THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CROSS

THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION

In Ephesians 1 Paul prays that his readers will know the power of God that is active for those who believe in Jesus Christ:

'I pray ...that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his comparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authroity, power and dominion, and every title that can be given ...' (Ephesians 1:18 - 21).

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 ….’ As God himself asks:

'To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?' (Isaiah 40:18)

'To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?' (Isaiah 40:25)

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 (Ephesians 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: 

The resurrection 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 shown to be both a liar and a blasphemer: a mere man making out that he is God.

The resurrection confirms that his death as our substitute is valid. It verifies 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 to eternal, spiritual life:

'... because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus' (Ephesians 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 assurance 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 us 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.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2008, 2021