The Cross: The Power Of God - Part III
In His magnificent wisdom God planned the cross of Christ from before the foundation of the world. God’s awesome power was made known unto us by the laws to which nature abides. Clearly, His omnipotent power and glory is witnessed in His creation and that witness testifies to all fallen humanity that there is a God—a God of perfect order who should be sought out by everyone.
Heretofore, sin-fallen mankind needed another realm of God’s power to be spiritually born again—for service and for daily living. All three of these needs for God’s power were made available to us by the cross. The cross is the means that made it possible for humanity to have God’s miraculous power to be spiritually born again, for evangelistic service, and to live for God.
Power To Save
“For the preaching (word, message) of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto to us which are saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18).
Jesus is the door, the cross is the means, and our faith is the key to receive power from God.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
The mission of Christ in becoming man was for the purpose of redeeming man. His virgin birth and perfect life made him suitable for God to become the only acceptable sacrifice to God for man’s sins. The finished work of the cross made it possible to also put man back into relationship with God. The cross accomplished redemption, and the cross also supplied reconciliation. “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ…” (II Cor 5:18).
Salvation is for “whosoever will.” Christ died for all, but only those that accept Him and His death on the cross will receive his power for the new birth. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power (legal right) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” (John 1:12).
Redemption supplies the kind of power that creates a spiritually new person with a new heart and a new nature. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are made new.” (II Cor 5:17)
The cross broke the power of Satan over humanity. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).
Power For Service
Every believer is called to participate in the Great Commission, “Go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
Prior to engaging in our mission to fulfill our calling, we are commanded by the Lord to receive power. The mighty baptism in the Holy Spirit is not optional. John the Baptist spoke of this as he prepared the hearts of the Jews to receive their Messiah: “…I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” (Luke 3:16)
Jesus commanded his disciples, “…not to depart Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence…But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:4-5,8).
Power for service is essential for every believer. The word used for power is dunamis. Strong’s Concordance says dunamis power means “force, specifically miraculous power, ability, abundance, meaning, might, power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.”
The anointing (help) of the Holy Spirit is what makes all the difference in every believer’s ministry calling. The ministry of the Holy Spirit to us will always glorify Jesus Christ. The fact that He is God makes Him worthy of all glory, but the unique distinction, and emphasis of our Lord’s finished work on the cross, now makes Him worthy of the glory as being our Savior. In the book of Acts, at the Feast of Pentecost, the promise of the Holy Spirit descended, and the inaugural birth of the church began. It has been said that the book of Acts is not so much the acts of the apostles but the acts of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, “…without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). As we understand and operate in the power of God for service to the unbelieving world, our responsibility is to lift up Christ.
When it comes to our place of service in the body of Christ, the baptism in the Holy Spirit enables us to operate more effectively in the gifts of the Spirit. There are nine gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12—three of these gifts are vocal gifts and emphasized with their administration and discussed in I Corinthians 14. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are to benefit the body of Christ: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (I Cor. 12:7).
- “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32).
- “…no man cometh unto the Father, but by me…” (John 14:6).
- “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44).
Paul would say later in the chapter that there was to be no schisms in the body of Christ but that members should care for one another, and with the various gifts each member of the body of Christ edifies one another.
Power To Live A Godly Life
Perhaps the most important aspect of God’s power is seen in the believer’s walk with God. The fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance—are witnessed by the actions of believers and are observed by the saved and unsaved alike. The nine fruits of the Spirit do not grow separately but holistically. For example, one cannot have love and not have faith. The fruits of the Spirit are the manifestation of God’s character being formed in us.
When Adam sinned, mankind was subjected to being born dead in trespasses and sin. The result left mankind ruled and dominated by the sin nature. The corrupting power of the sin nature made it impossible for mankind to please and serve God. The cross provided a double cure; it paid the debt for sin that man owed God and also broke the power of the sin nature that corrupted man. As the old saying goes, “The cross gave us victory over sin, the flesh, and the devil.”
To receive the power of God for living, one must daily deny himself and take up the cross. Denying self simply means we do not rely on our willpower or talents to bring us strength and power for daily living. We make the cross our object of faith and wait upon the power of the Holy Spirit to give us Christ’s victory. This is guaranteed to work because it is a law ordained of God: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).
The same Holy Spirit power that raised Christ from the dead is the same Holy Spirit that quickens our mortal bodies to live in victory!