Monday, April 17, 2017

Acts 2:22-33 Resurrected and Exalted Christ

KEY TEXT: Acts 2:22-25, 32-33 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it...This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing."

KEY THOT: Jesus Christ not only died and was buried. He also was raised from the dead, an event we celebrate on Easter. But too often, we stop at that. The Resurrection of Christ does not stop at Jesus being raised from the dead; it ends with Jesus being exalted to the right hand of the God. The reason Jesus is raised from the dead is to show that death, sin and the devil have been defeated. But more importantly, that He has now been exalted to sit with the Father in glory, so that at the name of Jesus, "every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10-11). And the good news is that we who are believers are "hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3), so that whatever happens to Christ happens to us. 

In other words, just as Christ was buried, so we were buried with Him. The old self of sin was crucified with Christ as we died in Him. Satan's hold and power over the old self is broken because his legal power over us is caused by our sin. Now that the "old man" is dead, his authority over us is broken. Not only that, even sin's power over us is broken because the old self of sin is dead. As Paul has declared: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). So, the power of sin and Satan has been broken over believers: "sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14). In other words, we have been set free from sinning--and if we choose not to, we have the power of the Spirit to enable us to obey.

But that's not all: Christ was raised and exalted to the right hand of the Father. Following the same principle that our life is "hidden with Christ in God", we are also raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of the Father: "raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6). Believers are not struggling for victory; we are already reigning with Christ in victory. We share Christ's exalted position at the right hand of the Father, exercising his authority and power over everything--including evil and the devil. We have victory over darkness because we are now in the light and have defeated the devil at the Cross. The devil recognizes our victory in Christ but he has managed to deceive many believers to think that they are just forgiven sinners, struggling for victory, instead of justified saints, reigning with Christ in victory.

If we want to be transformed, we need to renew our mind: "be transformed by the renewal of your mind" (Rom. 12:2). If we still have the just-sinner-mindset, we will live like sinners. Such a victim mindset is toxic and will be translated by our brain into toxic and sinful desires. But if we renew our mind to adopt the justified-saint-mindset, then our brain will translate our victor mindset into positive and holy impulses. 

Do not let Satan rob us of our victory through his deception. Defeat lie with truth and we shall regain our victory and become "more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37).

Father God, deliver us from a victim-mindset and transform us by granting us a victor-minset. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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