I am an optimist. I always expect the best from both people and in everyday life situations. It’s the pre-supposition I have as I walk through my daily tasks and interact with everyone around me. Do I sometimes appear foolish? Maybe so. Do I sometimes get blindsided in public, sure. But I much prefer to see the glass half-full and ever increasing that the opposite.
I am also an eternal optimist…and I am intentionally making a spiritual play-on-words. Optimism is also how I perceive the spiritual world around me. Yes, I understand the deep and abiding affects of the Fall of mankind and I have seen human depravity at its worst. In my pre-Christian days, I even participated in it. But I know first-hand the prevenient grace of God; a gracious movement of God that goes before us and which can enlighten the heart of even the darkest soul.
· By being an eternal optimist, I actually believe that when the Apostle Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
· Being an eternal optimist, I take Jesus at His word when he says, “I have overcome the World.”
· Being an eternal optimist, I trust that Jesus’ act on the Cross and in the event of the Resurrection has actually reversed the curse of the Adam and Eve in the garden, and the fullness of this reversal can be experienced in the Here and Now not just the sweet bye and bye.
· Being an eternal optimist, I will not settle for the fact that the atonement only affects the penalty of sin but actually is a complete answer to the problem of sin in the life of the believer; and we can actually can live above a life of mere sin-maintenance.
Is this just too good to be true? Well, that is what this week in chapel at Indiana Wesleyan University will focus on. Each day we will hear speakers who are optimists, just like me. They believe it is possible for the power of the Spirit of Christ to defeat the power of sin in each of you. Temptations can be resisted and the Glory of God can reign in you; yes even you.
All this week our chapels are called the Cox Deeper Life Series. They are presented through the generosity of Dr. Leo Cox, a former professor of Bible and Theology at Indiana Wesleyan University. His enduring passion was the message and experience of holiness. Dr. Cox believed that God, through Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, could break the power of sin in believers, enabling them to walk in whole hearted obedience to Christ, setting them free to love God with all their lives and to love their neighbor as themselves. He believed this work to be the privilege of every believer and not just the spiritually elite or those training for ministry. To this end, after his retirement, he established a lecture series at all four Wesleyan schools of higher education, in order that students would be able to hear the good news of holiness and have opportunities to experience this work of grace in their own lives.
Dr. Leo Cox was a former professor of Bible and Theology at Indiana Wesleyan University, were he served for many years as chair of the Religion and Philosophy Division. While at Indiana Wesleyan, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Wesleyan Theological Society and became a charter member of the Evangelical Theological Society. Through his teaching, scholarship and leadership he became a well respected leader in Evangelical circles in the United States and across the world. As an ordained Wesleyan minister, he was committed to the Church of Jesus Christ and training people for leadership ministries in local churches.