The General Secretary of The Church of Pentecost, Apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi, has described Easter as a season of “divine exchange” because it marks the defining moment when Jesus Christ exchanged His sinless life with the sinful nature of humankind by dying on the cross.
Apostle Kumi-Larbi said this yesterday when he delivered a sermon titled “Divine Exchange” at the Resurrection Sunday service held to climax the 2022 Easter Conventions of the Bekwai Zone (Ashanti-Bekwai Area) at the Methodist School Park.
Reading from Luke 23:18-23, the General Secretary recounted the events that led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross.
He explained that in the above passage, Jesus, whom Pilate had found innocent of all charges levelled against Him, was crucified in place of Barabbas, a man who had been jailed for insurrection and murder.
“For three times, Pilate said he had found no grounds for a death penalty, but the crowd insistently demanded that Jesus be crucified. So, he released Barabbas, the sinner, and surrendered the sinless Jesus to their will to be crucified,” he said.
Apostle Kumi-Larbi, however, explained that the death of Jesus in place of Barabbas was no mistake, but the deliberate plan of God to bear the cost of the sin of humanity, and thus, set them free in the process.
According to the General Secretary, the crucifixion of Christ for the sins of Barabbas affirms the doctrine of the “Substitutionary Atonement,” which posits that Jesus died as a substitute for sinners.
Jesus did not only die for Barabbas because scripture is very clear about the fact that Jesus had to die for all people of all time for crucial reasons, he explained, adding, “Jesus died because of human sin – yours, mine and everyone else’s.”
Apostle Kumi-Larbi further stated that, beyond fully paying for the price of sin, Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross has broken the power of sin over believers and made them the righteousness of God.
“Therefore, in Christ, we have been forgiven, justified and sanctified; we have become the righteousness of God. Our former standing and status as people created in the image and likeness of God have been restored,” he stressed.
Having received a new life in Christ, the General Secretary advised Christians to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. He said that one way they can prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ is by living a changed life.
“As children of God, we are called to strive for holiness. We are to hate what is evil and cling to what is good. We should never imply an acceptance of sin, especially in our own lives. All we do should be consistent with what we believe and who we are in Christ,” he said.
Apostle Kumi-Larbi, therefore, advised Christians to put to death their old practices and live up the new life they have received in Christ created to be like God in true holiness and righteousness.
“Jesus identified with our death so that we might be identified with His life. Likewise, He identified with our sin so that we might be identified with His righteousness,” he charged.
The General Secretary also warned believers of religious hypocrisy, where they claim or pretend to be followers of Christ but act otherwise.
He bemoaned that, despite the proliferation of churches in Ghana, the country remains bedevilled with corruption and other forms of injustice.
He, therefore, urged Christians to set their minds on things above and strive to live above reproach in order to rise above the corruption in the land. He also urged them to be responsible citizens and contribute their quota towards nation-building.