In the Bible we see a contrast between what it means to be physically dead or alive, and spiritually dead or alive. Remember God’s word to Adam in the beginning. He could eat the fruit of all the trees in the garden, including the Tree of Life, but if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would die that very day. Even though he lived to be 930 years old, he did surely die that very day. He lost something. He lost the dimension of life that can only come from an intimate relationship with God. There was a thief at work. This has been the story of humanity ever since.
The Bible describes those who are dead while still living (1 Tim 5:6). Many unconsciously realize this. From the beginning of motion pictures there have been stories of zombies and creatures like those in the popular TV series “The Walking Dead.” What a dramatic picture of mere existence, when we were actually destined to an abundant life in Christ!
Jesus said in John 10:10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (NASU)
Life is a recurring theme in the Gospel of John. We need to understand, however, that he is referring to a quality of life that in uncommon. If everyone was already living life in the full sense that God had intended, it would not have been necessary for Jesus to come!
Listen to what John writes in His gospel:
“Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31)
is fascinating to me to learn of the confidence he had in both the story of Christ and how the Holy Spirit would use it to generate faith in our hearts. It is a faith in Jesus that has immediate results!
“On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
In the early chapters of Acts we see how the time had come for the Holy Spirit to be given, and the powerful affect it had upon all the believers there in the Upper Room. They were indeed filled with Abundant Life, depicted as Rivers of Living Water that flowed out into the community, resulting in thousands coming to know Jesus and His Salvation!
Probably the most well-known verses in the Bible are John 3:16-17:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “
Also in John’s Gospel we see Jesus praying these words:
John 17:3: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Those who know and believe in God and Jesus Christ have a dimension of life that is eternal. Yes, they do have a life that extends beyond the grave, but also a quality of life that is eternal now. It does not diminish in any way. It is real and perpetual.
In the Bible we also learn of an aspect of life known as “Resurrection Life.” Paul writes in Philippians 3:7-15:
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
What a mouthful! But what is he saying? First he refers to his salvation, being made righteous not by works, but by faith. Then he speaks attaining something. That something is resurrection life!
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.“
The Christian Life, the abundant, eternal Life that God has provided through Jesus Christ begins when we receive Him. But at the same time He continues to call us upward into a greater depth of knowing Him. There was a holy dissatisfaction in Paul, and it should be in us as well. God does not want us to be insecure in our salvation, which He has secured for us by His own power. But neither does He want us to be unfruitful in this life. He wants all of us to live and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, becoming more like Him every day.
Instead of missing the mark, we are pressing towards the mark, that is, we are pursuing Christ Himself!
We thank you for stirring our hearts to desire a greater knowledge of You, and for providing everything we need to grow in our relationship with You. Continue to challenge us, like you did our brother Paul, to never become self-satisfied, but always desiring and delighting ourselves in You and You alone. Help us to know you more by following You, loving as You love, serving as You serve, and living by the Faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us.
In His Name, the precious Name of Jesus we ask,