Life in the Risen Lord (1)

The Lord Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

He is making reference to those who pretended to be the shepherds and leaders of Israel, but who were, in fact, false, cunning, and violent men, seeking to get possession of the sheep for their own profit and glory, thus betraying their true character. In glaring contrast, He sought only the security, liberty, and bounty of His sheep, as verse 9 (JND) explains, “I am the door: if any one enter in by Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” Free under His care, the sheep feed in safety across the vast and rich pastures of God.

The first part of verse 10 describes the coming down of the Son of God, so that we might live through Him. He is the eternal life which was with the Father, and He gives life, and becomes Himself our life. The second part of verse 10, “… and might have it more abundantly,” shows the character and fullness of this life: this life is in the Son. Having the Son, we have life, and we have it according to the power of His resurrection. “He that has the Son has life” (1John 5:12, AKJV).

Newness of Life – Romans 6:3-4

Paul takes up this great subject in Romans 6:4, “… that like as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, so we might walk in newness of life” (RV).

“Newness of life” means life of a new quality, not new as to time. It is a new kind of life in Christ and a new standing in Him. As believers in the Lord Jesus, we belong to a new society “… walking in newness of life.” F. F. Bruce describes this as “the new mode or quality of life which results from the impartation of Christ’s power to the believer.” Bruce maintains the verb “walk” is used in this ethical sense.

Paul writes about the experience of the believer’s attachment to, and identification with, the Lord Jesus. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (ESV)? This statement declares the truth of the nature of the believer’s identification with Him. It is important to observe that baptism proclaims our union with Him; it does not affect our union with Him. When He died at Calvary, believers representatively died in Him. When He rose, believers representatively rose with Him. The believer is associated with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection. This fact becomes a blessed reality when faith is exercised in Him. Baptism is the symbolic expression or illustration of death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. In baptism, the believer affirms this amazing fact.

The believers in Galatia were being tempted to return to the principle of law-keeping and to obtain perfection by the flesh: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal 3:3, ESV). Hence the reason for his words in Galatians 3:27 (ESV), “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” This has reference to their union and position in Christ. He died to the whole question of sin and condemnation. In the death of the Lord Jesus, we died to sin. We are not told to “die to sin” (1Peter 2:24, ESV).

It is true that the Lord Jesus died for us and for our sins, but it is equally true that we died with Him as to our sin, and all we were in Adam was brought to an end. Believers make their way through this world in “newness of life” (Rom 6:4, ESV), which has its source and subsistence in a resurrected Christ in glory. It is with this awareness the believer is enabled to walk such a pathway to the glory of God.

A New Creation – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2Cor 5:17). “So if anyone (be) is in Christ, (there is) a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (New Translation, JND). We are a New Creation. The old one of sin and condemnation has passed away. What we now are in Christ is forever new. It is important to see this great truth in the context of verses 15-17. Our assessment of things (and of others) is to be made in the light of verse 15, “And that He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised” (ESV).

Understanding the meaning and implication of the cross will enable us to live unto Him, and not unto ourselves. “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh …” (v16, ESV). Not only has the fact and ramifications of the death of Christ meant the end of the self-life, but it has also radically changed our concept of other believers and how we view those around us.

Paul no longer assessed people from the standpoint of Adam, but of Christ. He did not look upon their status in life, achievements, or natural talents and abilities, “according to the flesh.” What a person may have been outwardly or how he was seen in the eyes of the world made no impression upon Paul. Natural pedigree or fame meant little to him. His assessment was made from the standpoint of the Lord Jesus. Paul thus calls the Gentiles, with whom he had no dealings in the past, his “beloved brethren.”

– To be continued