Easter is the commemoration of the central claim of the Christian religion: God became flesh, on Him was laid all our sins and so He was crucified paying the penalty for our own unrighteousness, and on Sunday He rose from the dead, conquering physical and spiritual death for all those who call on His name. The cross takes away all boasting.
In a James White debate with Robert Sungenis, it was asserted that “the doers of the Law will be justified” (Rom 2:13). Sungenis ridiculously put forward that this “proves” men are judged by works and then “gallons of ink have been spilled” over the confusion that arises from Paul’s explanation of how only doers of the Law are saved yet on the other hand “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Gal 2:16).
Paul explains the whole conundrum: For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Gal 2:19-20).
The Law declares to us plainly that we have a bunch of rules to follow and if we break one, we have rebelled against God. The Law set up a system of sacrifices to deal with it, but as soon as you paid the penalty of one’s sin with the sacrifice, you sinned again. And so through the Law we die to it, never able to meet its obligations.
But, this is saving knowledge, because we see that there is nothing we can ultimately do ourselves to make us righteous before God. So, when Christ took our “certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us … and … taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Col 2:14) we were crucified with Him. Now, that our past, present, and future sin have all been nailed to the cross “having forgiven us all our transgressions” He has made us “alive together with Him” (Col 2:13) so that it is no longer us who live, but Christ who lives in us for we are born again by the Holy Spirit. We no longer live by works justifying ourselves, but in a divine union with Christ where we “live by faith in the Son of God” who loves us and gave Himself up for us.
It is no longer a matter of my striving, my intentions, my doing more good than the average guy, doing less bad than the average guy, or my knowledge of anything divine. All that I have is not enough, I have fallen short, I need someone to pay my penalty. And Christ has in full. Now I no longer stand on my own, but on His striving, His intentions, His perfect righteousness, and His perfect knowledge. All these things are credited to me by my living by faith in the Son of God.
So, Homer Simpson does not know if he chose the right religion. Maybe we didn’t. We can’t empirically prove it. But every religion in the world for all time is all about what we can do to buy God off and make Him not mad at us for our sin. The logical conclusion of any of these religions is that you never know if you have done enough and no matter what we offer it is insignificant to the infinitely Divine.
Yet, the good news has none of this. God gives His grace as a free gift for all who believe in His Son, His Son pays our penalty satisfying God’s wrath, His Son has performed every good righteous work needed to appease Him.
It is in this we have placed our faith, so help us God. Christ is risen, He is risen indeed Hallelujah!