Raised to Life
Raised to Life
I’ve recently become aware that some people may not fully understand why Christians believe what we do, and indeed think the hope we have is only for the treasure at the end of the road, for eternal life. While on the outside, I can understand this may be a valid idea, however it is wrong and every devoted Christian will tell you why. So, do we believe only for the sake of eternal life?
Eternal life is a part. However, truly living for Christ is living in the here and now, in this life. How we act and speak around and with others is all derived from our relationship with him. There’s a beautiful assurance we feel and know to be true when we accept him into our lives. Day by day we grow in relationship with him and further live closer to the standard Jesus set for us.
This hope and assurance we have about the present and the future is not fantastical delusions. Although, I can certainly see why some may see it that way, as I did too for a long time. Indeed, as John Lennox said so eloquently, ‘faith is a response to evidence, not a rejoicing in the absence of evidence.’ The hope I have for the future is made firm in the evidence for God, my experience of living for Christ in the present, knowing his love, and sharing it with others.
When I came to faith, I was born again. This term is used in the Bible to describe being renewed and made into a new creation, changing the way we live, the way we see others, and being in relationship with God. My own experience has told me just how accurate this is. Where there was death, there is now life. Where there was pain, there is now joy. Where there was despair, there is now hope. Everything in my life revolves around Christ now, and his unconditional love is made complete when we accept him. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
In my daily life, I’ve found this change to be true. I was blind, and now I see. For I was in the darkness before I knew Jesus. I was only concerned about myself and my own selfish ambition. I only thought about this world, which seemed so full of pain, sadness, and misery. When I discovered Jesus I realized that the pain and suffering we experience, he has also experienced, and conquered it through the resurrection. He came to pay for our brokenness, and in doing so, displayed the greatest act of truth and love the world will ever know.
I now see the relevance Christ has in my life, day by day I see it more clearly. Just as Paul says, though now I know in part, then I shall know fully, when Christ returns. Truly, his love is the only thing that can change the hearts of man. We are raised to life in Jesus, washed clean of our sin and suffering, set free from the burdens of the world, and made alive in him. Our bodies may wither and die, but our spirit and relationship with him grows stronger every day until the time we see him, and are united as we were created to be. “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.
Living for Christ then is not for the treasure at the end of our lives. No, it is to live for him now, and always. Truly, it is the greatest joy I have found, and not disease nor death will separate me from sharing it with the world, as it so desperately needs to hear his message.
Most of all, if there’s something you can take away from this post, it’s this: God loves you, and through Jesus, we relate to people in a radically different way. We don’t simply have relationship for the sake of it, or for our own selfish desires. Instead, we desire to be compassionate with others, seek to understand them, slow to judge them, and above all, love them, even if they are our enemies.
“The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it” – Henri Nouwen