THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CROSS
THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION
In Ephesians 1:18-19 Paul prays that his readers will know God’s ‘incomparably great power for us who believe’ then goes on to explain the greatness of that power [ 1:19-2:10 ].
God’s power is ‘incomparably great’ – it is beyond comparison because there is no other power in heaven or on earth that can come anywhere near it. Like God himself there is nothing up there on that level that we can say ‘God’s power is like ….’ [Read Isaiah 40:18,25]
God’s power is ‘for us who believe’. This awesome, incomparable power is on our side! It is active for us. It is not against us. All that God did in and through the incarnation and life of Christ, and through his death and resurrection was done for us, with us and our eternal well-being in mind. All the defeat of sin, death and Satan that his power achieved was done for us. All the amazing work of regeneration, redemption, renewal, reconciliation and renewal - all of the power of God that brought this about … was active for us.
God’s power is his ‘mighty strength’. There is nothing stronger than God’s power … nothing that can undo what he has done for us, nothing [Romans 8:17-39] that can separate us from his love for us in Christ, because there is nothing that has the power and nothing that has the authority. No strength is stronger than his – not even the strength of our sin.
This mighty strength of God is the power and authority exercised and demonstrated in the resurrection of Christ from the dead [1:20] and in God’s raising Christ up to the position of authority at his right hand.
The resurrection of Christ is of extreme importance:
- It affirms and validates all of Jesus Christ’s claims to be the source and giver of life, identifying him as the Lord of life, the Son of God in whom all the fullness of God dwelt in bodily form [Romans 1:4; John1:1-4; Colossians 1:19; 2:9]. Without the resurrection the claims of Christ are null and void. Without the resurrection he is proven both a liar and a blasphemer: a mere man making out that he is God.
- It confirms that his death as our substitute is valid … verifying that he had no sins of his own for which to bear the just penalty and punishment, and, having taken the full condemnation due to us, he annulled the power of the law of sin and death, and revoked its authority. Without the resurrection there is no validity in the salvation proclaimed in the Bible: no basis on which to believe that the death of Christ was a valid death on our behalf, no basis to trust that it gained the forgiveness of all our sins, no basis to believe that we are now liberated from the law of sin and death, removed from the arena of condemnation, and reconciled to God.
Paul wants us to understand that God had both the power and authority to raise Christ out of death and condemnation, and that it is this same power and this same act of God that has raised believers from death and condemnation [2:1,5] to eternal, spiritual life [2:4-7].
Knowing that this incomparable power of God that overcame sin, death and condemnation, is the same power of God that saved us and keeps us saved, is the foundational source of the believer’s joy, peace and security in the presence of God. Our salvation is not in weak hands: it is in the strongest hands that exist; it is not in temporary hands: it is in the hands of the eternal One; it is not in uncommitted, variable hands: it is in hands of him who so loved that he gave his Son.
God wants us to realize how great his power active towards us and on our behalf actually is, and in that realisation, to have total assurance of salvation.