April 9, 2007, Enterprise Dispatch
Pastor's Column

He is risen

Pastor G. Koivukangas, Laestadian Lutheran Church, Cokato

There is joy in the message of Easter. Jesus has risen. He lives.

The savior of the world is the victor over sin and death. The head of the serpent has been crushed (Gen. 3:15).

Damnation has been conquered. Death has been vanquished.

Dear neighbor, there is hope for you and I in this loving Easter morning proclamation. Hope for mankind.

As we look around us, we see those struggling with difficulties of life; oftentimes from afar, sometimes very near.

Perhaps you are struggling now. It may seem life has no purpose. You may be in the midst of turmoil, pain and sorrow; insurmountable obstacles in your way. It is a heavy struggle just to make it through this day.

Dear friend, especially to you belongs this comforting message of hope and joy, from the heart of our loving heavenly Father. It is unto you, that Jesus through His merit work, His suffering, death and resurrection, has woven a robe of righteousness. This He freely gives as a gift of grace.

What is so remarkable of this robe of righteousness is that it not only protects us here in this life, but on that last day as we stand before God.

The apostle reminds us, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9.

This is what is so comforting. It is not of ourselves, what we have accomplished, or what we have merited. No, it is solely of the grace of God, for we are unable to merit anything of ourselves.

Dear friend, the prophets of old remind us of a loving God. They remind us how his loving arms, which encircle us, have not been shortened, his ears have not been closed unto us. Yes, God hears your cry of anguish, your sighs of weariness. He sees your need.

We are reminded during this time of Easter that the promise of God has been fulfilled. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Jesus also encourages us, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11; 28-30.

The matter of faith is simple. All one has to do is believe the gospel message, the joyous Easter morning proclamation, the message of forgiveness in the risen Lord Jesus’ holy name and atonement blood, which flowed on Golgotha to the ground. “For your sins are mine, and the sins of all mankind.”

Christ has risen, he lives. We can live with him. One day, all temporal distress, affliction, and trials can be changed into blessings.

Yes, he is risen.

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