My dear Friends of the Anglican Network in Canada,
It is with immense joy that I write you during this Holy Week on behalf of the Bishops of the Anglican Network in Canada. It is an honour to represent this godly House of Bishops but the joy I speak of is primarily because of the message together we bring in the gospel.
Imagine someone announcing that:
- The problem of death has been dealt with completely.
- The power of sin has also been broken so that complete forgiveness is available to all and so that guilt is gone and the power to live a new and worthy life is now possible
- Satan and all his demonic realm – who have long ruled this dark world wreaking evil havoc, cruelty, violence, all sorts of injustice and abuse, filling the world with lies – has received a death blow that guarantees his and their condemnation.
This, of course, is exactly the message we bring and would remind you of, the message we have all received in the Bible, the message we happily pass onto you again this week and with you would share with this whole world that God loves. (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)
It is the message of Jesus. His death and resurrection accomplished all this and his resurrection “declared him with power to be the Son of God.” (Romans 1:4)
Dear friends, rejoice – because the sting of death is gone. (1 Corinthians 15:50-58). Jesus is himself “the resurrection and the life“. (John 11:25)
Rejoice, because wonderful forgiveness, and his righteousness has been made available to us sinners by Jesus substituting himself for us on the Cross (2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:6). Our sins were nailed on the Cross. (Colossians 2:13, 14, Romans 8:11) And now in him we can, by faith, live new lives.
Rejoice because Satan and his demonic realm have been disarmed and defeated. (Colossians 2:15).
No wonder Peter could write with such joy and passion: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3,4)
Yes friends, if you are in Christ Jesus (which means you have put your faith in him and entrusted your life to him and therefore have his Holy Spirit living in you), whatever is happening in your life right now, you have every reason to rejoice.
If, to date, you cannot say with confidence: “I am in Christ Jesus” then why not, this day, this Easter, entrust yourself to him and thus enjoy for all eternity the benefits of the victory he won by his cross and resurrection. “For Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept.” (1 Corinthians 15:20)
Finally, because of the victory that Jesus has accomplished and because of the glorious life we are called into by his grace, may I quote Paul one more time? “If you then have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
In his Easter joy!