REIGNING IN LIFE
“They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” Romans 5:17.
ENERGIZING POWER TO PERSEVERE
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” – Phil. 4:13. The Philippian racers were appropriating the same grace as Paul (1:7) to become crown winners. II Cor. 12:9, “And he (the Lord) said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Oh, what encouraging statement of spiritual fact. The Lord had let Paul know more than once that His grace was enough to enable him to bear any trouble, and endure or deal with any problem.
THE POWER PLANT
The secret to the power plant of grace is the same as the peace plan (Phil. 4:6-7) for it is found “in Christ” who strengthens us for all things. I am not speaking of a mechanical thing, but of that which is living and spiritual. As we yield to Him, we are infused by the Spirit with inner strength, thus we are sufficient in Christ’s strength.
The power to persevere, that is, to run constantly, consistently, keep on running, with (excuse the expression) “stickability” is far beyond all human resources. This Christian race takes far more than all I have to finish my course with joy – Acts 20:24, as Paul did.
This is an endurance race therefore we are taught to run with patience, looking unto Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith. Heb. 12:2-3. We must learn that it is by waiting on the Lord that we are enabled to run and not be weary and walk and not faint – Isa. 40:31. Over the long course we are made to realize that there is much human weakness.
Those truly running find it necessary to take hold of the promise by faith of “being strengthened with might by His spirit in the inner man.” And oh, yes it is according to the power that worketh in us – Eph. 3:16. We learn to lean upon Him who “strengthens us with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” – Col. 1:11.
Paul questions some saints that had started well, and had run successfully for a while; “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you” – Gal. 5:7-8. Our adversary’s persuasion is always toward hindrance of any spiritual progress. Paul had made it clear in the preceding verse, that all that avails is of “faith which worketh by love.”
Paul could truthfully say; “NOT US!” But rather, “We desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” – Heb. 6:11-12. On our race we may reign in life over indifference. We read of a wonderful example of Abraham who after he had patiently endured he obtained the promise – V. 15.
“I CAN DO”
Confidence: Paul here expresses the confidence of an experienced runner, a veteran warrior, and is for us an stalwart example of grace at work. Paul speaks of some things that he learned by experience. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” – Phil. 4:11-12.
James wrote, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised them that love him” – Jas. 1:12. Paul told Timothy to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ – II Tim. 2:3.
Contents: Everything included, Paul here expresses the total contents of the contest. Whatever the hurdles, however high the obstacles, or hard the hindrances are to mount over, no matter how steep the climb, or how long the race, or strong the winds of adversity against me, or how swift the winning pace. Let it all be included.
Completeness of Divine Capacity: The demands of this competition are beyond all human resources as Jesus said; “Without me ye can do nothing” – Jn. 15:5. Paul said “When I am weak, then am I strong” - II Cor. 12:10.
“WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME”
Capability to be constant and consistent: The power to persevere, keep on running, making spiritual progress is from Him, personal enablement. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful” – I Tim. 1:12. He is my peace, He is my power!!
Part 3 – next issue