How do you define power?
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the one who is righteous by faith, shall Live.” Romans 1:14-17
What has your experience of the Christian Life been like?
Spiritual power defined in Paul’s letter to the Romans is blending of God’s Spirit with a human spirit that transforms the heart. Let’s go deeper with this.
We are drawing on the thoughts of the Apostle Paul in Romans to unlock the meaning of spiritual power. Context is the most significant piece of digging out his intended meaning.
What are the key words in Romans that help us unlock Paul’s understanding of “power?”
Paul’s describes the Gospel as power. “Power” in Romans 1:16 is the Greek word for dynamite.
For Paul, the gospel was the dynamic of God’s power drawn on by faith.
Paul describes himself as a “bond servant” of Jesus Christ. What could have so moved this proud young Jewish Lawyer who was so zealous for Judaism and the persecution of Christians; to in his words “lose everything” and so change his life’s direction?
Jesus in Romans 1:4 is “declared Son of God with power by His resurrection from the dead.” In Romans 6:4 Paul states that our baptism into Christ placed us into his death and resurrection. So the power of Christ is to course through our veins by faith.
A theme in Romans is what source of power do you draw on, flesh or Spirit. Paul said his life was now the result of serving God “in his spirit.” (Romans 1:9) Paul exchanged his weakness for Christ’s power!
God intended us from the beginning to source ourselves in Spirit power. He breathed “the spirit of life” into Adam. Death came with his fall. Death being “unplugged” from the source of life. Pauls’ understanding of power involves a life that is truly “integrated” with God’s Spirit. You could say a “plugged in life.”
In Romans 6 he says, “you were…now you have become obedient from the heart.” In Romans 2:28,29 he says this in the result of the heart being “circumcised.” It is now reconciled and becoming integrated with God’s Spirit.
He says in Romans 7:4, “that we have been made to die to the law through the body of Christ and become joined to Him who has been raised from the dead, Jesus Christ.” This integration or joining with Christ is where power to live comes from.
He further states in Romans 8:2-4, “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin he condemned sin in the flesh that just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but the Spirit.”
To illustrate this change of power sourcing I like to use a canoeing experience I had with my 7-year-old daughter and some friends. My daughter was trying to paddle at the bow of the canoe. We had a large Duluth Pack in between us and I was struggling against a stiff wind at the stern.
I was tiring out and all of a sudden, I heard laughter. Other members of our group had turned the corner of an island and had ceased to paddle and had lifted a tarp to catch the wind and were hurtling down the other side of the island without paddling!
It struck me how the wind is a power to struggle against or can empower with tremendous alternative energy. The word for spirit and wind in the New Testament is the same word, pneuma!
God desires that we would learn to “catch the wind of the Spirit” and find rest for our souls!
- Do you see this reality in your own life?
- What do you think could hinder God’s power being actualized in your life?
Take the time to go deeper with our discussion on “spiritual power.” Remember, in weakness His power is perfected. What do you see as the dynamic of how this works? Pray for God to reveal Himself to you at this vital point.
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Hill Cities seeks to connect men seeking God. We express this in weekly small group contexts where the Spirit of God leads our process of opening God’s word together.