Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory |
of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13)
THE PROSPERITY FORMULA
The Money Formula
Want to make a lot of money in the Stock Market? It takes money to make money, right? Well, not exactly. Financial experts tell us that the secret of building wealth isn't to start with a lot of money or to take big financial risks in order to get large returns. The secret is to use the power of time to multiply your money. Markets come and go and returns rise and fall, but time is on the side of the investor, since it inevitably marches on.
The other secret to building wealth is to not only rely on the passage of time, but to use the magic of compounded growth. In simple terms, compounding is growth on both your original principal and the interest you have previously earned on that principal. This creates an even larger sum to invest, which produces an even greater profit. Albert Einstein once described compounded growth as "the greatest mathematical discovery of all time." It has in fact been used by the world's most successful wealth builders. So time, plus compounding, can turn any amount of money into a fortune. For example, a single $25,000 investment, compounded at 17%, becomes $1 million in 25 years. The prosperity formula then is Money, plus Time, plus Compounding, equals Wealth.
The Spiritual Formula
Financial prosperity is all well and good, and if handled wisely, it can help make some aspects of life easier for Believers as we wait for the Lord's return or for the time when we will leave this world to go home to be with Him. The formula for spiritual prosperity works in a similar way as the formula for financial prosperity! But rather than lasting for only a season, as financial prosperity does, spiritual prosperity, however, produces results that are far reaching, beginning in this life and lasting for all eternity.
Somebody has said, "progress is only advancing in the knowledge, the spiritual knowledge, of what we really possess at the outset, it is like ascending a ladder, the ladder is Grace..." In other words you can make no progress in your faith except through ascending the ladder of grace. So what exactly is God's work of grace for the Believer? There are actually two parts to His work, Substitution and Identification, which, coupled with the element of time, produces maturity in the Believer!
The spiritual prosperity formula begins with God's work done on our behalf, that is, Christ dying for our sins, or His work of Salvation. We call this "Substitution," since Christ died in our place for our sins (Romans 3:21 - 5:21). We understand that we are now justified before God because He died in our place. Our sins, the guilt, penalty and offense to God were dealt with at the cross, on behalf of every believer.
The second part of the spiritual formula is the unique truth that we died with Christ. This teaching is know as "Identification," since we identify with His death. He has put our old self where He put our sins, on the cross with Christ. "Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin" (Romans 6:6); "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). So we see that not only did Christ die for our sins - Substitution - but that we as believers also died with Christ - Identification.
Because of our Identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, we see the only possibility for the believer to live a truly holy life. "For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (Romans 6:5). The sixth chapter of Romans is the foundational truth that every believer must understand if he is to have victory over sin. God consigns the old fallen Adam-life to the cross and has nothing to say to it. The old self in Adam is fallen and beyond repair. He deals with the believer on the ground that "In Christ you died." Because of our union with Christ sin does not have to have dominion over our lives, even though it is present in us. And as Christ died "to sin," the Apostle Paul writes, "Even so consider (reckon) yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts" (Romans 6:11 -12). Our reckoning this to be true only makes us begin to realize the fact in experience - it is already a fact through our union with Him.
As we learn of our Identification with Christ we begin to focus in on our position in Him, the source of our spiritual life. "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our condition is what we are in our spiritual walk as Believers. Our position in Christ never changes, but our condition does. As we exercise faith in our walk with the Lord, our condition, in time, begins to reflect more and more our eternal position, in other words there will be true spiritual growth in our lives. In most cases believers are very aware of their condition and know little of their position. This is the reason there is so much struggle with failure in our lives. If we are to grow spiritually and be effective for Christ our faith must be secure in our position in Him. "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise" (Ephesians 1:13).
The Time Element
We know that there is a financial formula for prosperity, and more important, for a Christian, there is also a formula for spiritual prosperity, or growth, in a Believer's life. We see that not only did Christ die for us, but we also died and were resurrected with Him. Then we add "Time" to the formula, for it takes time for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, time for His truths to be made meaningful, through the hardships and sufferings we experience in life and through the personal failures we experience in our day to day living. And the final result is victory and growth in our lives. We can say as Paul did, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20).
Written by Alan Torres