Our Lord is Risen and He Is with His Gathered Church

EasterMessageOn this Resurrection Sunday, as believers in Jesus Christ, we shout to one another and before the world , “But now is Christ risen from the dead!” And rejoicing in His victory over our sin, death, the grave and hell, we also shout, “O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where the victory? …thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor.15:20, 55,57).

For our Easter gospel comfort and hope in this world of trouble, unrest, and fear, when we cannot gather publicly for worship, we may profit from this wonderful message of Rev. C. Haak, “The Risen Lord and the Gathered Church.” Originally a special message for Easter on the Reformed Witness Hour, it was transcribed and printed in the Standard Bearer in 2009. You will find it most appropriate for these times. The risen Lord is in the midst of His church and to her He proclaims, “Peace be unto you.” Hallelujah!

Here’s an excerpt – be sure to go and read the rest of the article.

That is the thing that we must see on this day on which we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. What we must remember is that it was the great concern of the risen Lord on His resurrection day that His church know that He is risen. He appeared to them, and through these appearances He brought them to see the wonder of the resurrection gospel. It came to something of a climax when He appeared to His disciples who were gathered on the resurrection night in the upper room. That is the passage that we find in Luke 24:36-46.

But remember the thought. The thought is this: that the Lord’s great concern was for His church. His church must have no doubt, no uncertainty, no misconception concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the truth that you absolutely must know. And you must know what it means, that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. If you do not know that, your life is vain. If you do not know that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, you are yet in your sin. You are dead. If you do not know that Jesus Christ is risen, and if you do not know it in your heart, then in reality you are living your life only inches from the brink of hell.

This is the gospel: Christ is risen from the dead! And the call of the gospel is: Repent and believe. You as a teenager, you as a college student, you as an expectant mother, a husband or wife, a child—you need to know that Jesus Christ is risen. You must lay hold of that truth by faith.

I said, What a day that was when Jesus arose from the dead. But what a night it was, too, when Jesus’ disciples were gathered in the upper room, behind locked doors. They were discussing the events of the day. And what a discussion it was. There must have been great amazement. And there must have been also great misconception. For it is very plain that the disciples in the upper room that night were thinking in terms of the resurrection of Lazarus. The Lord had raised Lazarus from the dead and Lazarus had come back to this life. The disciples were convinced at this point that Jesus was not dead, that He was indeed risen. But they did not understand the resurrection. They thought that perhaps the Lord had cheated death, and that He had robbed the grave. They had all kinds of questions. Was He now some kind of spirit? Was it truly the Lord? Somehow He was raised. Somehow, perhaps, He was going to come back to them, and things would be like they were before that terrible weekend of the cross.

And we read in the Scriptures that “as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” Suddenly the Lord Jesus Christ stood in their midst, the doors being locked. And there was a response of terror among them.

But before we go to that response of terror, I want to point out to you again this fact that Jesus stood in the midst of them. The Lord is concerned about His church. He has come—where? Well, He has come into the midst of His church. He has come into the midst of those who loved Him and were talking about Him—those who believed, by the grace of God, that He was the Messiah, those whose faith was all wrapped up in Him. The Lord does not come to the disinterested. The Lord does not come to the indifferent one, who sits in church and does not really care today about this gospel. The Lord does not come to them. But He comes to those in whom grace has provoked a profound living interest in Him, to those who on this day desire that the light of the resurrection shine upon their souls. The Lord comes into His church.

If you desire to listen to another edifying Easter gospel message, you are encouraged to hear Rev. R. Kleyn expound 1 Cor.15:20 under the title “Now Is Christ Risen.” It is today’s message on the Reformed Witness Hour.

“We cannot doubt that through him we may now surmount all worry, fear and dread….” ~ J. Calvin

crucifiedandrisencover-JCalvin-2020Moreover, since we have to struggle with such dread [of death, which is “as it were the pit of hell, expressive of God’s wrath.”], we need to know that our Lord Jesus Christ made provision for all our fears, and that even in the midst of death we can still come before God with our heads held high.

…If, then, we have no hope of life when we come before the heavenly Judge, we are sure to be rejected by him. He will not acknowledge us but will disown us, even though we make profession of the Christian faith. We can only await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ if we are persuaded and convinced that he so battled with the terrors of death as to free us from them and to win for us the victory. And although we will always struggle to be conscious of our weaknesses, to turn to God for help and to be continually made to confess our sins so that God alone is seen to be righteous, we can nevertheless be sure that Jesus Christ has fought for us and gained the victory, not for himself but for us. We cannot doubt that through him we may now surmount all worry, fear and dread, and call upon God, certain that he will always receive us with outstretched arm.

It is important that we remember this. We should be clear that there is nothing speculative about the message that our Lord Jesus suffered the awful terrors of death, and that he deliberately stood surety for us before our Judge, so that, because of the battle he fought, we today may triumph over all our infirmities and may persistently call upon God’s name, never doubting that he will answer us and will always be ready in his goodness to receive us to himself. Thus we will pass through life and death, through fire and water, knowing that our Lord Jesus did not fight in vain but gives the victory to all who come to him in faith. That, in sum, is what we need to bear in mind.

Taken from the first sermon of John Calvin, “No Sorrow Like His Sorrow,” in the newly published collection of his sermons on Matthew 26-28 titled Crucified and Risen (Banner of Truth, 2020) “newly translated from the French of 1558 by Robert White.”

This particular quote shows just how relevant the gospel of Christ crucified is, no matter the place or time or circumstance. Faith in this Christ of the cross and empty tomb frees us from fear of death and gives us hope in the life to come.

One also cannot fail to note how pastoral Calvin was in his preaching. He truly ministered the Word to God’s people, convicting them of God’s truth and comforting them with the good news in Christ Jesus.

This will be a collection of sermons you will want to obtain. It makes for fine reading in this time of year.

Vainly They Seal the Dead – An Easter Meditation

sb-logo-rfpaFrom the April 15, 2019 issue of the Standard Bearer we find this edifying meditation on Matt.27:62-66 from the pen of Rev. James Slopsema (emeritus PRC pastor). The title is taken from a line of the familiar resurrection hymn “Low in the Grace He Lay,” and is titled “Vainly They Seal the Dead.”

Believing that every Sunday is a remembrance and celebration of Jesus’s Christ’s victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave, we may again fill our minds with thoughts of His triumph on this Lord’s Day.

A significant watch!

This watch of the Roman soldiers was significant in that it was used by God further to substantiate the fact of Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus’ resurrection is of greatest importance. It is God’s seal of approval on Jesus’ atonement at the cross. It is God’s pledge that He will one day also raise us up from the grave as He did Jesus. And we need a living Savior who can from heaven shower upon us the blessings of the cross for our salvation, beginning with a spiritual resurrection of our dead hearts. As the apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian church, if Christ be not risen, then is our faith vain and we are yet in our sins. (I Corinthians 15:17)

But Jesus’ resurrection was so different than any resurrection before. His resurrection was not a return to this life to remain here a little longer and then to die again. His resurrection was an advancement from the earthly to the heavenly. His mortal, perishable body became immortal and imperishable. His flesh and blood body, adapted to live here on the physical earth, was changed into a spiritual body adapted for heavenly glory. This is why no one saw Jesus rise from the dead. Earthly eyes cannot behold the heavenly.

But because the fact of Jesus’ resurrection is so important for our salvation, God left behind many infallible proof of the resurrection. There was the empty grave discovered by the women. There were the grave clothes left undisturbed, through which Jesus had simply passed. There was the explanation of the angels to the women that Jesus is risen as He said. And then there were the ten appearances of the risen Jesus to His disciples in the forty-day period between His resurrection and ascension into heaven. These all were necessary to convince the disciples of Jesus’ resurrection.

But now with the Roman soldiers set to watch Jesus’ tomb there is something added. To let the women in to discover the empty grave, the Lord sent an angel from heaven to role away the stone that sealed the grave. Not only did the soldiers witness this, but it terrified them so that they became as dead men. After gathering their wits they returned to Jerusalem to inform the Jewish leaders of what had happened. This only verified the truth of the witness of the disciples to Jesus’ resurrection. Even Jesus’ unbelieving enemies had concrete proof of Jesus’ resurrection.

The unbelieving leaders would not accept the fact of the resurrection, even in the face of clear proof. In fact, they paid the soldiers money to spread a false report that, while they slept, the disciples stole his body. That and other preposterous lies have been perpetuated by the unbelieving world to explain away the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. The unbeliever will accept the fact of Jesus’ crucifixion. But he will not and cannot accept the fact of His resurrection. This is because Jesus’ resurrection exposes his unbelief for what it is. It is an evil and foolish rejection of the greatest reality of history – God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Cor. 5:19).

Let us by faith embrace and confess the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

By that faith we will find the great salvation of God.

Risen Indeed

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Now is Christ risen from the dead. That cornerstone of the gospel was firmly laid through the revelation of the risen Lord himself as attested by many and faithful witnesses. The truth of this gospel is corroborated by the experience of the church, of believers of every age. Jesus lives! Raised he was by the Father, and Jesus’ resurrection was God’s answer to Christ’s ‘It is finished.’

Just ask the thousands upon thousands who found no peace in their own righteousness, who were troubled because of their sins, and who were engrafted by faith into Jesus Christ, crucified and raised. They found peace with God through Jesus. Why? Because the Christ who was delivered for our transgressions and raised for our justification entered their heart, and they by grace heard God’s word of righteousness through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

He lives! Just ask the countless throng of believers who in themselves are dead in trespasses and sins, but who have died and have been raised with Christ, who have been delivered from the bondage of sin and now have become servants of righteousness. How? Through the power of the living Lord. He is risen and is become the firstfruits of those who slept. Christ is the first begotten of the dead. He went through the grave into the glory of eternal life as the head of the church. The resurrection is begun, and it cannot possibly stop until all who belong to him and believe on his name and look for the city that has foundations have followed him in that glorious resurrection.

‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?… Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor.15:55-57).

Taken from Herman Hoeksema’s The Amazing Cross, chapter 6 “Risen Indeed,” based on Luke 24:34 (2nd ed. RFPA, 2018), 73-74.

And for your music meditation this Resurrection Sunday, hear this powerful recording of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” by the King’s College Choir.

Keeping Our View of the Risen Christ

When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:3
WHAT a blessed declaration is this!—the words are inexpressibly sweet. Having finished His work, having made an end of sin, having brought in an everlasting righteousness, having risen from the grave, having ascended up on high, Christ has sat down at the right hand of God, reposing in the full satisfaction, glory, and expectancy of His redeeming work. And for what object is He there seated? Why is He thus presented to the eye of faith? That the Church of God might have visibly and constantly before its view a risen, living Christ. Oh how constantly is the Lord teaching us that there is but one Being who can meet our case, and but one Object on which our soul’s affections ought to be supremely placed—even a risen Savior. We have temptations various; trials the world know nothing of, crosses which those who know and love us the most, never suspect; for often the heart’s acutest sorrow is the least discoverable upon the surface.
But here is our great mercy—Christ is alive. What if we are unknown, tried, tempted, and sad; we yet have a risen Savior to go to, who, as Rutherford says, “sighs when I sigh, mourns when I mourn, and when I look up He rejoices.” How can I want for sympathy, when I have a risen Christ? how can I feel alone and sad, when I have the society and the soothing of a living and an ever present Jesus—a Jesus who loves me, who knows all my circumstances, all my feelings, and has His finger upon my every pulse—who sees all my tears, hears all my sighs, and records all my thoughts—who, go to Him when I will, and with what I will, will never say to me no, nor bid me depart unblest—who is risen, exalted, and is set down at the right hand of His Father and my Father, His God and my God, to administer to me all the blessings of the everlasting covenant, and to mete out, as I need them, all the riches of His grace and the supplies of His salvation? Why then should I despond at any circumstance, why despair at any emergency, or sink beneath any trial, when I have a risen, a living Christ to go to?
Oh the amazing power of the Lord’s resurrection! Oh the preciousness of the fruit that springs from it! Communion with our heavenly Father, near walking with God, a life of faith in Christ, living on high – living not only on Christ’s fullness, but on Christ himself; not only on what He has, but on what He is, in His godhead, in His humanity, in the tenderness of His heart, as well as the fullness of His salvation; living in the blessed anticipation of glory, and honor, and immortality; rising in the morning and saying, “This day, and every day, I would consecrate to my God;”—these are some of the fadeless flowers and precious fruits that grow around the grave of Jesus, when faith, listening to the voice that issues from the vacant sepulcher—”He is not here, but is risen”—looks up and beholds Him alive, “seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Then, oh then, it exclaims in a transport of joy, “Whom have I in heaven but you? and there is none upon earth I desire beside you,” you risen, living, and glorious Redeemer!

evening-thoughts-winslowTaken from Octavius Winslow’s book Evening Thoughts (digital version, Kyros Press). This is the devotional for February 24.

On this first Lord’s Day of April, though we are anticipating celebrating our Lord’s resurrection in a few weeks (April 21), let us remember that every Sunday is the day of our risen Savior. This is our comfort and our hope in this present world as we look for the Lord Jesus to return. And our faith-view of this truth is our balm in every trial and temptation, as Winslow reminds us.

Easter Sunday: The Glorious, Gracious Good News of Christ’s Resurrection

john_20_29What a wonderful day Easter Sunday is for Christians in all ages and in every land and place! While every Sunday is truly also a remembrance and celebration of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, Easter is the special time to remember the truth of it and reflect on the wonder of it – for Jesus Christ and for us.

Today in my church we heard two wonderful gospel messages on this core truth of Christianity. Rev. C. Spronk’s two Easter sermons may be heard on Faith PRC’s Sermonaudio channel.

In this post I also want to call attention to the Resurrection Day message broadcast on the Reformed Witness Hour today. Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane, WA) delivered a message titled “Not Faithless But Believing,” based on John 20:24-29. This is the familiar story of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples, and especially to Thomas after His resurrection. Thomas needed special confirmation of his faith in the crucified and risen Savior, and Jesus led him to that through this gracious visit and conversation.

Here is part of Rev. Kleyn’s wonderful message on this pastoral work of Jesus toward one of His beloved disciples:

There are two things we should notice. First, what Jesus says to Thomas. And then second, the manner in which He says it.

In what He says, Jesus is direct and forthright. He says in verse 27: “Be not faithless, but believing.” He is saying to Thomas, “Don’t be unbelieving, but have faith.” He is telling Thomas, “This is your problem: you don’t believe, you don’t have faith when you should.” Now, that does not mean that Thomas was an unbeliever, but rather that, as a believer, he was not trusting and believing the promises and the Word of God as he should. He was refusing to accept them as true and reliable. And for the believer, that is sin, very serious sin. All our other sins get at the things of God that He has given to us and created. This sin, the sin of doubt, gets at the character of God. When we do not believe the Word and the promises of God, we are questioning His truth and His dependability.

And that is what Thomas is doing here. He did not believe what the other disciples told him. But, worse, he did not believe what Jesus had told him. Before His death, Jesus had told the disciples very plainly and repeatedly that He would rise again from the dead on the third day. He had demonstrated His power over death in raising several people from the dead. He had told His disciples, in connection with the resurrection of Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life.” But they did not believe. And now, Jesus is reminding Thomas of what He had said and done and He is telling him, “You should have believed. I told you these things before. And I proved it. Be not faithless, but believing.”

We need to hear the same words of the risen Savior. Jesus is to be believed. He is to be taken at His word. Everything that He says, everything that God says in the Scriptures, is trustworthy and true. And, too often, we are faithless when we ought to be believing. Just think of the promises, all the promises of God in Scripture. And then think of your life and the times of doubt and the times that you wrestle with sin. God has promised that all our sins are forgiven through Jesus’ blood. Yet, all the weight of the guilt of sin makes us wonder sometimes about the power of the cross and the strength of God’s love. The power of sin has been overcome. It has been defeated. God has promised us His Holy Spirit. And yet, too often, in unbelief, we just give in to sin. You believe that all things work together for good to them that love God. You believe that the God who loves you and gave His Son for you is the sovereign over all things. And yet, you are troubled and anxious and faithless when trials come into your life. You believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Yet, at the grave of a loved one, fear wells up in our souls. You believe the promise of Jesus that He is going to come again and that we will be taken to heaven and glory, yet we forget that so often and we do not live in the light of that coming. And then you, then we, need to hear Jesus rebuke: “Be not faithless, but believing.” Believe the word and the promises of the risen Lord.

You may find the full transcript of this message on the RWH website here.

“In the sorrows of Christ… we prepare for Easter, for joy.” ~ W. Wangerin, Jr.

Jn16-20

In order to understand what Walter Wangerin, Jr. is going to say about the above quote, you have to hear what he says about the difference between happiness and joy. The difference is substantial and significant:

The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can’t stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope – and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend upon it) disappoint us [You may recognize his reference to Rom.5:3-5.]

Now in that light read and savor this as we prepare for Easter joy:

“In the sorrows of Christ… we prepare for Easter, for joy. There can be no resurrection from the dead except first there is a death! But then, because we love him above all things, his rising is our joy. And then the certain hope of our own resurrection warrants the joy both now and forever.

For the moment, lay yourselves aside. Become one of the first disciples. And in that skin, consider: what makes the appearance of the resurrected Lord such a transport of joy for you? Consider this in every fiber of your created being. How is it that so durable a joy in born at this encounter? – joy that shall hereafter survive threats and dangers and persecutions and death, even your own death?

…This: not just that the Lord was dead, but that you grieved his death. That , for three days, you yourself did suffer his absence, and then the whole world was for you a hollow horror. That, despite his promises, this last Sabbath lasted forever and was, to your sorrowing heart, the last of the world after all. You experienced, you actually believed, that the end of Jesus was the end of everything.

Death reigned everywhere.

Death alone.

But in the economy of God, what seems the end is but a preparation. For it is, now, to that attitude  and into that experience that the dear Lord Jesus Christ appears – not only an astonishment, gladness and affirmation, but joy indeed!

It is the experience of genuine grief that prepares for joy.

You see? The disciples approached the Resurrection from their bereavement. For them the death was first, and the death was all. Easter, then, was an explosion of Newness, a marvelous splitting of heaven indeed. But for us, who return backward into the past, the Resurrection comes first, and through it we view a death which is, therefore, less consuming, less horrible, even less real. We miss the disciples’ terrible, wonderful preparation.

Unless, as now, we attend to the suffering first, to the cross with sincerest pity and vigilant love, to the dying with most faithful care – and thus prepare for joy.

Reliving-passion-Wangerin-1992Quoted from Walter Wangerin, Jr.’s Reliving the Passion; Meditations on the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus as Recorded in Mark (Zondervan, 1992). This is found in his meditation on John 16:20-22 and 20:19b-20, pp.31-32.

Prayers of the Reformers (20) – Easter Praise and Petitions

prayersofreformers-manschreckFor this final Lord’s Day of April 2017 we post two more prayers from the book Prayers of the Reformers, compiled by Clyde Manschreck and published by Muhlenberg Press (1958).

Since we are still in the season of remembering our Lord’s resurrection from the dead in a special way, and since every Lord’s Day is a celebration of our risen Lord, we give you two Easter prayers today.

The first is an Easter prayer or hymn of Martin Luther (dated 1524) and is taken from the section “A Calendar of Prayer” (p.148). The German title is “Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der den Tod” (Jesus Christ, our Savior, out from the Dead”).

Jesus Christ, who came to save,
And overcame the grave,
Is now arisen,
And sin hath bound in prison.
Have mercy, Lord.

Who withouten sin was found,
Bore our transgression’s wound.
He is our Saviour,
And brings us to God’s favor.
Have mercy, Lord.

Life and mercy, sin and death,
All in his hands he hath;
Them he’ll deliver,
Who trust in him forever.
Have mercy, Lord.

The second is an Easter prayer of Miles Coverdale, simply titled “Easter” (pp.148-49, slightly edited).

O God, strengthen Thou our weak faith in the resurrection of Thy beloved Son:

Illuminate our minds, and expel out of us all darkness, through the light and brightness of the glorious resurrection: O strengthen our weakness through the power of Thy Spirit. Raise us from the death of sin, in the same Spirit and power wherein Thou hast raised up Thy Son from the dead.

Comfort and strengthen us in adversity, and make us constant therein; that we may press through the same in steadfast hope to the joyful and blessed resurrection.

Kindle in us the fire of Thy godly love, that with earnest and fervent desire we may seek and find Thee through Christ…

Set up the spiritual kingdom of Christ Jesus in our hearts, that in us Thy name may be sanctified, and Thy will performed; that we may become Thy virtuous children, and never displease Thee, our gracious Father; that we, continuing still in Thy merciful covenant, do never fall away from the company and fellowship of Thee and Thy Son.

And whereas Thou hast given us such knowledge, grace, and understanding, grant that we may make the same known unto many, being always ready through charitable love to serve our brethren.

Amen.

 

The Wonder of the Resurrection

Easter-1

The Lord is risen!

Wondrous work of God, a recreation which brought life out of death, far more marvelous than the creation of the heavens and the earth.

The Son of GOD came in the likeness of sinful flesh, in the form of a servant, to surrender Himself throughout all His life to the wrath of God, in order to atone for the sins of His people.

The Son of MAN came as the Shepherd to lay down His life for His sheep, even when this involved separation from God in anguish of hellish torments, crying out in the amazement of His complete isolation under the righteous judgment of the God of heaven and earth.

Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, willfully submitted to the power of death; first dying our spiritual death during the three hours of darkness on the cross, and then entering into our physical death by surrendering His spirit into His Father’s hand and commanding death to take His body as its prey. He took His place among the dead of all ages. He set the stage, so that He could march triumphantly before the eyes of the whole world through death into heavenly life.

As a reward on His accomplished work of the cross God raised Him up in the early hours of the third day. As the mighty Conqueror the Son of God arose from the shades of death and entered into a new, heavenly, spiritual, immortal life in His resurrection body.

He lives. We know He lives, for we have the testimony of God’s infallible Word informing us of His resurrection, and we have the seal of the Holy Spirit by faith in our hearts.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, our Lord, Who . . . suffered . . . was crucified, dead and buried, descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. Glorious resurrection!

Taken from an Easter meditation based on John 20:8 written by Rev. Cornelius Hanko, published in the April 1, 1980 issue of the Standard Bearer.

The Gospel of “Re-“, Rev. W. Langerak – April 1, 2017 Standard Bearer

The latest issue of the Standard Bearer (April 1, 2017) is once again filled with interesting, instructive, and edifying articles, as you will see from the cover image below.

One thing to call attention to is the editorial by Rev. Ken Koole. In “Our Need for Seminary Students: Time to Be Praying” he points out with numbers that do not lie that the PRC is going to be in urgent need of candidates for the ministry in the near future. Especially parents and young men ought to direct themselves to that article, but all of us ought to be praying for the fulfillment of this need.

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The article to which I call special attention is the word study by Rev. W. Langerak. The striking title “Re-” tips the reader off that his subject is those words in the Bible that begin with “re-” – and as you will notice, there are many such words in God’s Word.

Pastor Langerak ties these words to the redemption Jesus Christ secured for His people on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that we will celebrate this coming Friday and Sunday, and you will readily see the connection to such words as reconciliation, regeneration, and reward.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from Re- – read and rejoice in which God has done through His Son!

The celebration of our redemption and resurrection in Jesus is a good time to remember the wonderful aspect of the gospel indicated by the prefix re- of these two words. Re- basically means “again” and denotes something repeated, returned back, or done intensely. Redemption, therefore, means “to be bought back” and resurrection “to be raised again.” And re- is one of the most common prefixes in Scripture, which shows the rich significance of “again” to the holy gospel. The gospel is the good news of re-.

Our Father has nurtured, raised, and stretched out His hand to rebellious (to war again) children, children who refused (give back as unwanted) to keep His covenant, hear His word, and obey His law, and rejected (to throw back) even His Christ (Dan. 9:9; Ps. 78:10, Hos. 4:6; Isa. 53:3). He came unto His own, but His own received (to take back) Him not (John 1:11). But the stone the builders reject and refuse, God makes the head of the corner (Ps. 118:22).

Through Christ, God gives us, therefore, the ministry of reconciliation (to bring together again)—that while we were still enemies, we were reconciled to God by His death and assured salvation by His life (Rom. 5:10, Ps. 118:22). Although sheep going astray, we are returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls and received back into His favor (L.D. 4; 1Pet. 2:25).

The gospel is that the Lord remembers (takes to mind again) His covenant forever, but remembers our sins no more (Ps. 105:8; Heb. 10:17). Although He be high, He has respect for the lowly (1Pet. 1:17). He regards the crying of His children (Ps. 106:44). He releases the captives from prison and feeds those who cannot recompense (to pay back) Him again (Luke 14:14). The Lord removes our sins, restores our soul, revives and renews our spirit, repairs our broken hearts, and regenerates (to be born again) us by the incorruptible seed of the Word unto a lively hope that always remains in us (1Pet. 1:3, 23; 1John 3:9).