Monday, January 29, 2018

A Theology of Power Source

Douglas Frank Photograph

A Theology of Power Source

What is your power source? Is it your: a. education, b. wealth, c. talent d. connections or
e. Your church?  Wrong, it is not a-e. Then what is it?  It is God in Jesus Christ through the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit? It is somewhat of a mystery for most, but clearly articulated in many biblical passages and Paul’s New Testament teaching: To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in youthe hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). He goes on to say that he teaches this so that we may all be presented as perfect in Christ. I sure know that I have not yet been made anywhere near perfect even though His righteousness has been imputed or given to me, leading to holiness (Romans 6:19). So I am heading to Romans 6 where there is more teaching on this concept of changing from being servants to the law to servants of Christ.

The Apostle Paul teaches the Ephesian Church, “That it is by grace you are saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God-not of works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10). In other words, as we trust in God, as His creation we are designed to do good works through His originative power.

I am talking about Christ in you and the life in the Holy Spirit. As Romans 5:5 says, He has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us. He demonstrated His love for us while we were yet sinners. He died for us therefore allowing us to escape God’s wrath through His life, death and resurrection. He wants His gift of righteousness to overflow into many for an abundant life. Once saved, we are absolutely not to go on sinning as we have been united with His righteousness. We are to count ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ. We have been set free from sin and have become servants of God, reaping us holiness and eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:22-23).

Even the Apostle Paul in Romans 7 rants about his inability to do what he wants or should do. He sees the law binding him while the Spirit of Christ rescues him from sin. The Spirit of life sets us free, “un-condemned” (Romans 8:1). We are delivered from death into life by God’s abundant provision through the Holy Spirit. It is no longer us who live, but our life is in the Spirit through Jesus Christ who died for us (Galatians 2:20).

As Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 4:6, for God who said, “‘Let the light shine out of the darkness made His light shine in our hearts, to give us light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.’” We have this treasure (the gospel) in jars of clay to show this all-surpassing power is from God, and not from us. No matter what troubles come your way you are not overcome for “life is at work in you” (v.12). So as we “fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen which is eternal” (v.17), to achieve everlasting glory through Him.  

Change is also a process requiring perseverance, so “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) for God Himself is sanctifying you through and through, as your bodies are being kept blameless and being transformed as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God by the renewing of your minds (Romans 12:2).  How?  Offer and submit yourselves to God because “The One who calls us is faithful and He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

We must submit and offer ourselves to God, as His gifts and calling are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). He gives us all things we need for godliness.  Paul tells us, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). And even more so Peter reflects, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of the Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4).  His 7,500 promises will be accomplished through Him in us. So He wants us to add to this knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. If we possess these in increasing measure we will be more effective and productive, cleansed from past sins and becoming more like Him. For if we do these things in His calling to us we will not fall and be welcomed richly into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:6-11 paraphrase).

God is telling us that He is actively working in our lives, yet we need to intentionally clothe ourselves or put on His power. As we put on the “armor of light” (Romans 13:12) we clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus who does the work in us and through us. We are not doing it; He is through His Spirit. When we are weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:8).  Therefore, give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever.  Submit, praise, pray and rejoice continually and He will accomplish His righteous purposes through us.

Author Major Ian Thomas tells us in The Saving Life of Christ, “This is the divine genius that saves a man from futility of self-effort and the burden to pull himself up by his own bootstraps.” Become totally dependent on the life of Christ within you. Abide, dwell, and graft yourself into the vine as His branch and you will bear much fruit, because apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Yes, indeed, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13).  He provides for all our needs so that we can do His will and overcome sins and challenges through Him. He alone is our Power Source- Plug In!

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