Christ is Our Life
When God chooses to save someone (Jn 5:21; 2 Thess 2:13), He wills for them to have a new life (2 Cor 5:17), and He gives them this new life as a gift of His grace (Jn 6:63; Eph 2:8). The old self, living the old sinful life, is a dying body and dead soul. The uninterrupted course of an unregenerate human being leads to death, judgment, hell, and the lake of fire, in eternal death, as his or her eternal home.
Salvation is an interruption to this broad way of destruction (Mt 7:13). Salvation is a new creation (Gal 6:15). God does not just fix a few things in a redeemed person’s life; He makes all things new (Rev 21:5). This new life features Jesus Christ, who is our life (Col 3:4), and the Christ life has some important elements to it. Let us consider a few of them.
First, Jesus Christ is everything to us (Col 3:11). A person who has been born again to this new spiritual life (1 Cor 2:15; 1 Pet 1:3), is called, “Christian.” As little Christs, we carry His name, and we follow in His exemplary steps (1 Pet 2:21). Christ becomes the predominant identification for the new believer, and we are not ashamed of the Gospel because of what it has made of us (Rom 1:16–17).
Some things begin to change. For instance, a Christian has a new mind, the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). She has new affections, set on the things above, where Christ is seated as King of glory and Lord of all (Acts 10:36; Col 3:2). Christians have a new course of transformation into conformity with the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 12:2). Those in Christ, the last Adam (Rom 5:12–21), are all made alive (1 Cor 15:22), having been given the life-giving Spirit (Jn 6:63; 1 Cor 15:45).
In this new course, Christ is progressively manifesting Himself, as the new resurrection life in the soul (Jn 11:25). Paul wrote, “Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20).” The new man is displaying evidence of His divine presence (Mt 5:16). New life, for the body, will come at the general resurrection of the dead (Jn 5:28–29), when all people will be raised with an imperishable body, some unto immortal life and others with an imperishable body for eternal death (1 Cor 15:42).
Second, Jesus Christ is the new life in us (Rom 6:4), by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11). In general, God gives life to all things (Acts 17:25; 1 Tim 6:13); but there is a more specific giving of spiritual life, that is, the life of God in the soul of man (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). As soon as the Spirit of Christ regenerates, or gives life to the soul of His elect one (Jn 3:1–8; Eph 1:4–5; 1 Pet 1:3), there is a war with one’s sinful flesh (Rom 7; 8:5–7).
Two lords are now making the claim on one body and soul. The new believer in Jesus must put off the old self and its ways (Col 3:5–9). Sin must no longer reign in her mortal body (Rom 6:12). She must mortify sin in her flesh (Rom 8:13; Col 3:5). The believer is strengthened in the inner man, by the power of the Holy Spirit for this purpose (Eph 3:16). This battle rages until the death of the Christian’s body (2 Cor 5:1; Phil 1:23).
The will of God for the Christian’s life is sanctification (1 Thess 4:3), for without sanctification no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14). Along with a new mind and a new heart comes new power and new wisdom, the Christian walks through life in this world with a decaying body but an ever-renewing Spirit (2 Cor 5:1–5).
The Spirit of life, who gives us life, is a pledge (2 Cor 5:5), a token of things to come at the resurrection (Rom 8:11). God’s Spirit has begun a good work in us, and it will be a completed work on the day of the Lord (Phil 1:6). For now, Christ’s internal work in progress is accomplishing God’s will and good pleasure for each Christian (Phil 2:13).
Third, the life of Christ in us is an indestructible life (Heb 7:16). The psalmist says, “You are a priest forever (Ps 110:4);” indeed, our great High Priest (Heb 4:14; 9:11). He always lives to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25). Christ in us, by His indwelling Spirit, is the hope of glory (Col 1:27), a blessed hope, realized at the second coming of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).
Our God and King is immortal (1 Tim 1:17), and Jesus Christ, our Savior, has brought life and immortality (2 Tim 1:10), which Christians seek after (Rom 2:7), and which we will put on at the resurrection (1 Cor 15:54). We are not those who shrink back to destruction (Heb 10:39) because we were appointed to life (Acts 13:48), and this life is in God’s Son (1 Jn 5:11).
Fourth, the life of Christ in us is an eternal life, for this is the true God and eternal life (1 Jn 5:20). Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life (Jn 3:15, 16, 36) because Jesus is the One who gives eternal life (Jn 17:2), as a gift of God (Rom 6:23). Her faith has come by hearing (Rom 10:17), and hearing comes by the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17), which are spirit and life (Jn 6:63).
Eternal life is already in the believer because she knows God who lives in her (Jn 17:3), and he who has the Son has life (Jn 3:36), but he who does not have the Son does not have life (1 Jn 5:12). The one with the Son in her does not come into God’s judgment (Jn 5:24), but the believer in Jesus knows she has eternal life (1 Jn 5:13), and she waits anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life (Jude 1:21). In other words, Christians have eternal life, now, in the Spirit, and in fullness, at the resurrection of the dead.
Christ, who is our life, supersedes our old life in Adam (Rom 5:12–21). Everything about this new life is Christ. It is an abundant and a spiritual life manifesting on the inside of Christians (Jn 10:10). It is a new life of faith lived out by the Spirit of Christ, who is producing spiritual fruit (Gal 5:22–23), the greatest of which is love (1 Cor 13:13).
As the Christian yields to the indwelling Christ, he walks in a manner worthy of God, with an ambition to please Him (2 Cor 5:9). He puts on Christ and lays aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us (Rom 13:14; Heb 12:1). The saint labors in love and as unto the Lord, serving God with her whole heart, which is filled with Christ, who is her life.
Always and forever, it is Christ at work accomplishing God’s will. For this reason, Christians do not lose heart in our weakness, in trials, in temptations, in loss of people and things, in persecutions, and even in the face of death. Christ has given us hope, and this hope is found in the fact that He lives…forevermore. Praying at all times, let us give thanks in all things, including the life of Christ given to us, to live for God.
Spokane Valley, Washington
March 2, 2021