Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Power of the Resurrection

In dealing with how we should live for God, we need to start with what God did for us when He saved us. The Father sent His Son to pay the price for our sins (1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:21). This results in our dying with Christ to sin, death, and the law (Romans 6:1-3; 7:1-4; Colossians 3:1-4). This not only means that, having died to these things we are no longer under condemnation (Romans 8:31-34; 14:4; John 3:16-18). But it means we are set free to live a new life in obedience to God (Romans 6:4-11; 7:5-6; Galatians 2:19-21). Not only does Christ's love for us motivate us to obey Him, though it clearly does (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; Titus 2:11-14). But it also provides us with the power necessary to obey Him (2 Peter 1:3; Colossians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 3:18), because without Him we are helpless (John 15:5; Romans 7:14; 8:8). And He calls us to live based on that (Romans 6:12-14; 12:1,2; Matthew 16:24). This is not a life of perfection (Philippians 3:12-16; 1 John 1:8-10; Galatians 5:17), but one where God is at work in our lives to change us (Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29; Galatians 5:16).

Now this truth can be put forth as a gimmick to bring about instant sanctification. But we are not commanded to be crucified with Christ. We are told that, as believers in Jesus Christ, we already have been. Now this should give us a new perspective on life. And it should lead us to trust God for His power, rather than trusting in our own ability (Proverbs 3:5,6; Isaiah 40:31; Psalms 127:1,2). But that does not mean there is not a process of growth and discipline we need to go through (1 Timothy 4:7,8; Hebrews 5:14; 12:1,2) to grow in Christ.

What is involved here is not something we do or some mysterious secret we discover that puts us in the higher rank of Christians who have it all together. Rather, it is a power that every Christian can count on, even if the world around them seems to look bleak and desolate (2 Corinthians 4:7-18; 12:7-10; Romans 8:35-39). We can trust that, even though we are weak and struggling, God's power is at work in our lives. That does not mean it is irrelevant what choices we make. But it does mean we are not left on our own to desperately look for some way to obtain God's power. Nor is God's power not there just because we do not happen to feel it. And we are not left with the feeling that God has deserted us just when we needed Him most because of our own failure to find the right method to get Him to help us. Therefore, the power of God is not something we need to summon, but something we can count on. Even if we do not happen to feel it. 

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