Overcoming Spiritual Death
Through the Quickening Power of Christ's Resurrection
IN THE ARTICLE, The
Power Released for Our Healing, we took note of fifteen words
Paul used in Ephesians 1:19-21 to define the powers that relate to the
Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we will but see it, these words
direct us toward the power that rightly belongs in God's Kingdom. See
the passage again. We take it from the midst of a prayer Paul prayed.
He said, in effect, "I am praying the eyes of your understanding will
be flooded with light so you can know
...what is the exceeding greatness
of His 1 power to usward who believe,
according to the 2 working of His 3 mighty 4 power which He 5 wrought in Christ, when
He 6 raised Him from 7 the dead and 8 set Him at 9 His own right hand in 10 the heavenly places far above
all 11 principality and 12 power. and 13 might and 14 dominion, and every 15 name that is named..."
Paul used the most powerful array of words imaginable in this prayer.
He asked that believers might know the power of the Resurrection as it
is available to come against the power of the enemy. An understanding
in prayer like this can touch upon every area of life for any soul anywhere.
There is no sin, no problem, no trouble, no woe, no worrisome situation,
no sickness, sorrow or pain, but that the power released through Christ's
Resurrection can relieve the soul of its downward pull and give birth
to hope and light. Insight and understanding into these words Paul used
will give us close access into what took place in the Resurrection. Then
we are close to having its mighty power brought over into
our lives to work in us.
How do we gain the insight that this power is available and can work
in our behalf? We learn to pray what Paul prayed, that the eyes of our
understanding will be flooded with light so we can know.
We gave most of the previous article to the first of the fifteen words, power, from the Greek dúnamis. It
is the enabling power of miracles. There is something more we should say
with regard to this power. Its touch may come upon a destitute soul or
situation and bring the instant relief of a miracle. Thus, one becomes
the recipient of this power with no more exertion of human effort
than it takes to believe. We saw the example of this in the woman with
an issue of blood who was touched by the virtue (dúnamis) that went out from Jesus.
But to become a bearer of this power, and thus an instrument through
whom the operation of miracles may extend to others, is another
matter. Jesus gave clear indication of this when He said, Tarry ye...
until ye be endued with power (dúnamis) from on high--Luke
24:49. He gave yet further insight to Paul when He said, …
My strength (dúnamis) is made perfect in weakness--II Corinthians 12:9. Indeed, it seems that to be an instrument through whom
this power will move and touch others requires the laying down
of one's own life and human power. It requires the desperation of spirit
that will not leave waiting before Him until the enduing comes. This may
require the complete emptying of ourselves.
Strike the words "may require." Replace them with "will require."
The enduing will require the emptying of ourselves if we are to
know the fullness of what God is ready to give. This brings hope as we
move on to the time of the end. Then, every human resource shall
have failed anyway. There will remain no recourse for living except to
draw from the provision of His Kingdom. But oh! What a provision! Nothing
from the realm of man or Satan can exhaust the energetic power and resource
that was manifested in Christ's Resurrection and made available to us
who seek His face.
THROUGHOUT THE 20TH CENTURY there were various great revivals.
There was the Pentecostal revival near the beginning of the century.
There was the Latter Rain revival near the middle of the century that
gave birth to the great Healing revivals. Then there was the Charismatic
revival, the Shepherding revival, the Word of Faith revival, the Blessing
revival, the Renewal revival, the Praise and Worship revival, the
Repentance revival--and whatever else might be named to indicate a
spiritual movement that has drawn multitudes. But there is an alarming
thing. Many who have come through these great movements have remained
subject to backsliding even though they embraced the outward movement
of the Spirit. A seed of corruption has remained.
Will there yet be a movement that draws us onto what this verse says? That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spat. or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should
be holy and without blemish--Ephesians 5:27. There will be.
NOW, WE WANT TO CONSIDER the second word from our Ephesian Statement.
It is working, from the Greek Noun enérgeia. It means "active energy." This is the potential force or inherent
power that works to make something happen. Its Verb form, energéo, means "to communicate energy, or, to put something into operation."
The dynamic power of God's eternal Kingdom--or we could say the energy
of His Kingdom--came into operation in the tomb when He raised Christ
Jesus from the dead. Now we see this Ephesian Scripture drawing
us to know the same operation. See this passage again. Paul said, "I am
praying you might know what is the exceeding greatness of His power
to usward who believe, according to the working (or
"energetic force" from enérgeia) of His mighty
power which He wrought (or "put into operation" from energéo) in Christ, when He raised Him from the
dead." (Taken from Ephesians 1:15-19.) Paul meant simply: "I want
you to know the same release of energy that came into the tomb to raise
Christ from the dead." The way Paul prayed is coming over on us.
Because of the forces of darkness that reach for us, we need to learn
all we can about praying like this. The Holy Spirit is ready to help us.
If we give into the darkness, we become less and less aware of the light
and life of God's Kingdom. Those of us who have even a little light can
learn what these dark forces are and how they work. Then we can become
more precise in our praying. Our own deliverance will increase and we
can help others find their release.
Paul used the two words, enérgeia and energéo, a total of twenty-five times in his Epistles, hardly at all to
speak of human energy. Instead, he told either of an energy that draws
us on in the Kingdom of God's dear Son or an energy that reaches for us
from the kingdom of darkness. The energy that draws us on in Christ's
Kingdom is by far the greater. This gives us hope. If we but know the
energy of His Resurrection, there is no force from the realm of evil that
can maintain its hold on us.
Regarding the energy that reaches for us from the kingdom of darkness,
there are two passages that need our attention: Ephesians 2:1-3 and II
Thessalonians 2:5-9. When we understand these Scriptures, we learn where the
combat zones are for the spiritual warfare to which we are called. Praying
for ourselves as well as our intercession for others is ready to become
accurate and powerful.
HERE WE WILL LOOK AT EPHESIANS 2:1-3. It draws our attention to seven
points of bondage that hold everyone outside of Christ. To name these
very briefly, they are sin, the world, demonic influence, unbelief,
carnal desire, the desires of a darkened mind, and the wrath of
human nature. All the sin, pain and affliction of the human race can
be traced to these seven points. When we see this, we find precisely where
the energy of the Resurrection is ready to take its dead aim and release
in their place the life and power of God's Kingdom. Unless these strongholds
are broken by the power of the Resurrection, they will remain as invitations
for that man of sin to do his last-days work.
Ephesians 2:1-3 is actually a continuation of the prayer and revelation
that came to Paul in Ephesians 1:15-23. The Ephesians 2 verses reveal
those strongholds of spiritual death. They present us with negative truth.
But unless we see their points and address them in the positive light
of what we are learning, they will remain to do a deadly work. While they
reveal what draws a person to destruction, they also reveal exactly where
the energy of the Resurrection will work.
1 And YOU hath he quickened, WHO WERE DEAD in 1 trespasses and sins: (These words "hath
he quickened" are not in the Original. The meaning of the word raised more precisely belongs here, as it occurs in 1:20 to say God raised Him from the dead…and you.)
2 Wherein in time past ye walked 2 according
to the course of this world, 3 according to the prince
of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in (from energéo, "works as an energizing force in") the
children of 4 disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times
past in 5 the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling
the desires of the flesh 6 and of the mind; and were 7 by nature the children
of wrath, even as others.
Much could be written on each point, but our purpose in this brief
article is to see them all together.
1 SIN. From Ephesians 2:1 we find there is the deathlike hold of trespasses and sins. This is a stronghold that has laid
hold on every person. No one is free from the judgment that says all
have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Our hope as believers is that the power of sin was broken when God raised
Christ Jesus from the dead. The central truth of this comes in the Book
of Romans. Its crowning point is in two verses: Romans 6:10,11--For
in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye
also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through
Jesus Christ our Lord. We are learning to lay hold on these two
verses and not let them go. Christ died once, now He lives.
We learn to reckon the same for ourselves. When He died,
we died; as He lives, we live. We learn to bathe in all of Romans Truth,
especially as it is laid out in chapters 3 through 8, but
it is in these two verses that we find our release from sin and, thus,
find its power broken. The key is in the word reckon. It
means "put it down to your account."
We can put it down to our account that when Christ Jesus died, we died.
When He was raised from the dead, we were raised also. But there is something
significant about the word reckon we need to know. It is
from the Present Imperative form of the Greek Verb logízomai. This makes it mean "Reckon and reckon and reckon; never cease
your reckoning that you are dead to sin but alive unto God through
Jesus Christ our Lord." Thus, sin's power is broken, not by a
revival movement, or by self-discipline, but by the power of Christ's
Death and Resurrection.
2 THE WORLD From Ephesians 2:2 we find there is the strong
pull of this world. This is the kósmos, the
secular order as it operates out from under the head of the Lord
Jesus Christ. It becomes clear in Scripture that, ultimately, this very
secular order will come under His head. But presently, this is not so.
Jesus said, In the world ye shall have tribulation (John
16:33). There is a further word: Love not the world, neither
the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (I John 2:15). With
a force of energy many know not how to resist, the world always seeks
to draw us away from the Lord. But we are learning to renounce its strong
pull. When we do this, we can find the life and provision of God's Kingdom.
To live in this world and communicate with its people, but with a decreasing
reliance upon it, is a secret learned by those who live in union with
the Lord Jesus and draw from the energy released in His Resurrection.
Paul found a wonderful secret regarding the world and the means of its
overthrow in his life. Note this verse carefully. But God forbid that
I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world--Galatians 6:14. When we know our identification with Christ Jesus
in His Death and Resurrection, we find our freedom from the strong pull
of the world.
3 DEMONIC POWER From Ephesians 2:2 we learn further there
is the bondage imposed by the prince of the power of the air. Paul
explains this is the spirit that now worketh (as
an energetic force of evil, energéo) in the
children of disobedience. Great insight comes to us here. As a
spiritual force, the prince of the power of the air energizes
every soul toward disobedience. It is no wonder those who
walk in disobedience seem empowered to do so. Jesus called this Empowering
One the prince of this world (John 12:31 and 14:30). In
I John 5:19 John said, The whole world lieth in wickedness, or more clearly, "under the sway of the wicked one." Many
mistake the energy from the wicked one as "the good life." This
is how his deception works.
But we are learning that if we are to come through as victors, we must
break the energetic force that comes from Satan's realm. The passage that
speaks most clearly with regard to this is Ephesians 6:10-18. Just take
your Bible and soak in this passage. Its key word is in verse 12.
It is we wrestle. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places.
Paul has named here four levels of demonic opposition against
which we are to come in a spiritual wrestling. This is part of the great
final battle that has already begun and will only intensify as the age
wears on. Wrestle is from the Greek palé, a
contest in which one contestant must overthrow and then place
a hold on the other. It is given to us to overthrow demonic energy
by the power given us in Christ Jesus and then place a hold on the demons
in His Name. We call in the energy of Christ's Resurrection to effect
4 UNBELIEF Paul spoke in Ephesians 2:2 of the spirit that
now worketh in the children of disobedience. The word disobedience carries with it the power of unbelief. It is from the Greek apeítheia, a very interesting word. It indicates the disposition of a soul
who refuses to believe and thus walks in disobedience. This disposition
of unbelief finds its energy from Satan's kingdom. As unbelief increases
in a life, it attracts the prince of the power of the air all the
more. Thus, he inflames the soul of everyone disposed toward unbelief
so their disobedience will only increase. While it is God's gift to us
to believe; it is Satan's gift to us to not believe.
It is given to us to break away from unbelief and disobedience and place
our belief in the Lord Jesus. Here we find the response of a divine energy
that sets us free.
Nothing breaks the power of disobedience and unbelief like the determination
of a soul to believe. The heart is the inner part of us that can believe.
Also, it is a part in us that can understand, even when our reasoning
mind refuses, or is unable, to do so. Sometimes it is necessary to set
our mind to rest and let our heart respond to the understanding it receives.
Out of this, belief is born, and our miracle of deliverance from the darkness
of unbelief happens.
5 CARNAL DESIRE In Ephesians 2:3 Paul says further, We
all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh. The flesh is the part
of us that opposes the Spirit of God. If left to its devices, it will
control our whole being and bring us to a mean end. We call this work
of the flesh carnality. It drives us so the "needs" of our
body become the controlling factors of life.
While the body does indeed have its needs, it is not necessary for them
to be in control. The same seducing spirit that drives a person to unbelief
and disobedience will drive the same one to consider that his carnal needs
are so important nothing should hinder their demands. This is a pitiful
state in which to approach the final day. As the demands of the flesh
increase their rage, the opportunity to find carnal satisfaction will
Paul found the only One who can tame the flesh is God's Spirit. There
is something for us to note about this in Romans 8:1-13. Here we find
a marvelous display of words as Paul describes the contest between the
flesh and the Spirit. In my own Bible I placed something to
illustrate this war. Every time the flesh occurs I highlighted
it with one color. Every time the Spirit occurs I highlighted it
with another color. I look at this often, for I find after verse 13 the flesh occurs no more, only the Spirit. This keeps
me reminded it is possible for the flesh to be overcome and for the Spirit to win. Then, the flesh can have its just needs met,
but it is the Spirit of God Who has the control.
6 THE DESIRES OF THE DARKENED MIND Ephesians 2:2 also lets us
know there is the strong desire and pull of the mind (the dianoía). Until it is quickened by the power of Christ's
Resurrection, the mind will draw the soul toward spiritual darkness.
When Paul prayed, this darkness was what he addressed first. He said,
"I am praying that the eyes of your understanding ("your dianoía") will be enlightened--Ephesians 1:19. He knew how fierce could be the hold of a darkened understanding.
Only the light released when Christ Jesus arose from the dead can break
that hold. Paul did not pray God would turn on something like the light
of a lamp, nor even like the light of the sun. He asked for something
to come in the understanding more like the light that came when
God first said, Let there be light--Genesis 1:3. At
creation's dawn He called for this light before He called for the light
of the sun. What He called forth was something more like the energy with
which protons and neutrons react in atoms to make creation possible. This
same kind of light, or energy, can come into the darkness of our
souls. It is the energy of the Resurrection. Thus, the work of a new creation
comes into effect in the mind and wonderful things take
7 THE WRATH OF HUMAN NATURE Paul makes then this unusual
and revealing statement. We all... were by nature the children of
wrath, even as others--Ephesians 2:3. This could take on two
meanings. It could mean we are by nature the inflicters of wrath on
others. Or, it could mean that we have become the recipients of wrath
inflicted by others. Sadly, we see quite often how those who have received
wrath themselves inflict wrath on others. This becomes the most dangerous
of all the strongholds. It is crafty and treacherous. It endures fiercely.
If allowed, it will remain hidden in the human spirit to give the anti-Christ
his best last-day platform on which to work.
There is much to write with regard to all this, but let me quote, instead,
from a letter that just came. "Please help me. I'm not a bad person. I
was sick and I didn't have God in my life. When I first came to jail,
I wanted to kill myself. I lost my girlfriend and my father. He died in
December. And I lost my freedom. I've been dealing with losses since the
age of 16. Well, not dealing with them; I don't know how! That's why I'm
writing to you. I'm insecure. I've been abandoned by people I love off
and on all my life and I drink and do drugs to deal with the feelings.
I just wanted to be loved. I grew up around domestic violence. My father
beat my mother. My big brother beat his wife and my sisters' husbands
beat them. Out of six girlfriends, I've done it to three. I'm doing time
for the last one. I almost killed her. Please help me."
Join us in prayer for this man. His name is "Willie." He WILL have a testimony of God's faithfulness.
This gives one example of the wrath of human nature. It holds person
after person--some not as bad as Willie, some worse. We will not write
any more about it here, except to say there is hope for everyone because
of the powerful energy released in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
TAKE, WITH US, the "prayer
starters" accompanying this article. Let the Holy Spirit search your
own heart as you pray and as you open yourself to the energy of the Resurrection.
Its energy can attack with precision every point of darkness that might
yet remain in you and release--right there--its light of hope.
Also, ask the Holy Spirit to help you bring others before God's Throne
that the same light can burst upon their understanding. You can pray like
Paul did, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give unto those you hold before Him the spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of their understanding
being enlightened; that they may know... what is the exceeding
greatness of His power to usward who believe...
Soak in the whole passage from which this is taken. It is Ephesians 1:15-23.
And please don't stop here. Go on, at least, through Ephesians 2:1-7.
It can change your life. The wonder awaits of a shared life with the Lord
© Berean Ministries
The Prayer Starter for this month is
The Quickening Power
of the Resurrection
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