Good Friday is celebrated the world over as a day dedicated to commemorating the misunderstood sacrifice of Christ. The death of Jesus was not just a historical event that we consider to be culturally relevant. It is so much more. Good Friday remembers the giving of a gift which we must open actively and not passively. It is the gift of eternal life that does not come because of the church we belong to, because of what we do with our lives, or even because of the evil acts that we avoid.
Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that this gift is given through God’s grace and it received by our believing faith and not by good works. I grew up correctly believing that God is gracious because the stain of sin upon us makes each of us undeserving of Jesus’ generous death in our place. However, I grew up incorrectly believing that I could inherit this gift merely by belonging to a church that baptised me as a baby as if to induct me to some sort of ‘eternity club’.
This passage shows us, however, that although our faith leads us to do good works it is not sealed by good works. This is a huge difference and one reaffirmed elsewhere in the Bible (such as throughout James 2).
Obviously, Good Friday is relevant only because Easter Sunday consummates and confirms the value of Christ’s death. His sacrifice in our place was precisely needed because we all fell short of God’s standard of perfection. Our own sliding scale of morality is often illogically used to justify ourselves, when true justice demands that a perfect judge must perfectly judge! For Christ to bear my punishment in His own body so that I don’t have to is Good News this Good Friday.
And I thank God that I received His gift and opened it to make Him Lord and Saviour. The alternative spells eternal death, no matter how much I might want to believe otherwise. His death gives me life. I trust that it has done the same for you, but this will be because you have opened His gift and then opened your heart to make room for it for the rest of your life.