Philippians 3:10 Fanning into flame the power of Christ’s resurrection
… the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.
Righteousness through faith in Christ, in a nutshell is expressed in a life empowered by Christ’s resurrection and motivated by Christ’s passion to love God and all people. The more the believer knows Christ through the word, the more he will receive Christ’s power to save and live out His passion for the lost. Today’s devotion teaches believers to fan into flame the power of Christ’s resurrection through which we break curses, overcome our sinful nature and to do the impossible.
… the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith that I may know Him
Paul proceeds to describe how he attains the righteousness that comes from the basis of faith. A person of righteous faith must develop the passion to know Him in order to be like Him and to live like Him. The driving motivation behind Paul is to conform to the likeness of Christ, to obtain the passion that compels Christ to the cross and the power that resurrects Him from death. In a nutshell, Paul’s desire is to know Christ by retracing His footsteps from the earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, and from the grave to the sky.
Man is imprisoned as a slave to the devil to do his bidding. He has no freedom, no purpose and no dignity while awaiting the destruction of his soul. Poverty, sickness and death have become his destiny and heritage. But when God beholds His Son on the cross, a mangled mass of inexplicable suffering and shame, He pardons the unpardonable. However, what God does for humanity goes beyond forgiveness of sin; the mere reversal of death. In resurrection, humanity is elevated from a level of sins-forgiven to the highest station of the universe: the glory of His begotten Son. Hence, man’s expectation of himself must also go beyond freedom from condemnation to acquiring the passion and the resurrection power of Christ – the righteousness of God.
… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection
What is the power of His resurrection? It is the power of the Spirit that raises Jesus from the dead. The power of Christ’s resurrection is the power that is actively at work imbuing life to the believer’s mortal body. It removes the limitations of the natural human body and transforms it according to the heavenly image of Christ. Paul said,
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving spirit… Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Corinthians 15:45,49.
In essence, the power of His resurrection enables believers to do what Christ has done (bear the image of the heavenly) while He is in the flesh and even more as a united church. Christ, in anticipation of the outpouring of the Spirit said, “the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.“ John 14:12. It is God’s desire to fill believers with Christ, the life-giving spirit, so that they can do the works that He does and greater works.
Christ’s resurrection power is evident in Paul’s missionary journeys enabling him to bring the gospel to far out places in the midst of great challenges. What is at that time Paul’s occasional letters to the churches have become inerrant theological documents that underpin the doctrines of Christendom. Without the indwelling Spirit of resurrection, Paul cannot have done this. As the power of Christ’s resurrection is found in the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit becomes the pre-requisite to experiencing the power of the gospel. Therefore, Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” which is able to destroy the bondage of poverty and sickness and to overcome the power of sin and death.
The believer’s vision must go beyond freedom from sin’s condemnation to living the life of Christ.
In Paul’s terms, to possess the righteousness of God is to possess the desire to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection life: the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection. Hence, righteousness is not merely a state of freedom from condemnation, it is evident by the desire to live the life of Christ, which is shown by the power to save, the passion for the lost, and freedom from sin and death.
Popular gospel asserts that righteousness is obtained by simply believing that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to forgive man’s sins forever. Unfortunately, many who bought into this gospel lack the desire to grow in Christ-likeness or in the knowledge of His words. Their vision for life remains largely unchanged apart from their trust in God’s mercy to grant them salvation on judgment day. Their prayers are focused on tackling the cares of life and the means to acquire earthly wealth. They have scant knowledge of how Christ conducts his life in the gospels apart from His willingness to heal and bless.
As a result, many will hide themselves at the appearing of Christ when He returns. For they can find nothing in common with Him, no resonance with His passion for the lost, or for the things of the Spirit.
Believers must learn to constantly fan into flame the resurrection power of the Spirit.
Believers must learn to fan into flame the gift of the Spirit and be one with Him (2 Timothy 1:6). The believer’s mode of operation in the New Covenant is radically different from that of the Old Covenant. In the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit influences the believer from outside of his body through the Law (the figure on the right). However, in the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit resides within the believer and energises him from inside of his body (the figure on the left).
The Old Covenant believer uses his moral determination to conform to God’s laws but is unable to because he is under sin’s bondage. As man is dead in his sin (see Ephesians 2:1-3), he must first be resurrected by the indwelling Spirit. By fanning into flame the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit regenerates every faculty of his being including the way he thinks, feels and moves. The New Covenant believer must make it a daily discipline to fan into flame the life of the Spirit. In doing so, he begins to live effortlessly and supernaturally as Jesus lived.
Many believers are not accustomed to fanning into flame the gift of the Spirit. Hence, they continue to exist like zombies, devoid of the peace, joy and vitality of the Spirit. Believers fan into flame the gift of the Spirit by reading and filling their minds with the words of Christ. Jesus said, “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” John 6:63. Praying in the Spirit is a process that connects the believer to the life of the Spirit. Jude wrote, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God,” Jude 1:20-21.
Are you accustomed to using your moral determination to tackle the problems of the day? The New Covenant mode of operation is to first fan into flame the power of Christ’s resurrection. Make it a practice to read the word and to pray in the Spirit before beginning your day at the workplace.
Dear Lord, forgive me for misplacing the vision of my life. I recommit my myself to live like you in all that I do. I open my heart to receive your Spirit of resurrection. Through the power of Christ’s resurrection, I believe I can do all things that you have commanded. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.