Written: June 2, 2017 | Updated on June 8th, 2022 | Jun P. Espina
The Power of Christ
Are you suffering from a certain difficulty or trouble that is beyond your innate cleverness to untangle? “It is killing me!” A common expression when a problem bugs you stubbornly. A certain man couldn’t have peace with all the daily pressure he received from his dwindling employment. Confused, he prayed and read the Bible until he became a follower of our Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul describes this scenario as the plugging in of the power of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the apostle Paul wrote about Christ’s description of His power: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
We Need to Humble Ourselves Before the Lord
Let the word of our Lord sink in: “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Have you noticed those oligarchs around us playing God like when there is a pandemic? God cannot work with them. Our Lord went to the ignorant Galileans rather than the powerful Pharisees and Sadducees. He healed Bartimaeus, who cried out for His help, but not the other blind men living at Jericho when He passed by that place. The inspired doctrine is not difficult to understand: we need to humble ourselves and come to our Lord by faith so we could activate the power of Christ in our life.
The context of 2 Corinthians 12:9 circles back to Paul’s story about his mysterious trip to Paradise (v. 4), and to humble himself, God gave him “a thorn in the flesh,” a messenger of Satan to torment him. What is this thorn? Some said it could be his chronic eye problem, emotional torture, whatever (no one knows).
“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’” (vv. 8-9).
How Will the Power of Christ Work?
First, the power of Christ means the power of the Spirit of Christ. The non-Christians cannot have this divine favor. Paul said I’m not eloquent, but my preaching “is a demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (1 Cor. 2:4)
Can you imagine a life without Christ’s Spirit? You have a lost and powerless life just near you. She can be your wife or child. Some said 1/3 of the world’s population is Christian.
Just talk with your neighbor today (let’s call your name, Bob, in our made-up story) and you have a two-thirds possibility the guy next door is not a worshipper of Jesus.
Let’s observe Bob’s life; he has an immense house, luxurious cars, a beautiful wife, and intelligent children. But he does not have the power of Christ after his doctor gave him just three months of life. In his gloom, Bob cried alone, and he also lost his appetite for food.
That is the point: he humbled himself as he struggled against cancer, but he cannot switch on the power of Christ in his hour of despair. Our Lord said to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Bob had experienced physiological and psychological weakness and he sought the face of God—but he could not activate the power of Christ in his life! He is a lost soul and Christ cannot help him. Bob prayed like no other, but our Lord cannot hear him.
Read More: Saved by Faith in Christ Jesus
Are We Not Prejudging Bob?
No, the apostle Paul taught we need to know and experience belongingness, ownership, and fellowship with Christ before we can plug into the power of Jesus. Did you know that most of those who Facebook that they love “papa Jesus” don’t have Jesus in their lives? It’s a long story, but Paul explained the teaching in just one sentence. He said in Galatians 2:20: “Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” “Christ lives in me”—how to absorb this stuff! Yes, he meant Christ’s Spirit lives in his soul.
So, Bob, in his predicament, can never claim that “Christ lives in me,” right? Yes, we’re not prejudging Bob. One can never say you love Jesus sincerely if you haven’t experienced His Spirit in your soul. Bob is not a Christian and did not know about the Gospel of salvation through faith in Christ’s atoning blood at Calvary.
The Power of Christ Will Work Only After an Event with Jesus in Your Life
I am talking about an event of Christ. What is it? Well, I want to explain this truth through the example of one disciple named Thomas. He was with Jesus together with the eleven others but did not believe in our Lord. After Christ’s resurrection, he said, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25) It was not Thomas’ event with Jesus, not yet.
Our character Bob, at age 60, has never been a religious guy. Thomas was with Jesus, heard our Lord’s teaching, and witnessed most of His miracles. Yet he cannot turn on the power of Christ to give him wisdom for his spiritual growth, such as believing that Jesus rose from the grave. Bob’s case is beyond comparison.
Now, what was Thomas’ “event of Christ”? Well, when he saw the resurrected Jesus, faced Him, and realized his sin of unbelief. Then he said: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) It was my spiritual episode and encounter with the risen Christ, too, when I first trusted Him as God the Son after hearing a sermon one Sunday morning.
Christians call it the born-again experience.
Let’s Give Bob the Shot of Enabling the Power of Christ
One day, our character Bob met a born-again Christian, his poor neighbor named Jack whom he dislikes in the back of his mind. This time, Bob listened to Jack’s Jesus story given his situation.
After a week, Bob’s health had declined steadily. He knew he cannot survive a couple of months.
He knocked on Jack’s door (he didn’t do it for a long time) and asked him to pray for him. But Jack refused.
“Why, tell me what’s lacking? I believe in your Jesus’ story. No problem?”
“Well, Bob, you need to acknowledge that God is holy,” answered Jack.
“So what?” Bob seemed impatient—he cannot hide his rich man’s sense of superiority.
“We are sinners, Bob, all of us,” said his neighbor. “We’re just like worms in heaven—and God cannot hear us even if we pray together overnight. You need to repent.”
Bob Trusted Jesus and Invited Him into His Life
Long story short, Bob realized he needs to trust his soul completely into the hands of the risen Christ by faith. Why? Because he is a sinner like all others and God requires the blood of His Son Jesus for one to receive forgiveness and to enter heaven—to live there forever.
Later, after discussing the Scriptures at length, Bob said, “Thank you, my friend. I’m no longer afraid to die. I trust in Christ Jesus, and to borrow from Thomas: Christ is “my Lord and my God.”
Bob then returned home and was very excited to tell his wife: “Honey, I’m no longer afraid to die, because Jesus saved my soul tonight.”
It was Bob’s event with our Lord, and his faith activated the power of Christ in him. Yes, the Spirit of the Lord assured him of salvation and illumined his soul. The Word of Christ affected him and touched his heart more than ever. John 3:36 became his cherished Scripture:
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
How did Bob turn on the power of Christ in his life? Well, Bob shared with his wife his experience with Christ. It was his God-given hope to be with Christ in heaven should he die because of his ailment. How did his HOPE IN JESUS enter his soul? How did he know about his ETERNAL LIFE in Jesus? Well, when he trusted the promises of God in the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit helped him see that, like Thomas, Christ was his Lord and God.
Wrote the apostle John: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13) After his experience with the Spirit of Christ, he knew Jesus the way all born-again Christians experienced His truths for the past two thousand years.
The Spirit of our Lord planted into his soul his assurance of eternal life. Because of the reality of his born-again experience, his heart has prompted him to rejoice over Paul’s declaration of faith in Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”