We all know we are alive. We don’t just exist because we are aware of a power within animating our bodies. Being alive, we are aware of ourselves, and aware of each other. And because we are aware of others, we can have relationship.
Relationship gives our life meaning: relations; friends; companions.
That is what LIFE is ultimately about. Living in relationship.
Without life, we are dead. Totally unaware of ourselves, of others; incapable of communicating; incapable of relationship.
Relationship and Life exist together. Relationship gives life meaning. But life makes relationship possible. They are inextricably combined.
And that is why people don’t know God: they have no awareness of God. They have no relationship with God. They are alive in this physical world, but they are dead in the spiritual realm. They lack the life which Jesus Christ speaks about – spiritual life.
They are dead in trespasses and sin, the apostle Paul told the Ephesians [2.1]. They are separated from God by the taint and stain of sin with which we are all born. Human beings are therefore dead to God; they may be aware of the evidence in creation about God, but they are not directly aware of God himself; they have no relationship with him.
This breakdown of relationship comes from our forefather, Adam. Originally, he had relationship with God; he had a life in God. But he disobeyed God. God therefore punished him, took away the source of eternal life, and condemned the father of all human beings to spiritual death – Life without God. Life without God’s life; therefore life without relationship with God.
But Jesus Christ described himself as “the Life” [John 14.6].
As we saw in the first of this series on the Names of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John, Jesus is the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God……. in him was life and the life was the light of men. [John 1.1 and John 1.4].
Jesus Christ came to share with us the life of God – to give us life in God, that we might have relationship with God.
And John records that Jesus called that “eternal life” [John 17.3].
That life is available today. But it is available to those who recognise the sin of their first father, Adam; who recognise that to obtain such life, and that to maintain that life, they must reject what Adam did when he disobeyed God. They must obey God.
To partake of God’s life – Jesus life – we must again obey God. We must accept the Word of God, the teaching of God in Christ and therefore the very life of God in Christ; we must receive that teaching and consciously act on it.
And that teaching is clear.
- Accept God’s verdict on Adam and his progeny that we are disobedient and rebellious
- Believe that Jesus Christ is the only way back to relationship with God because he was sacrificed on the Cross for us, and because his teaching is the teaching from God we must obey
- Confess Christ as Saviour and Lord by
- being baptised by full immersion in water to identify with Christ’s death to sin and his resurrection to life, and thenceforward
- living out the resurrection life of Christ we gain
How shall we who are dead to sin live any longer therein ? Know ye not that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into his death ? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord
[The words of the apostle Paul to the Roman believers recorded in chapter 6 of his letter].
this is the third in a series on the Names of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John