Looking at the "After" Life, Part 1
20Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. 1I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.—Ephesians 3:20 – 4:3
A few days ago, we looked at how people believe in the resurrection, yet don’t understand what it means, or why it’s important to their “after” life. So, I have to ask again, why does the resurrection matter? What difference can it make in my life today?
One of the major ways it makes a difference is that the resurrection means there is power over my past. And if anyone had a dark past that could have kept him from Christ, it was Paul. Acts 9:1 reminds us that he was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.” Acts 8:3 tells us “Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house and dragging off men and women.”
Put yourself in that setting. Children left crying. Christs’ followers murdered. It was awful.
But God’s mercy and grace was and IS abundant and able to overcome Paul’s murderous past. As we celebrate the resurrection, we see that “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13) through Christ. Paul was free from judgment, even from murder. And yet so many people stay stuck in the past, living with guilt or regrets.
It is the “new life” Christ initiated and declared for us through the empty tomb that offers us something different. He has taken our confessed sin, your past and mine, and paid it off! He removed its power over us! How do we know? “Having canceled the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14 NAS).
And so here is the divine do-over. God gives us new life by freeing us from the penalty and the power of our past. We’re really free (John 8:36). How do we get that opportunity? Ask for it. Confess your sins just like the second son in Luke 15. Maybe even do that right now. Take care of business standing in the way of your life.
Leave the trunk of junk, the old identity, the past mistakes, the regrets, the guilt . . . leave it in the tomb where it belongs. Have the funeral. You are not your past. Then rise in your new life.
That’s resurrection power. —Joel Anderson
Prayer – Father, I don’t know why I carry the weight of my past with me. You nailed it to the cross. Why can’t I accept Your forgiveness and let the Your resurrection keep me free of it? Help me to understand the power of the resurrection and even more Lord, help me to live in the freedom You paid so dearly for. In Jesus’ name, Amen.