But God raised Jesus up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. Acts 2:24
I’ve been ruminating a lot this weekend about the idea of “Living faith out loud.” It’s one of my catch-phrases. When I use it I’m talking about putting faith into practice, about living so that there is no doubt that we are followers of the Living Way of Jesus.
But it’s hard to speak in practical terms about exactly what “living faith out loud” looks like. Then, Saturday evening, getting ready for my “Practical Christianity” Sunday morning Adult-ed class, I ran across the scripture passage quoted above: Having been freed from death, the scripture declares, it was impossible for Jesus to be held in its power.
POWER! OK. I don’t know about you, but I find that idea to be incredibly powerful! We, because of Jesus, have been freed from death. Death no longer has any clout in our lives. Jesus has defeated death, and we have been carried over into that freedom along with Jesus.
Put another way, Jesus launched a new kind of life when he was resurrected on Easter Sunday. He wasn’t – and we’ve discussed this before – brought back to life… instead, Jesus was brought forward into a new kind of life. This is the new life we have been invited into.
Consequently, it could be said of us that, “Having been freed from death, it is impossible for Derek, or Bernie, or Ruth, or Ron, or ___________ (insert your name, here) to be held in its power.”
That is an absolutely radical idea!
Think about your life. Think about the hold things have over you. Missteps, and mistakes? We still make them, but we are forgiven! Anxiety? We have been freed! Jealousy? Disappointment? Free, and free some more! Anger? Rage? Bitterness? Free, free, free! Defeatism and giving ourselves over to negativity? No hold over us, baby! Fear? Lack of confidence? Self-doubt? Jesus has set us free!
DEATH-GRIP: Sin has a death-grip on too many people. This world is paying the consequences every hour of every single day. It’s like the darkness has taken hold in more and more places, including the lives of ordinary people, people who live as if they don’t believe anymore that the light is even a possibility.
But it is not so! Having been freed from death, it is impossible for us to be held in its power!
Free! But free for what purpose. Well there’s, “To love God and to enjoy God forever.” But then there is also the imperative that we go out there and kick darkness’ butt. Ninja-discipleship!
This is God’s Word we’re talking about here; and there is power, there is truth, there is responsibility. We need to know this stuff, and then we need to live as if we believe it.
PROMISE! Listen to this, and then I’ll close so you can turn off the computer and hurry over to church:
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:12-13