Part 5

Overcoming Spiritual Death
Through the Quickening Power of Christ's Resurrection

Ed Corley

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.

Ephesians 2
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.)
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:
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 this.

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 only decrease.

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 place.

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 Jesus.

© Berean Ministries

The Prayer Starter for this month is
The Quickening Power of the Resurrection

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