“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Luke 11:13
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who has called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
We are prone to destruction, to destroy the good, the true, the beautiful. We drift toward squalor (as Pastor Bob proclaimed today). The Fall is repeated over and over again every second throughout the earth. Left to ourselves, we’d trash everything, including ourselves.
But an implication of Epiphany, of Jesus’ manifestation, is that we are not slaves to destruction (or at least we don’t have to be), to sin and its implications. There is another way. One implication of the gospel, really good news for us and all of humankind if they would hear and accept, is that we can leave the squalor behind. Our family backgrounds, our addictions, while strong and influential, do not have to have the last say in how we live. Neither does our gender, lack of power, or lack of riches, or social status. Neither do we have to continue destroying creation, but we can work to redeem the environment and stem the tides of destruction. And this isn’t just empty talk. History shows the good that comes from the gospel (obviously people have used God and the gospel illegitmately to excuse selfish and evil behavior), and we can see the beauty and goodness that come from redeemed lives.
What does this all have to do with us? Well it is my hope that I, and anyone reading this would pause before we engage in destructive thoughts and behaviors. Instead of bringing more death and destruction, it is my hope that we’d allow Christ’s streams of living water to flow through us and into the lives of those around us. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, for this to happen. But it is a grace that God promises to give to us. In I Peter 1:3, the Apostle Peter tells us that God has given us everything that we need for life and godliness. And in Ephesians 3:18-21 Paul prays that we would, “have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen!”
Didn’t Jesus say in Luke 11:3 that he would give us the Holy Spirit, if we but ask? And in Ephesians doesn’t Paul say that God can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask for or imagine according to Christ’s power within us individually and the church collectively? And didn’t Peter say we have everything we need for life and godliness, according to our knowledge of Christ?
Then with Christ’s power at work in us, we can live prayerfully and bring redemption into the lives and institutions and lands we touch. We can break free from the bonds of destruction. We do not have to let the destructive cycle continue.
These are just a few of the implications of Epiphany and Easter. May you be encouraged in Christ.