Pastor Rich continued our series on the Risen Jesus Raising Us. His theme was “Risen to Reign.” He began his message with a reference to Revelation 1: 5b and 6, “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” We are through His resurrection, and His love, raised up to be a kingdom of priests, and He has freed us from our sins.
This is truly a raising up. We who were slaves to sin, are now elevated to priesthood. Our reign is not a rule of power and conceit, but of service and holiness. Sin is mastered, and no longer master through the transformational power of the resurrection.
This is evident in Romans 5:17, “For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” We are transformed by grace to reign in life. This reign is fantastic. We who were lost through the nature of Adam, are now adopted into the family of the King of kings, and Lord of lords. We are the younger siblings of the Prince of Peace, and the adopted children of the King of the universe. How’s that for being lifted up?
But again, we are not to be arrogant or prideful in this. It is through no merit of our own, but by the grace of Him crucified, that in His rising He has raised us as well.
Returning to the transformation into mastery, it is now that we have the ability through the redemption of the blood, that we can rise above circumstance and even our “old self” (the slave self). This is not by works “lest any may boast.” As Pastor Rich rightly said (and in keeping with James’ epistle) we work not to be saved, or to be raised. Grace equals salvation and works. Works do not equate to salvation. We work not to be saved, but because we are. This service to God, and our fellow man is reflective to our reign as a “kingdom of priests” (Rev 1: 6).
Rich illustrated this raising with Gideon in Judges 6. Here is a man, the least of his family, the least family of Manasseh, the least tribe of Israel. Yet, God addresses him as “mighty warrior.” Gideon immediately questions, rather than accept the salutation. But God had ordained him to lead his people. This man who is found hiding in a wine press becomes Judge over Israel. This is the rising we too have through Jesus’ rising.
We have despite our pasts, weaknesses, or doubts been raised to reign.