This is a summary of what I shared in the sunrise service for Easter this morning:
Sin & Death are always interconnected throughout Scripture. Whenever we read of one, the other’s footsteps are never far behind. God’s conquest against Sin & Death is one of the key threads that holds all of Scripture together. Through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, God put sin to death. I’d like to trace this important thread by looking at a some key texts and make a few brief comments about each.
Creation & Fall: Sin brings Death
“And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:22–24)
Before Adam and Eve sinned they ate from the Tree of Life and death had no place in their lives, but by disobeying God they brought sin into the world… and death came with it. While they did not immediately drop dead, they became susceptible to death and pain and suffering because of sin. God judged their sin and banished them from the Garden of Eden, but He did not abandon them as a failed ‘project.’
Fall & Sacrificial System: Death brings the need for Atonement from Sin (repeated by the individual)
Eventually God called Israel out and made them a nation, providing them with the sacrificial system as a way to provide forgiveness of sin when they break God’s law. Leviticus 4-5 is filled with many different ways to make atonement for your sins depending on who you are and what type of sin you’re atoning for.
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
The sacrificial system provided a foreshadowing of what we celebrate on Easter. But while the sacrificial system was continuous (each new sin required a new sacrifice/death) and individual (each person had to make atonement for his own sins), Christ died once for all (1 Peter 3:18).
Redemption & Christ: Christ’s Death brings Full Atonement (once for all)
“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20–21)
Just as sin reigns in the Kingdom of death, grace reigns through the righteousness of Jesus Christ our Lord. At the moment Christ claimed victory over death and sin all of your sin was cancelled and atoned for. All your past, present, and future sins have been paid for! This doesn’t give us a license to sin and it doesn’t downplay the extent to which we must always resist temptation, but it points to the perfection of Christ’s victory over sin and death and calls us to live in the kingdom of righteousness.
Christ’s resurrection demonstrated his victory and authority over death and sin. They have no place in His eternal Kingdom.
Restoration & New Heavens/Earth: No Sin, No Death
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1–5)
In Revelation 20 we see Satan’s judgment and the death of death. Immediately following the death of death, we read about the New Heavens, New Earth and the New Jerusalem. In them there will be absolutely no sin and no death. Truly, God is making everything new! What we believe will become tangible… our faith will become sight.
As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, may we remember the bigger picture of what God did through Christ’s victory over sin and death. May we live in Christ’s kingdom by faith today, even as we wait for His victory to be fully established here among us when He returns again.