The Grace of Easter

God saved you and me by his grace when we believed. And we can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God” (Ephesians 2:8 NLT).

The more I study Gods Word, the more amazed I am about the mercy, grace, love, and esteem that He has lavishly poured out on you and me.

In the past few weeks, I have done extensive study and journaling on what my friend, Pastor Roger Bennett, calls “God-esteem.”

God called us. Think of that. We are not unknown people in a faceless crowd. God, with all He is and all of creation that He manages, He knows me and you by name even as He knew Nathaniel. “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked (John 1:48).

The Lord chose me and you. He highly esteems us.

You know, it’s wonderful to be chosen and recognized by people. It’s like a baseball player who is recognized for his talent and ability to play ball and is chosen to play Major League Baseball. He earned that spot on the roster. Or, it’s like an employer looking over a job application. One applicant stands out. He/She has outstanding qualifications and achievements. So, the employer extends a contract for employment. Also, consider a pastor search committee. They hear him/her preach the stars out of heaven. They see his impressive pedigree, education, and ability. They decide that this is the man/woman they want. They extend a call. He/She accepts, and they say, “We’ve got us a good one.” All of those examples are built on human effort, success, and ability.

But, the call of Jesus and His choice of you and me is not like that. I have come to call … those who know they are sinners and need to repent” (Luke 5:32 NLT).

“His choice of us sinners is not conditioned on our education, status, abilities, or popularity. “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth (1 Corinthians 1:26 NIV).

To be chosen by Him is far greater than all of the position, power, and prestige anyone or any organization can bestow. To be chosen by God is Easter grace.

Being chosen by God is different than the way the world chooses people. God chooses us even though we bring nothing to the table. Nothing we have achieved and nothing we possess impresses the Lord. Advanced degrees, great achievements, wealth, ability, or family prominence do not factor into God choosing us to be His children. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1). Love and only love flowing out of Easter grace is why He chose us.

Yes, God chooses us because He loves us. He demonstrated that love on the cross once and for all. He gives us His grace and mercy and all these gifts given boundlessly and without limits from God are undeserved and unmerited by anything we are or do. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).

And in His choice of choosing, He chose to allow us to be witnesses of the resurrection of Christ. We experience His Easter resurrection power over death, hell, sin, and the grave. And his incomparably great power for us who believe is active in us now and forever. “That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when he raised Him from the dead” Ephesians 1:19-20 NIV).

This is the grace of Easter in that we were and are chosen to witness the resurrection of Christ which is not seen by all people. Rejoice, be grateful, and be amazed. He chose you! He chose me! “He was not seen … by witnesses whom God had already chosen– by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:42).

Jesus said, “You are blessed … because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being” (Matthew 16:17).

That revelation and the fact that we are God’s children causes us to see with our mind and feel with our emotions the incredible love that the Father has for us. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV).

At the table of the Lord’s Supper, we eat His body and drink His blood. Not only is He present with us, but He serves us Himself and makes us His people, His chosen, and His beloved. That is the grace of Easter. Wow!

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Thanks for reading. Have a blessed Easter even though we could not gather and worship in our churches. I’m almost 69, and this is the first time in my life that I’ve missed an Easter service. But my pastor, Rev. David Keener, of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Evans, Georgia, put today’s Easter service on YouTube as if the congregation had been present. Here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaqgSyHTMTA&feature=share

Stay safe and be well during this coronavirus pandemic. Be blessed.

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