Read: 1 John 2:7-8
Easter is the true story of God’s love coming down to His people whom He had commanded and taught how to love one another. But because of our own uncontrolled sinful nature and the unseen enemy working against God’s love for His people, we as God’s chosen creation have strayed away from His supreme commandment of loving one another (John 5:42; Romans 12:9-10). This makes Gods supreme commandment for us an impossible imperative- something which cannot be accomplished. This “apparent impossible imperative” works against the Easter celebration, which is all about God’s love for us (John 3:16). Jesus hanging on the cross is a visible and powerful symbol of God’s love for us (taking away our sin). Not only do we see God’s love in action, we must copy it and live it out among our brothers/sisters.
“Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again a new commandment I write unto you, which is true in Him and in you; because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth (1 John 2:7-8).
This problem still lingers toward the end of time as we view Christ’s remarks when He writes the letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor. Our Lord’s major complaint against the church is that “You have lost your first love.” The impossible imperative still lingers when it doesn’t have to. If we were only able to love God for His own sake and be truly concerned for other people as fully real persons, then most individuals and social conflicts would be reduced to simple problems of administration. Our egos would not be at stake when differences arise, whether conflicting desires in our own hearts or clashes with other people whose desires run counter to our own (wives, our husbands, our children, our best friends and other associates, etc.). The same loving issue would apply by extension to the larger affairs of men and nations.
Jesus knew what He did on the cross for us was the best solution and example to us in loving one another (John 15:13). If love were really a real factor in the situation we would still have problems, but we could deal with them unemotionally and objectively, without getting torn up inside or having our relationship distorted.
God’s work is never finished with His children. He extends three other arms of His love down to us in order to give us a helping hand of putting love back into place among us. These other extensions of love are Grace, Mercy and Justice. These three extensions play a powerful part in helping us to understand what Easter is all about. Here is the picture of how these three extensions spiritually work in our lives: A man’s sin is lying before him and there stands Mercy, Grace and Justice looking down on him and his sin. Justice speaks out first, “Let me bring death on him and send him to hell now and get it over with, God doesn’t want that kind of dirt in heaven.” Mercy, said, “Wait a minute, let me go first and talk with God about this situation.” Mercy left the scene and finally returned after about three days absent. Mercy looked down on the man and then spoke to Justice in a commanding voice, “No, I can’t let you have him.” Mercy then turned to me and said, “No, I will never let you go nor will I allow your sin to take control, though you have sinned much more than you have repented.” Justice out, “No, this is not fair, the soul that sins shall die. I want a vote on this issue.” Grace stepped in to cast his vote. We see the results of Grace’s vote when we look to the cross. Is love possible? Is love an impossible imperative?
In solving the problems of love one must at times employ grace, mercy and justice toward one another. There are times when we as children of God have grave difficulty in knowing when and how to apply any of the other extensions of God’s love. The reason being is that in our confusion and fear of applying love, we become afraid we will appear weak before the enemy (John 15:13). We need to get this problem solved and worked out before our Lord’s return!
We, as children of God, have all of His love tools to bring about real love among ourselves. We have been given the authority of God to love all, even our enemies. If Grace, Mercy and a touch of Justice is not enough for us to employ and spread love all around us, then we are indeed lost and Easter celebration is of no effect. And Christ dying on the cross was all in vain (John 15:13). Either we make Easter work, or we must declare our enemy the victor!