proved that it was true. Death could not hold Him not merely because He is God, but because there was no sin, no guilt, no handle for Satan. He was innocent, and the promise is to you and to your children.
Our struggle, our battle, our work is not the work of possibilities or potentials, of what we might be able to accomplish. Paul says: therefore my beloved brethren be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for your work is not in vain in the Lord. Why? Because Christ is risen. You are working on something that is finished. You are working out your salvation.