What Did Jesus Actually Accomplish By Dying And Rising From The Dead?

by Easter, Sin

“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name…”

Luke 24:35-48

What Did Jesus Actually Accomplish By Dying And Rising From The Dead?

Most of us are pretty comfortable with the Risen Lord. After all, it is the triumphal tenet of our Christian faith. But what did Jesus actually accomplish by dying and rising from the dead? The forgiveness of our sins.

Sweet. Now when I sin I can ask for forgiveness and all will be well. True. St. John says in our second reading that, “if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” Who is the “expiation for our sins.” But John prefaces that with, “I am writing this to so that you many not sin.”

The Goal Of The Christian Life

The goal of the Christian life is not to make a good confession right before I die, but to live a sinless life. Seriously? Seriously. To properly understand this we have to properly understand what sin is. Sure, sin is an infraction against our relationship with God, in big ways and small ways. Not cool. 

But deeper than that, to sin is to miss the mark of being fully who God has created us to be. The origin of the word sin comes from the world of archery, which literally means, to miss the mark. The Greeks used it when an archer missed his intended target. Translated into Christianity, to sin is to miss the target of holiness.

Holiness is being fully the person God has created us to be. It is not a goal that is achieved after death, but a state in life that I choose to live at all the various stages of my existence on earth. When we’re holy, we are fully who god has created us to be. 

However, being holy is not simply a personal project. We cannot reach our full stature in life without Jesus Christ coming to save us and lead us back to the Father. This is the real reason we celebrate Easter. 

Repentance For The Forgiveness Of Sins

That being said, avoiding sin and reaching our full potential in life does take effort, mainly the effort of repentance. Our risen Lord says today that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name. Repentance is the key ingredient for the forgiveness of our sins. 

Makes sense. We have to be sorry and choose to amend our lives for God’s mercy to have an impact in our life. But repentance goes deeper than to simply stop sinning. It is actually the action of following Christ with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and hitting the target of holiness in life. 

The Greek word used in Scripture that we translate into repentance is metanoia. Metanoia means more fully, to turn back to. It does involve repenting and an overall conversion, but the end goal of Christian metanoia is to turn back to Jesus. Sin leads us away from Christ. Metanoia is turning back to Him. 

Repentance/metanoia is not only how our sins are forgiven, but is also how we become holy. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In following Him we can daily reach our full potential in life. But to follow Him, we have to continually turn from our sinful tendencies.

This is how we can become fully who God has created us to be. It is not simply enough to say I’m sorry or to chuckle at my little imperfections. The goal of Christianity is to sin no more and hit the target of holiness. The only way to do that is to truly repent, and follow Jesus with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  

Read more from Fr. Bryce HERE.

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