I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. (Philippians 3:10)
From start to finish the Christian faith is about ‘power’. Indeed if we don’t believe in the power of God – witnessed to in Scripture and still available today – then it is somewhat doubtful whether we have experienced authentic Christianity, which is about the power of God from start to finish. Well-known author Jim Packer puts it like this: ‘Supernatural living through supernatural empowering is at the very heart of New Testament Christianity, so that those who, while professing faith, do not experience and show forth this empowering are suspect by New Testament standards’ (Keep in Step with the Spirit). What a challenge that is! But also, what a promise!
It really is quite impossible to read about the New Testament church – whether through the book of Acts or through the letters – and not see this power as a normal part of their everyday life. Paul recognized that any effective ministry through him had been entirely ‘by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit’ (Romans 15:19); that the gospel had been preached by him ‘not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power’ (1 Corinthians 2:4-5); that even his ‘thorn in the flesh’ helped him to experience more of God’s power as he learned that, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9). Here was a man who believed in the power of the Spirit! And he taught his churches to do the same, warning them to have nothing to do with those ‘having a form of godliness but denying its power’ (2 Timothy 3:5).
We cannot dismiss these demonstrations of supernatural power, or confine them to a narrow band of time or people, or say that ‘this was just for those days’. The power of the Spirit is always available, for the simple reason that the person of the Spirit is always available.
Today, don’t be afraid of God’s power, but be expectant of encountering his power, just as he promised – it really is quite ‘normal’!
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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