Posts Tagged Alive in Christ

The Seed of Life

John 12: 24

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

No one wants to die but if we die to Jesus, giving him our lives, then we are born anew of incorruptible seed which bears much fruit.

Jesus was talking about giving up his life, dying, so that he might bear much fruit. Only through death does the wheat generate new life. So it is with us. When we lay down our lives God creates a new life with that seed. We are reborn in the image of Christ. This is not, however, primarily a salvation message unless you embrace the full definition of salvation. When Jesus speaks of salvation he means saving grace in absolutely every area of our lives, in every aspect of human experience. 

Paul wrote about this need to lay down our lives and live to Christ. He said “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4: 22, 24). You see, there must be a continual surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. We must continually bury our self-induced desires and put on the mantle of Christ. In other words, this dying to self is, at least for most of us, a continuing process. Few people have the ability to once and for all give everything to Christ. Typically we grow in our spiritual life and as we do we find things which we are ready to release to him. The central theme is that we must crucify this flesh which seeks only to indulge self. It seeks to satisfy and promote the ego. When, however, we take on the crucifixion of our Lord, we bury the selfish desires and live unto him. We seek to honor and promote him. The only way to do this, though, is to die. And when we do, he raises us anew. Each time we bury a self-oriented aspect of our personalities he raises up a glorified version. Then there is no more striving for then we can truly walk in his grace. Our eyes become fixed on him and we live in him. 

This may sound mystical and other worldly but it really is as simple as taking our eyes off of ourselves. We may notice how often we use the pronoun “I” and surrender those areas to our Christ. We may notice when our vision is full of ourselves instead of on the kingdom and pray for help in crucifying the carnal person. The key is that when we die, we live. Everything that we bury, Jesus resurrects in new and glorious life. We never lose anything. We gain everything.

Please search your heart today. Is your energy spent satisfying your needs and desires or are you truly devoted to Christ today? Is he your focus and desire? Is your work dedicated to him, your leisure, your home life, your thought life? Are your songs a testimony to him? How about the words you speak? I am not saying that you cannot have anything for yourself. I am only saying for you to let him give them to you instead of you seeking them.

Reborn, Renewed, Alive in Christ

John 20: 30 -31

Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

John and the other writers of the gospels related some of the miracles of Jesus but John makes a point here to tell us that the miracles we read about in the gospels are by no means an exhaustive list of the many miracles Jesus performed. So, this question presents itself, “How many miracles does it take for one to believe?” We, who receive this daily devotional, are all believers in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God so somewhere along the line we must have seen enough evidence. Then John says that in our believing we should have life in the name of Jesus. What did he mean by that? He wasn’t talking to a bunch of physically dead people so he wasn’t talking about physical life. He was, however, speaking to spiritually dead people, people like us before we were saved. So this evidence of Jesus as the Messiah was supposed to infuse life into those who would believe, spiritual life.

When is salvation then? Will we be saved in the great by and by? We all talk about when we were saved (past tense) i.e. “I was saved in 1974,” “I was saved out at sea when a shipmate prayed for me,” etc. We have already been saved and given access to this life about which John writes. Salvation is not for tomorrow. We didn’t buy a ticket to salvation. We already have it today. You are living your eternal life in Christ right now. Your eternal life began the moment you received Jesus as Lord. So what is John really trying to get at in this passage? Do you think this is a simple message of salvation to the uninitiated or is there more here?  

One of the things that I think John is trying to get us to accept is that Jesus is a miracle worker. The believers of John’s time came to Jesus through his miracles. In other words, they saw and heard about the miracles that Jesus performed and through them they accepted that He is the King, Messiah and Lord. They first believed the miracles then they equated that miracle working power with his divine lordship. An interesting dynamic exists in our times. We believe that Jesus is Lord and through that confession of faith we try to believe that He is also a miracle worker. Many, however, are unconvinced of his power. They believe that He is the Christ but they do not believe in his ability to exercise miracle producing power today. Some do not even believe that the chronicles of Jesus’ miracles is a true account. They think the gospels are a fairy tale.

The third problem in our thought process is that some of us do not fully understand or appreciate that Jesus is alive. We have left him on the cross or in the grave but He is a resurrected Lord. He is alive and well. Without this revelation, by which I mean a clear and certain knowing in one’s heart as well as one’s mind, we cannot receive this life in Christ to which John is attempting to lead us. 

Jesus told us that he came in order to give us life, abundant life in fact (John 10: 10). This is what John is speaking about, the abundant life that is available in Christ Jesus to those who believe. But believe what? First that He is who He says He is, the resurrected Son of God, the promised Messiah, and second that He can do now what he did in the days before his crucifixion.

Miracles are still happening all over the world for those who believe. People are receiving sight from blind eyes just as they did when Jesus walked the earth. There are healings of every sort. Financial miracles abound, relationships are restored. All sorts of miracles are occurring, more than you can name. So I return to my first question, “How many miracles does it take for us to believe?” What is this life in Christ that John speaks of and how can we each live it. What did Jesus mean when he said, “abundant life?”

The life we live in the flesh is the low level of life but there is an abundant life overflowing with all of the blessings of God which is the free gift to whomever shall believe. This is the spiritual life, the renewed life. And with this new life in Christ Jesus every need is met, dreams and goals fulfilled, and a life of peace and joy. There is victory in Jesus, hence victorious living. All things become possible, life becomes easier and we can live a life where we feel fulfilled. Our lives are given purpose and we are satisfied even in the deep longing of our hearts. It is all available to he who believes. This life, this gift of a life in Christ, a life of abundance was the purpose of Jesus’ coming. If we are not living this life then why not? What does the body of Christ need in order to come into the life Jesus meant for us, died to give us?

The apostle John says that the secret is in our believing. We need to have our believers tweaked. Surely, the only way to do that is to renew ourselves in Jesus. We are going to have to seek him again as we did in the beginning. We need a renewal in our prayer life and in the Word. These are the two areas that we often let slide but which I am convinced are necessary for a life in Christ. It is only through communion with the Godhead that we are transformed in our hearts and in our thinking and can receive the revelations necessary for a rich, full existence in the person of Jesus. The hungry will seek and they will be fed. Jesus always fed the hungry. Do not settle for anything less than God’s best for you and He will fill you to overflowing as He has so often promised.