For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph. 2:10, NLT
There I was sitting on the floor of my kitchen pleading with God for help. I was angry with my child for the ugly, defiant words that spewed like a volcano out of his mouth.
Outwardly, by God’s grace, I had put a guard on my tongue and did not utter all the ugly feelings of my heart. Oh but I felt them and I thought them and I even relished them. As I sank to the floor in discouragement, I heard the familiar voice of the Spirit reminding me that Jesus came to turn the hearts of parents toward their children and the hearts of children toward their parents (Luke 1:17, Malachi 4:5).
Because apart from divine working even that most fundamental of relationships is not right. Children rebel and parents are without natural affection. (Romans 1, 2 Timothy 3) But God—through Jesus—reconciled sinners to himself first and then to one another. And reconciliation was precisely what my child and I needed.
In a moment, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Word, God turned my heart back to my child in love, mercy, and compassion. It is a work he has performed many times since and in his faithfulness, he’ll continue to perform over and over and over again until at last I stand faultless before him. Come quickly, Jesus!
But there is a reason my heart sprang to life at the gentle rebuke of the Spirit that afternoon. It’s because two millennia ago, Jesus suffered and died at the hands of those whose hearts had turned very far from God. They didn’t even recognize how badly they needed to be reconciled to their Heavenly Father. But God knew. And he took the necessary steps to bring about that reconciliation. As Jesus labored to breathe on that cross, my own rebellion bore down on him. My child’s angry speeches were just one of many hammer blows that fixed him to that tree. And yet mercy was on Jesus’ lips: “Father, forgive them.”
That was Good Friday—fearful in its judgment, but awesome in its mercy. By Sunday morning, the power of sin was broken. God raised Jesus from the dead. But it wasn’t just Jesus whom he raised, he also “raised us up with him,” making us alive. (Ephesians 2:3-6). He took dry bones that day and dressed them once again in flesh and blood. He breathed into us the spiritual breath of life, causing our stone hearts to soften and to pulse life into our bodies.
Once we were dead in sins, but now we are alive in Christ.
Jesus’ resurrection is our resurrection. And it’s not just good news for our future—though it is definitely that! We can face physical death knowing that our bodies—like Jesus’ body—will rise again.
But the resurrection is good news right now. We’re alive now. We have freedom from sin now. If the power of sin has been broken, then we can do the good works God created us to do. And we can do them now. (Ephesians 2:10)
This is resurrection power. And with that power working in my life, I can and will continue to reconcile with my child. I will turn back to him over and over again in love. With this resurrection life pulsating through my body, I will repent and forgive and love and obey. I will do these and many other good works.
Rise up, O Christian, and live!