The word power occurs fifty-seven times in the New Testament. It is used to describe the most powerful event that ever happened, an event that separated AD from BC — the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And that resurrection power is available to change your life!
The most important thing in life is knowing Christ and experiencing the power of His resurrection.
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. – Philippians 3:10
In another letter he tells his readers,
I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in heaven. – Ephesians 1:19-20
Paul uses the Greek word for power, dunamis, which is the root of our word dynamite. So Paul is saying, “God wants to give you dynamite power that can change your life.” Yes, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead two thousand years ago is available to us right now to transform the weaknesses in our lives into strengths.
God’s Power Will Cancel Our Past
First, resurrection power is the power to cancel our past — our failures, mistakes, sins, and regrets. When I say “cancel,” I’m not talking about denying the past as if it never happened. Cancel means to eliminate, to neutralize, to offset something.
Have you ever gotten halfway through a project and wished you could start over? Suppose you are painting the living room, and you step back and look at the color that seemed perfect on the sample chart. On the wall, however, it doesn’t look so perfect. You wish you could start over.
A lot of people feel that way about life: “I’ve made so many mistakes. I wish I could just wipe them out and start over.” Failures, problems, bad decisions — we have all suffered from them. But some people just can’t seem to let go of the past, and as a result, they let their past limit their present opportunities. They live in a constant state of regret, continually lamenting, “If only I hadn’t done that” or “If only I had made these changes.”
They repeatedly second-guess themselves. And they are tormented by painful memories. “I blew it, and I’m going to be paying for it the rest of my life.”
God says that it is unnecessary for us to go around with a heavy load of guilt, old hurts, and memories of mistakes. In Colossians 2:13-14 He says He has forgiven all our sins and canceled every record of the debt we had to pay. He did it by allowing Christ to be nailed to the cross.
Jesus Christ knows the things we have done wrong, but He did not come to rub them in. He came to rub them out.
He did not come to condemn us; He came to change us.
A clean slate is possible! Think in terms of my son’s Etch A Sketch. If he makes a mess of a design or picture, all he has to do is flip it over to wipe the slate clean; then he can start all over again. The Bible says this is what God does with the mistakes we have made. When we come to Him, He wipes the slate clean.
In Jeremiah 31:34 God says to the Israelites that He “will remember their sins no more.” This has to be one of the most amazing statements in the Bible — that the God who made the world “forgets.” When we come to Him, admit our sins, and ask Him to forgive us, He cancels our past. God chooses to forget our wrongs, our mistakes, our failures. That’s good news! Even if we were to die tonight and stand before God in heaven, we could ask Him about some sin we committed yesterday, and He would say, “What sin?” He has canceled our past and set us free to get on with the present.
Why God Can Cancel Your Past
What is the basis of this forgiveness? When Jesus died, one of His last statements from the cross was,
It is finished. – John 19:30
That phrase consists of just one word in Greek, tetelestai, literally meaning “paid in full, canceled.” It was the word merchants wrote on bills when they were “paid in full,” and it was the word stamped on a document declaring that a prison sentence had been commuted. Jesus says this is what He did on the cross.
He paid the price in full for every sin we have ever committed.
Romans 8:1 tells us,
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Jesus was crucified on the cross so that we could stop crucifying ourselves. He was hung up for our hangups. That’s good news! The question is, if God forgets a sin the moment we confess it, don’t you think we ought to forget it too? How long do you remember a bill you have paid? I forget my bills as soon as I have paid them. I don’t worry about last month’s electric bill. Likewise, since Christ has paid our bill in full, we don’t need to think about it anymore.
Someone has said that when we give God all our mistakes and failures, He throws them into the deepest part of the sea. Then He puts up a sign that says No Fishing. He doesn’t want us to keep dredging up our sins.
Forgetting what is behind… I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14
However, we can short-circuit God’s power in our lives by not believing that God has truly forgiven us or by choosing not to forgive ourselves.
God’s power is the power to cancel our past.
Excerpted with permission from God’s Power to Change Your Life by Rick Warren, copyright Zondervan 2014.
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Regardless of what you have done in your past, your future has been redeemed because of Christ’s sacrifice. Join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily