That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; Philippians 3:10
My pastor spoke about resurrection power this past Easter Sunday, emphasizing that the same power which raised Jesus from the dead is at work in believers every day. We need to remember that every time we face difficulty and discouragement. But what exactly is resurrection power?
First of all, it’s the power to give eternal life. “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). Jesus said he was the resurrection and the life. Any who believe in him, though dead spiritually, will live (John 11:25). Those who believe in him have escaped condemnation and have passed from death to life (John 5:24).
Resurrection power is also the God-given ability to defeat sin in the present. “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:5-6). When we believed in Jesus we were freed from the penalty of sin, but as we continue in faith we escape the power of sin. We no longer serve as slaves of sin, but as servants of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit we can finally say no to the sinful desires of the old man. If we fail to do so, it’s not because of lack of power, but because of our own willful choice.
The power of Jesus’ resurrection is the sovereign power of God, “the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:19-21). The power that sets Jesus above all ungodly authorities operating in the world is the same power that works in us. Therefore, we also have power to influence the evil and wickedness at work in the world.
Finally, Jesus’ resurrection power is the power to show Jesus to the world. Paul said we are “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor 4:10-12). Resurrection power is becoming Christ-like in order to demonstrate Christ in the world, even when it means suffering. It’s the power to tell others the good news and the power to do good for others in Jesus’ name.
Now, there is no question, at least in my mind, about this: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the standard of power in the New Testament… What is there after that? … It is the miracle of miracles! …The proof, the standard of God’s power in the New Testament is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The standard of God’s power in the Old Testament was the deliverance of the people of Israel through the Red Sea which brought them finally into the land of promise. In the Old Testament the miracle is the raising of a dead nation, because they were in captivity, in Egypt, which is a type of the world. They were under the dominion of Pharaoh, which is a type of the devil, and they were brought as the Word of God says, “God called them with a strong hand. He delivered them with a strong hand and a stretched out arm…” In the New Testament the standard miracle, the standard of God’s power, is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Then, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, there is of course the resurrection of the individual from the dead. We are told so again and again. Ephesians 2 for instance says: “You have been quickened who were dead in trespasses and in sins.” Now, he does not say that we will die. He says that we were dead. And the same miracle power that raised up Jesus from the dead is the power that raised us up from the dead. – Leonard Ravenhill
When God accepted Christ, my Head, He accepted me. When He glorified my Head, He made me a partaker of that glory through my Representative. The infinite delight of the Father in His Only-begotten is an infinite delight in all the members of His mystical body. I pray that you may feel the power of His resurrection in this respect and become flooded with delight by the conviction that you are accepted, beloved, and delighted in by the Lord God. The resurrection will make your heart dance for joy if you fully see the pardon, justification and acceptance which it guarantees you. Oh that the Holy Spirit may now take of the things of Christ’s resurrection and apply them to us with justifying power! – Charles Spurgeon
Image by Plum leaves on Flickr, from painting by Eugene Burnand, CC by 2.0