Christ Who is Our Life

M. S. Staveley, Bradford on Avon

1. We live in Him

'As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all (that is, all who believe) be made alive'; and we are to reckon ourselves 'to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in (en, Gk) Christ Jesus', I Cor. 15. 22, Rom. 6. 11 (jnd).

There is no spiritual life-no right movement of mind, heart or soul in relation to God-outside of Christ. Thus only Christians 'live' in this sense. It is contrasted with being 'dead in trespasses and sins', Eph. 2. 1.

2. But we also live to Him

This is in contrast to living to (or for) ourselves. Man is naturally self-centred, and without Christ as the Object of his affections, remains so. So Paul says, of Christians, 'For none of us liveth to himself . . . For ... we live unlo the Lord', Rom. 14. 7, 8; and in 2 Corinthians 5. 15 he presents this as the divine objective for all men, and the motive for it, the constraining love of Christ displayed in His sacrificial and vicarious death. 'He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again'.

3. We also live by, or on account of, Him

The Lord, in John 6. 57 speaks in this way of those who 'eat' Him (i.e. appropriate Him in their thoughts and affections) in the same way that He Himself lived 'by the Father' (of which jnd's note says, 'The sense is "by reason of what the Father is and His living"'. This is a most wonderful parallel, which we would not have dared to draw had our Lord not done so Himself. He says, in effect, 'I want you to live on earth on the same principle by which I lived: that is, deriving all that is needed to sustain life from the One in heaven to whom you owe everything' (the Father in His own case, Jesus Himself in ours).

4. Moreover, God's thought is that Christians should 'Reign in Life by One, Jesus Christ', Rom. 5. 17

This appears to be a somewhat different thought from above. It is in contrast to 'death reigning by one' (Adam), on account of his offence. The verse refers to Christ as the new Head for 'those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness', that is, all Christians. Whether we all do actually reign in life-that is, are made consciously superior to all the trials that life on earth holds-is another matter: but Romans 5.17 presents it as the mind of God for all believers, and as a practical possibility.

5. Finally, and most gloriously, we shall live with Him eternally

2 Timothy 2. 11, 'For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him', John 17. 24 '1 will that they also, whom thou has given me, be with me where I am', I Thessalonians 4. 17 'so shall we ever be with the Lord', and other scriptures, make this clear for all Christians in the plainest possible terms.