The Easter victory - Page 3
But more than that, Our Lord’s now proved supremacy over evil assured the apostles that their failure and their downfall were neither final nor beyond remedy. And the same is true of us in our turn. Only our sins can separate us from God, and we in ourselves are utterly powerless to shake ourselves free of them.
“Forgive us our trespasses” is our plea in the Lord’s Prayer – and with good reason, because we cannot confer forgiveness on ourselves, that is to say, we cannot put right our relationship with the all holy God once it has gone wrong. “Deliver us from evil”, we pray – because we cannot deliver ourselves, we cannot achieve our own salvation. Only the sinless and victorious Christ can do that, by bestowing on us his forgiveness for the past and his spiritual power for the future.
So all our hope of victory over the evil within ourselves is pinned on the Resurrection, which is the guarantee that Christ is a living Christ, the living Lord of today. As St Paul says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (NRSV, 1 Corinthians 15:17). And in that case our sins of thought and of word and of act, on which this Lent has focused our attention, they would clutch us, and keep us from God for ever. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…” (NRSV, 1 Corinthians 15:20), conquering and to conquer not only for us but also in us.