To Live is Christ
In our age of social media, it is easy to see what people do with their time, and we are privy with glimpses into their souls. For instance, a visit to a Facebook Facepage allows one to see a general review of one’s interests and heart.
Some people are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while others clearly do not know Him. Generally, we call our existence in this world, in these fleshly bodies — “life.” Therefore, it should capture our attention when Jesus claims, “I am…the life (Jn 14:6).” Could He mean “your life”?
Shortly after my conversion to Christianity, a hostile relative said to me, with disdain, “Get a life!” The irony was that Christ had given me His life (Jn 6:63). Little did I know, His life would overtake everything, so that now I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal 2:20).
Christ’s life is not a list of seven things to do and seven things not to do. It is a holistic experience. The heart, the mind, and the will are becoming subject to Him (2 Cor 10:5), who bought us for a price (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). Christians are slaves of Christ, and He loves us (Eph 6:6). This is difficult to grasp because we have distorted views of slavery and distorted views of love.
Sin no longer reigns over our lives; but grace reigns (Rom 5:21), with the wisdom of God and power of God (1 Cor 1:24). A while back, I was house sitting for a friend. Unfortunately, a couple of rats wanted to share the house, but they were not welcome. The rat catcher was called. He arrived, and as soon as I opened the door I knew he was a Christian. Never had I seen the joy of the Lord emanate from someone like I did from Shaun. After he checked the traps (Hurray! No rats!), I confirmed my assessment of his spiritual status with him. He was not just having a good day, as a rat catcher, but He was filled with Christ, who was radiating Himself through my joy-filled brother in the Lord.
To live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil 1:21). Obviously, if one is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, then He has dominion over His people (2 Cor 3:17). We walk through life, by His Spirit (Gal 5:16, 25). He lives. He reigns.
Christ’s possession of a soul by His Spirit, is why Christians walk by faith. We trust His plan, already enacted by regeneration unto justification and adoption. Now the course of our lives is sanctification (Rom 15:16; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2). This is His will (1 Thess 4:3), and it is the Holy Spirit, willing and doing His good pleasure in us (Phil 2:13).
Too many Christians have been taught that the Christian life is a set of rules and restrictions. They suffer, as did the foolish Galatians. They do not understand the reign of grace, nor the Christ-life prevailing upon them from within. The flesh is allured by the Law, and some imagine their obedience is what pleases God (2 Cor 5:9; Heb 11:6). In truth, none of us is obedient to the extent of holiness (1 Pet 1:15–16).
Holiness is manifested in the believer, by Christ Himself, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. The instrument producing godly living is the Bible, the Word of God. We are sanctified by the Word of truth (Jn 17:17). We eat the bread of life, and it feeds and strengthens our spiritual lives (Ps 34:8). We read our Bibles, and it washes over us, as the water of God to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (Eph 5:26).
The Word of God is everything the Christian needs for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). As conformity to Jesus Christ becomes more and more a reality in one’s Christian life (Rom 8:29), the attributes of God exude from us like joy did from Shaun, the rat catcher (2 Pet 1:4).
My oldest daughter and I were shopping at Costco, a number of years ago. A 90-year-old mom rolled up on us in her scooter. Her 69-year-old daughter then said to us, “Excuse us, would you take and read this Bible tract, and here is a little coin with our favorite Bible verse on it.” These lovely saints were living Christs, making sure the people at Costco knew about eternity with or without Christ, the Lord of all (Acts 10:36). They were being faithful. It was literally the first time I have been evangelized, personally, by true believers (vs. heretics) in my Christian life. I was delighted. I prayed for them before we ended our encouraging conversation.
In these two instances, both in Southern California, I was impacted by Christians, living their lives in the natural flow of what goes on in the world (rat problems and shopping). They were living by faith, but also in love for the One who loved them. The 69-year-old woman told me that some people had thrown the Bible tract back at her, but she told me she knew that those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (Mt 5:10–11; 2 Tim 3:12). She was undaunted because Christ is her life (Gal 2:20), and she was doing her share on behalf of His body (Col 1:24).
Christian, find your sufficiency in your daily visits to God’s Word. He will fill you and continually remake your life into something beyond what you could ever think or imagine. This is Christ in you, the hope of glory and the very life you now live.
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 22, 2022