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March 1, 2024

This month’s Pastor’s Perspective is delivered by Pastor Daniel Gillenwater, The Church at Eastern Oaks

Daniel Gillenwater Headshot scaled

Around this time of year, there are countless Easter Egg hunts all over town. Almost every church, including mine, will host an Easter Egg hunt. (If you would like to come, The Church at Eastern Oaks will host ours on Saturday, March 30th, at 10:00 a.m.) Easter Egg hunts are always a lot of fun as you watch young children run all over the yard collecting eggs, dropping eggs, and hopefully stuffing a few eggs into their baskets. With my two children, there was always a competition to see who could collect the most eggs. However, as fun as collecting eggs may be, that is not what Easter is about. Instead of collecting eggs this Easter, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with four words. These four words can help us understand why Easter matters. Those four words are: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.

Let’s start with Creation. The Bible tells us in the beginning that God created everything… and everything was good! After Creation was completed, we read, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31) It bears repeating: God created everything… and everything was GOOD. In the beginning, there was no pain, disease, evil, crime, or death of any kind whatsoever. Everything was perfect. However, just look around, and you will see that is no longer the case. The world we live in is no longer good. So, what happened?

The second word we want to remember is Fall. Genesis 3 retells the historical account of the first sin. Adam and Eve, created by God and placed in the Garden, were given one simple command. Do not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, choosing instead to listen to the lies and temptation of Satan, Adam and Eve rebelled against God and disobeyed Him. This disobedience brought sin and death into the world and separated humanity from our loving Creator. Sin is the answer to the question, “What happened to God’s good creation?” Now, every human is born into a fallen world with a sinful nature, separated from God. As Paul tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Because of our sin, we ALL deserve the wrath and punishment of God. Thankfully, we still have two more words.

The third word we want to remember is Redemption. While we deserve God’s wrath, He still loves us even while we are sinners. Therefore, to redeem us, God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to seek and save the lost. Jesus, being fully divine and fully human, lived a sinless life, and perfectly obeyed the law. He then did the unthinkable. Jesus willingly went to the cross as our substitute. On the cross, Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. God the Father poured out His wrath, the wrath we deserved, on Jesus. He was punished for our sins and fully satisfied the wrath of God. He then rose from the dead proving that He is the Divine Son of God and His sacrifice had been accepted by the Father. Forgiveness and redemption are now available to anyone who puts their faith in Jesus and willingly follows Him. (John 3:16, 2 Cor. 5:21, Romans 10:9-10)

The final word is Restoration. For everyone who puts their faith in Jesus, their relationship with God will be completely and eternally restored. This means you can experience the joy and peace of the Lord right now in this life, but more importantly, it means you will spend all eternity with God in a new heaven and new earth. When Creation is restored, there will be no more sin, pain, disease, or death. God’s good Creation will be restored, and we will worship Him for eternity. This is what Easter is all about. Enjoy the Easter Eggs, but remember to pass on these four Easter words to those who need Redemption and Restoration.

Pastor Daniel Gillenwater a Montgomery, Alabama native and is the Senior Pastor of The Church at Eastern Oaks where he has served since December of 2004. He received his Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Beeson Divinity School. Pastor Daniel has been married to Hanna for 19 years and they have two children, Lydia and Ford.

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