Russell and Duenes

Not Just Love, but Spiritual Power, is a Central Gift and Mark of God’s Saving Work

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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16)

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5)

“Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. (1 Cor. 4:18-20)

St. Paul says that “we have this treasure [i.e., the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ] in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. (2 Cor. 4:7)

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (2 Cor. 10:3-4).

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

St. Paul prays that believers will know “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Eph. 1:19)

St. Paul prays that the Father “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” (Eph. 3:16)

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” (Eph. 3:20)

St. Paul’s aim in life is to “know [Christ] and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Phil. 3:10)

St. Paul prays that the believers “will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” (Col. 1:10-11)

St. Paul says that he “labor[s], striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” (Col 1:29)

St. Paul tells the Thessalonians that “our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”

“To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1:11-12)

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” (2 Tim. 1:8)

St. Paul says that some folks are “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” (2 Tim. 3:5)

And these are just St. Paul’s expositions on the centrality of spiritual power in the lives of believers. The other NT writings would add to this. We should take several things away from the above Scriptures:

(1) The God of the Bible is a God of power, and He gives power to His children;

(2) the experience of God’s salvation is an experience of spiritual power, not just information transfer or believing new ideas;

(3) the power God gives is a power to comprehend truth, and a power in our characters to become people who live like Jesus lived, in holiness and righteousness;

(4) the power God gives enables us to defeat dark spiritual powers and overcome temptations to sin, i.e., to make progress in godliness and spiritual maturity;

(5) God’s power residing in believers is surpassingly great;

(6) having God’s power in our lives is a desirable thing and we should seek after it;

(7) we should labor for the good of others, not in our own strength, but according to God’s power, which will mightily work within us for their good.

There are many other implications of God’s power in our lives, which we should ponder. We should also consider whether we have given short shrift to God’s power in our lives to make progress in holiness, righteousness and godly character. Given that we have the fullness of God dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit, we should expect that we can make significant progress in godliness in this life, without succumbing to an unbiblical perfectionism or arrogance. The Bible’s teaching on our reception of God’s power should not make us think that we can make only miniscule progress in this life.

So let us, like St. Paul, seek to know Christ “and the power of His resurrection,” so that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and attain to the knowledge of the Son of God, and become mature people, attaining to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ, . . . no longer children tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but . . . grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” (Eph. 2)




Written by Michael Duenes

June 12, 2017 at 4:46 am

Posted in Duenes, Theology

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