Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Walking out of the Grave

I have been reading parts of The Power of the Lord is Over All, edited by T. Canby Jones. It is a collection of the pastoral letters of George Fox. As the Friends movement spread across England and around the world in the 17th century, George Fox wrote many letters of advice and encouragement.

In a letter from 1675, George Fox writes about the reality of the resurrection of Jesus and how our sharing in that resurrection changes everything. I want to share these thoughts with you as we observe the Easter season and celebrate Resurrection Sunday.

For Fox and other Friends, resurrection wasn't a future hope in the "sweet by and by." We are risen with Christ in the present. Life in Christ is a present reality, unfolding into the future. For Friends, the Good News is that we are already dead! We died when we entered into this new life in Jesus and are now living in the power demonstrated by the Resurrection of Christ.

George Fox writes:

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"They that are risen with Christ...let such put on the new Man, which .. is created in Righteousness and Holiness, and live. [They] have their part or lot in the first Resurrection ... and the second death has no power over them; but they live in him, that has Power over death, hell and the grave ....

Therefore, all you who are the first fruits to God, in the Resurrection by Jesus Christ, who know him, the Resurrection and the Life ... are translated from darkness to Light and into the Kingdom of his dear Son .. that you may show forth righteous and holy fruits, so that you may glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may be as lights to the dark world and salt to season the unsavory .... You cannot bring forth this holy, righteous and pure fruit unto God, but as you abide in Christ Jesus, the Truth, 'who did descend and ascend far above all principalities, thrones and dominions, that he might have the preeminence above all' (Col 1:16-18), and that you in him might live above all unto God....

So in him, who is your Lord, walk, who is the Amen and there the living can praise God together. The living gather in the Name of Jesus, the Name of him 'who was dead, is alive again and lives forevermore .. the First and the Last'(Rev 1:11 & 18)."

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George Fox personally experienced the transformation that comes when we put on "the new Man," the living presence of Jesus, and live in the power of his resurrection. And he encourages us to be lights to a dark world, salt to season the unsavory, and people who bring forth holy, righteous and pure fruit.

How do we do that? George Fox describes it very simply: "So in him, who is your Lord, walk . . . ."

We walk with Jesus out of the grave and into a new life, "translated from darkness to Light into the Kingdom of His dear Son."

Walking with Jesus,