by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 6 August 22, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
1901 ASV Translation:
4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection;
I. The Connection Between Christ's Resurrection and Our Current Quality of Life.
A. The mechanism of the resurrection of Christ from the dead was "the glory of the Father".
1. The focus of this "mechanism" is identified by Paul in Romans 1:4 as "power".
a. This is deemed by Paul to be a most fundamental issue in that one of two crucial revealed facts that leave men "without excuse" is "power" (Romans 1:20).
b. This is deemed by God to be a most fundamental issue in that the initial characterization that He chose to use in divine revelation regarding Himself is that He is "God" (i.e., "Elohim" -- the Executor of Power).
c. The claim of biblical revelation is that "power" is a primary concern for the creatures of God: nothing can occur without it. There is no point to "love" where there is no "power"; there is no point to "faith" where there is no "power"; there can be no "hope" whatsoever where there in no "power"; and it appears from what we think we know from scientific inquiry that "power" in the form of energy is, perhaps, the most fundamental building block of all of creation.
2. The resurrection of Christ stands as the most potent of all manifestations of Truth in respect to the myriad of complications involved in the issues of "faith".
a. It is no accident that the prophetic word claims that the vast majority of humanity will be led astray in the last days by the demonstration of "power" by a false prophet who will be able to call fire down from heaven.
b. It is no accident that many of the activities of Yahweh Elohim in the Old Testament were deliberately designed to humiliate the "gods" who were the objects of men's faith so that those men would turn from those false "gods" and turn to the One True Executor of Power. In some ways, the entire scope of man's present experience is a matter of the struggle for supremacy in the execution of "power" that goes on all day every day in an innumerable number of ways.
c. Nor is it an accident that the True Executor of Power will, in the last days, permit both the exercise of significant power by the false prophet and the delusion that such an exercise will create [Note 2 Thessalonians 2:11]. The reason for this seems to be that God is getting fed up with man's fixation on "power" as the way to force his own agenda on his world. In a sense, it is the final development of the Law of the Harvest: man "sows" the seeds of the lust for power to force his agenda and then he "reaps" the harvest of the use of power to force a godless agenda in the form of the final strong delusion that he who can call fire down from heaven is God's representative.
3. Thus we can more easily see why Paul's focus upon the "glory of the Father" was a focus upon the "power" of a "Father".
a. In this "power-focused" creation, there is little that is more important than the true character of the One Who will wield the final "power". All of that which is called "life" by those who "hope" for something better depends entirely upon the answer to the question: What is He like Who wields the power? Is He a "father", or is He a devil?
b. This seems to be the reason why Paul deliberately selected a focus upon the "glory of the Father" when, in fact, it is also the "glory of the Spirit" and the "glory of the Son".
4. So, if "power" is the issue, why didn't Paul just say "raised up by the power of God"?
a. Though "power" is a focal issue in resurrection, "motive" is a focal issue in the real issues of life: Why did God use "power" to raise Christ from the dead?
b. The phrase "glory of the Father" expands the issue from simple "power" to the greater issue of overall "character" because there is a "motive" issue involved. The "glory" of the Father brings in multiple other characteristics that make it imperative that we understand that God, as "Father", was moved to exercise His power for reasons that have their roots in Him...in His "glory"...in what He is like. "Power" issues feed into the entire "problem" of conflicting values and methods and the consequent and inescapable "Death" that such conflict brings with it everywhere it shows up. One of Satan's most effective tools is the accusation that God is simply a powerful brute who cannot be trusted to have any good motives for His actions. He simply wants His way as opposed to allowing anyone else to have theirs. But "glory" issues address this greater problem by compelling men to consider just whether it is even possible for God to be a powerful brute (why would such a person even allow a "satan" to exist?). Satan's very existence absolutely destroys his argument regarding the despicable character of God for if God were as he accuses Him of being, Satan would be the first person God would eliminate.
B. The quality of life that creatures experience is decidedly tied to this issue of the glory of the Father.
1. On one side of the coin there is the fact that the quality of life is a "head" issue: all issues of "quality" are determined by what is "loved" and "believed" -- both of which are issues of "understanding" that comes through the mind.
2. On the other side of the coin is the fact that the quality of life is a "power" issue: what one "loves" and "believes" is tied to whether there is "power" sufficient to possess the beloved by the means identified in the faith.
3. The result is that "quality of life" is determined not by what happens but why it happens: "Life" disintegrates under the weight of evil intentions, not undesireable events.
C. This question, then, arises: what is the connection between the resurrection of Christ and my "love/faith" issues?
1. Is the resurrection a declaration that the "Father" will use such power to grant me what I want when I want it?
2. If such a declaration is not on the table, what is?
a. The resurrection does argue that the "glory of the Father" is, to some degree, at our disposal with certain immovable boundaries.
b. But the "boundaries" issue is critical. The "Father" will always exercise His power to do what needs to be done for those who depend upon Him. But, "dependence" begins with the most fundamental root: the humility of the dependent (specifically in the twin areas of love and faith). It is not humility that exalts one's "love" above God's, nor is it humility that exalts one's "methods" over God's.
3. A great deal of "quality of life" is available -- just as soon as the Father's "values" are embraced and the Father's "methods" are applied.