NEW BEGINNING: NEW AGE OF GRACE
Whomever said the following words may not have known the spiritual implications of their words: “every story has an ending. But in life, every ending is a new beginning..”
Seeing them again this morning I couldn't help but apply them to the impending Easter weekend.
The Easter Egg is still very evident in a vast array of forms and colors, but still recognisable as eggs!
Eggs: The emblem of new beginnings!
What has a “new beginning” got to say to the majority who look forward to Easter? Probably not much!
That's possibly true for many who call themselves “Christian” who see Easter as a time to escape the drudgery of work, a time to catch up on unfinished, or not yet begun, domestic jobs, with the possibility of a cursory trip to a religious service: After all it is Christmas, or, Easter, or, something.
Most would have some understanding about a crucified, dead and buried Saviour, who, in this amazing act, gave them a “new beginning” which enabled them to anticipate resurrected life for eternity.
But they still haven't grasped what Paul exulted about in Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
So many are still struggling through life wearing the grave clothes of the Old Covenant, they are still under the old bondage of the religious systems and rules, with the expectations and demands of habit and legalism
What Paul had discovered in His amazing experience of becoming a Christ follower was not only that the grave clothes of the Old Covenant were taken removed, but the free, fresh air of spiritually emancipation from the Old Covenant was experienced in the inauguration of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ!
Not only to be raised with Christ, to a “new beginning” but to have a “new beginning” under a New Covenant.
The One who was promised as the person of the New Covenant (Isaiah 42:6) pleaded with a nation whose relationship with God was stifled under the burden of a human directed religiosity, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matt. 11:28-30).
Why did these people need “rest”? From what?
The Old Covenant heavy burden and domination of authoritarian, rules oriented, legalistic religion, with all of its “do's” and “do nots”.
Speaking of their religious leaders,Jesus said,"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others.” (Matt. 23:4).
How familiar this scene is today, as we see dear folk still struggling with obedience to rules, regulations and laws, which they have been led to believe will ensure eternal life for them, which in one way or another, is regularly reinforced.
Easter says something far more profound than that God, just taking upon Himself the form of mankind (incarnation) living, dying, and rising again, to pay for our sin, and for us to continue pretending we don't have any sin to deal with, or being under condemnation for the rest of life because we find that we still sin.
Easter says that Almighty God, who made the incredible act of putting aside His rights as God, to fulfil ALL the requirements of the Old Covenant, on behalf of all who would come to Him, is an Almighty God who fulfils ALL of His promises to give a servant who would, in His exclusive, exquisite timing, introduce a New Covenant age, “for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind,....” (Isaiah 42:6-7; cf. Luke 4:18-19)
So many religious people still see the light dimly; many still blind, to what God has done through His precious Son.