The Power of God
Ye do err, not knowing . . . the power of God. Mt. 22:29
We need to know the power of God. Our Lord is addressing the unbelief of the Sadducees with respect to the resurrection. They just didn’t believe that God could do it. Therefore they erred. But we also can fail to appreciate the power of God as well. Do we believe that God is able to keep his promises to us? Do we believe that he will do all that he has said he will do in the Scriptures? That is a question of the power of God. Do we really believe that God is all-powerful? It is one thing to say we believe it, but it is another thing to really believe it so that it affects the way we think and feel and act. Is the power of God real and relevant to us?
One of the things that is absolutely needful for every Christian to have a firm grasp upon is the doctrine of the providence of God. The Sadducees apparently didn’t believe that God intervened very much in the affairs of men. But the God of the Bible is one who is not just up in heaven wringing his hands over earthly events, but one who is very active and involved in human history. He works all things for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). Now I think a lot of people doubt the power of God because he doesn’t exert it in the ways they think best. Furthermore, when we see so much pain and evil around us, it is sometimes hard to see how God’s power and wisdom are operating. How then can we have confidence in the power of God for us?
I think we have to look to the cross. The apostle Paul tells us that though the cross of Jesus is a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, yet “unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ [is] the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23-24). The cross of Christ is the preeminent example of how suffering and pain and evil not only does not undermine the good purpose and plan of God, but actually serves it. In the cross we see both the power and the wisdom of God on display. Yes, it was by wicked hands that our Lord was crucified and slain. And yet it was also by the “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” that he was crucified and slain (Acts 2:23). As the early church would pray, “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27-28). In this savage act of killing an innocent man, God secured redemption and the forgiveness of sins and eternal life for his people. By the cross, God is undoing all the evil that the devil and wicked men have perpetrated or will perpetrate in this world.
Because of what God the Son did on the cross, God the Father is now for all who believe on his Son. No, that doesn’t mean that believers are exempt from pain and suffering. But it does mean that God is with them now and with Christ they will one day enter into glory forever. In Luke’s account of our Lord’s response to the Sadducees, Jesus says, “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being children of the resurrection” (Lk. 20:35-36). Because of what Christ has done for us, death no longer has the final say. It has lost its sting. We can be sure that the power and wisdom of God is operative for all who belong to Jesus Christ.