Published October 29th, 2015 by Dirk Waren
Modern-day Westernized Christianity is often so sterile, dull and impotent it’s a wonder that anyone turns to the LORD at all. Christianity’s about more than just apprehending “fire insurance” and living forever in the awesome “new heavens and new earth”; it’s about walking in the life-of-the-age-to-come now and the dynamite power thereof. We need to get the power back into Christianity. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the power of godliness — the power of like-God-ness.
Let’s start with an amazing statement Jesus made while under arrest when answering the high priest’s inquiry as to whether or not he was the Anointed One of God, the promised Messiah:
Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Matthew 26:64 (NKJV)
Notice that Jesus refers to Father God as “The Power.” The New International Version translates this as “the Mighty One.” The Greek word for “Power” is dunamis (DOO-nah-miss), which is where we get the English dynamite. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines it as “inherent power… residing in a thing by virtue of its nature”.
Get ahold of this: God — YHWH — the Great I AM — isn’t some dull, sterile fuddy duddy in the sky. He’s dynamite power! It’s his very nature! In the Bible he’s called “the Fountain of life” or “the spring of living water” (Psalm 36:9, Jeremiah 2:13 and 17:13). God is dynamite power and he exudes life itself because he is the fountain of life, the source from which all life springs! He’s explosively exciting and full of life!
With this undestanding, here’s an amazing truth about real Christianity: God reproduces his nature in believers through the seed of Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit! It’s for this very reason that Paul had no qualms instructing believers — us — to imitate God as his dearly loved children in Ephesians 5:1. How can we possibly imitate the Almighty Creator of the universe? We can imitate him becasue we’ve been recreated in Christ Jesus and spiritually born as his very children. For proof, check out John 1:12-13 and Titus 3:5. Now, someone might argue that all people are God’s children, even atheists and unbelievers. No, all people are creations of God, but only those who turn to the LORD in repentance and faith through the gospel are born-again spiritually as God’s very children (Acts 20:21).
Here’s the point: God is “the Power“ — dynamite power — and he reproduces this nature in the lives of his children through spiritual rebirth. This means that dynamite power is within every believer, meaning YOU. In other words, dynamite power is at your disposal every day. You just have to tap into it.
A Form of Godliness without the Power
Let’s look into this topic further by examining a passage that is often misinterpreted:
…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
2 Timothy 3:5
This passage is describing legalists. A legalist is someone who is only concerned with putting on the appearances of godliness and not true godliness. It’s fake Christianity, which is why Jesus repeatedly called the religious leaders of first-century Israel “hypocrites,” literally meaning ‘actors.’ They were phony representatives of God, pure and simple.
Since ‘godliness’ means “to be like God” it’s one-and-the-same as producing the fruit of the Spirit because the fruit of the Spirit are the fruits of God’s character. Those who are truly godly are godly because they’re living out of their spirits with the help of the Holy Spirit and therefore produce fruit of the spirit. One of these fruits is power — dynamite power.
Galatians 5:22-23 lists nine fruits of the spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, humility and self-control. This list is awesome and it gives a well-rounded sampling, but the fruits of the spirit are no more limited to these nine fruits than the works of the flesh are limited to the fifteen works cited in the previous three verses. Practical righteousness and truth are also fruits of the spirit, as shown in Ephesians 5:9 and Philippians 1:11. So is power. Jesus told his disciples that they’d receive power from on high when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Luke 24:49 & Acts 1:8). If they were to receive power when the Spirit came upon them it’s obviously because power is a trait of the Spirit, a fruit of God’s character. Yet power is also a fruit of the born-again spirit, as seen in this passage:
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
As you can see, ‘spirit’ here is not capitalized; that’s because it’s not talking about the Holy Spirit, but rather the human spirit. And power is a characteristic — a “fruit” — of the regenerated human spirit. Again, the word ‘power’ comes from the Greek dunamis and this is where we get the English dynamite. Does “dynamite power” sound dull and lifeless? How about joy? Peter described this spiritual fruit as “inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8). Does that sound boring and deathly? No, it sounds full of life and vibrancy! Those who are spiritual naturally produce the fruits of the spirit, while those who are not spiritual, don’t. Obviously the more fruit a person produces the more spiritual he or she is. This is why Jesus said we can recognize those who speak falsely for God “by their fruit” (Matthew 7:15-23). If someone who ministers the Word doesn’t show consistent evidence of the fruit of the spirit it’s a big red flag. If they have an arrogant, abusive spirit and are unrepentant when they miss it, this tells you everything you need to know. They’re false. Leave them! This is precisely what Jesus said to do (Matthew 15:14).
Getting back to 2 Timothy 3:5, notice what the passage says about legalists: They only have a form of godliness, but deny it’s power. How so? Because their godliness is mere outward adornment; it has no depth. It’s outward structure without inward substance. In other words, it’s not real!
The Power of Godliness
I’ve heard some teach on this passage and they wrongly interpret it to mean that legalists deny the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit and charismatic gifts. But this is not what the text says. Read the passage closely; it says that legalists deny the power of godliness. The only godliness legalists have is superficial appearances because they deny godliness’ power. What is the power of godliness that legalists deny? It’s the power of spiritual regeneration and living out of one’s “new man” rather than out of the “old man,” which means being spirit-controlled rather than flesh-ruled:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (24) and to put on the new self, [which is] created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Those who live by their born-again spirit and not of the flesh will naturally produce the fruits of God’s character, meaning they’ll be “like God in true righteousness and holiness.” This doesn’t mean they’ll be perfect, of course, because they still have a body of flesh as long as they’re in this world, which is where 1 John 1:8-9 comes into play. It’s also why John the Baptist stressed that we need to “keep with repentance,” meaning humbly fessing up as we miss it (Matthew & Luke 3:8). Yet those who mature spiritually will become more and more freed-up from the flesh and be “like God,” that is, godly. This is the awesome power of Christianity — being like God, not just putting on a “righteous” act, like the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
Paul alluded to this power when he spoke of the treasure we have in our earthen vessels:
For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
(7) But we have this treasure in jars of clay to know that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7
The “jar of clay” refers to your body or earthen vessel. The “treasure” in your body is your reborn spirit, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. It’s the “new creation”:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Obviously your body isn’t a new creation. Did your body change when you turned to the Lord in repentance and faith? No, this “new creation” refers to your reborn spirit. It’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory”:
God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
How can your spirit possibly be “Christ in you, the hope of glory”? Through spiritual rebirth. Notice how Peter described it:
For you have been born-again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God.
1 Peter 1:23
You’ve been born-again of the imperishable seed of the living, enduring Word of God, meaning Jesus Christ. ‘Seed’ in the Greek literally means “sperm. You’ve been regenerated through the imperishable sperm of Christ. As Jesus declared: “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:3,6).
Why is all this important? I’m simply pointing out the incredible power that is within every believer, a treasure that is full of “glorious riches.” All you have to do is learn to recognize the flesh and not feed it, put it off, which includes keeping your spiritual arteries clear of the build-up of unconfessed sin (you don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying in the water). Be transformed in your mind — in your thinking — through these Scriptures and many more (Romans 12:1-2). And simply learn how to put on the new man and be spirit-controlled as led of the Holy Spirit. If you do this, you’ll experience the dynamite power and full-life Jesus promised in John 10:10. You’ll be “like God in true righteousness and holines.” You*ll be godly, Hallelujah!
Are you excited? Are you feeling encouraged and built-up within? Is there a fire of motivation burning within you? I hope so. If not, you need to check your pulse.
This is the dynamite power that’s available to every believer; all you have to do is learn how to tap into it. If you do, you’ll “reign in life,” as the Bible promises (Romans 5:17); you’ll soar on a spiritual level far above the carnal and intellectual planes and the limitations thereof. Even amidst severe trials and persecutions — like Paul — you’ll reign in the situation inwardly with the peace, favor and power of God to overcome!
Legalists — counterfeit Christians — deny all this. They deny the power of this new life, the power of spiritual regeneration, the power of godliness. All they can do is put on a form of godliness, a useless outer garnishment. And that’s why they’re so dull, sterile and impotent. As Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16,20).
Needless to say, reject the sterile, impotent, phony “Christianity” that’s so prevalent and learn to tap into the dynamite power of God within and “participate in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Amen!
For more details see this video.
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