Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 66

The Advent Part 58

As Peter continues his discourse, he begins speaking about the resurrection of Jesus, the one issue that the devout and the religious men of the time had the biggest problem with. It was only when they started teaching the resurrection of Christ, and the fact that God raised Him from the dead that the Apostles and those who believed began to be persecuted in Jerusalem and subsequently throughout the world.

For us, as believers, as followers of Christ, and as children of God, the resurrection of Christ is the light of hope that burns in our hearts perpetually. Jesus conquered death, death has no power, and we who are in Him know that one day we will likewise rise, and be received into the eternal Kingdom.

The resurrection of Chris tis likewise the sign that our redemption is real, that the Father received the Son’s sacrifice, that we have been justified in the sight of God, and that the wages of our sin was paid in full.

Romans 4:23-25, “Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”

The significance of the resurrection of Christ is undeniable, and we can clearly see this in Peter’s discourse. This was the first sermon ever preached in the history of the Church, and of the fifteen verses of Peter’s discourse ten of them refer to the resurrection of Jesus.

As is plainly visible in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the duty and responsibility of those who are in truth disciples of Christ, is to be witnesses to His resurrection. We serve not only a crucified Christ, but a resurrected Christ, and it is His resurrection, His being raised from the dead, that gives us hope, and courage and faith, that one day we will be raised together with Him.

2 Corinthians 4:13-14, “But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.”

Romans 6:4-9, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised form the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.”

Peter outlined the truth of the resurrection, and the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead in four distinct steps. First, Peter calls the resurrection a work of God, second he refers to the prophecy given by King David concerning the resurrection, third he explains it from an apostolic perspective, and fourth he gives an apostolic testimony of what he and the others witnessed.

When God begins a work, He is faithful to complete it, because He is both the Alpha, the beginning, and also the Omega, the end. God raised His Son Jesus, forever shattering the bonds of death, and death no longer has dominion over Him.

The glorious hope that carries us is that if we have died with Christ, we shall also live with Him. Now having died with Christ implies certain truths, that much of today’s church chooses to overlook, the most important of which is that the body of sin was done away with, and that we are no longer slaves to sin. The old man was crucified with Christ, it was done away with, and as such sin no longer holds sway over us. Our natural state of a child of God is holiness, the natural state of a child of God is righteousness, the natural state of a child of God is to be free from sin, these things are not the exception, but the rule.

As clear as the Word is concerning the fact that we ought no longer to be slaves to sin, as clear as the Word is concerning the fact that the body of sin must be done away with once we are crucified with Christ, much of today’s church hesitates and is reluctant when it comes to speaking and teaching on this topic.

‘Well, no we don’t preach against sin in our church, because it might turn some people off to the message of the Gospel.’

But the message of the gospel is the death of the old man, the message of the gospel is the transformation from the old life to a new life in Christ, the message of the Gospel is what Jesus does in the heart and life of an individual once that individual submits to the authority of God. We cannot exclude repentance from our teachings, we cannot exclude holiness from our teachings, we cannot exclude death to sin and the crucifixion of the flesh from our teachings and still believe that we are presenting the whole counsel of God, and teaching the Gospel in its entirety.

God requires sanctification, God requires transformation, and if we submit, He will transform us and sanctify us, and make us free men who are no longer slaves to sin, but who have overcome it and been made new by the blood of Christ Jesus.

We have the Word of God, we know what it says, and as such claiming ignorance of the truth on that great and terrible day of the Lord will not excuse or justify our unwillingness to pursue righteousness and holiness unto God.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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