THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Resurrection Power and the Abundant Life
"...Because I live, you shall live also..."
By Laurel J. Davis
See Laurel's blog at The Reluctant First Lady
Jesus said concerning His followers, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10b).
Ah, yes, the abundant life! A much-visited topic in many of our churches, who tell us that as Christians, it is our God-given right to enjoy success in every area of this present life — good health, good wealth and good relationships here on earth.
This teaching is so popular, in fact, that one version of the Bible even translates the verse this way: "My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life" (NLT).
And it seems to be gaining even more ground. After all, who doesn't want to be rich and satisfied, especially in these tough economic times? Yes, they teach, Jesus came so that you could have the best, look the best, drive the best, live in the best and be the best — right here, right now! Doesn't that sound good?!
Good enough for one televangelist to have his congregation and television viewing audience hold up their Bibles in the air and repeat these same words at the beginning of every sermon: "This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have." Forget the fact that those Bibles then stay pretty much closed for the rest of the telecast. It's as if people must be thinking, If my pastor says that the Bible says that Jesus says He came so that I could have my "best life now", then why shouldn't I have it?
Besides the question as to how anyone could dare enjoy their best life now when children are victimized, natural disasters take their toll, terrorists and the deranged brutally kill the innocent, and cancer seems epidemic, there is this question: Can "a rich and satisfying life" here on earth really be what Jesus came here for?
Maybe we can ask the question this way: When Jesus said at John 14:19b, "Because I live, you shall live also," was He saying that the main purpose of His resurrection from the dead was to give us all of our material, physical and emotional desires in this life? In other words, when we talk about Jesus' "resurrection power," what life is the power mostly for — this life, or the life to come?
When you look at God's Holy Word in proper context — as in taking John 10:10 ("I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly") in light of John 14:19 ("Because I live, you shall live also") and vice versa, and also reading each of these verses in light of the surrounding verses, not to mention learning the Greek enough to know that "life" at John 10:10 is zoe, not bios — then the answer is immediately illuminated. No, the power of Jesus' resurrection was not to give us abundant life here on earth but to give us the abundance of eternal life to come up in heaven, to be with Him forever.
Yes, with Jesus we can live this life to the fullest. But so can so many people who don't even give Jesus the time of day. Abundantly more important, then, is having eternal life forevermore, which no one can do without the power of Jesus' resurrection.
Why? Because, by first giving His life on the cross and then raising Himself from the dead, Jesus proved His power over life and death. Just a little further reading down in John 10 confirms this: "I have power to lay [My life] down, and I have power to take it up again" (v. 17-18). In other words, by the power of the resurrection, Jesus Christ proved Himself to be God Himself. Therefore, we who believe in Him have the assurance not only that He can but also that He will give eternal life to us, too.
And that is the very foundation of Christianity. Because He lives, we shall live also!
we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
1 Corinthians 15:18-20
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | Current-Issues | False-Teaching
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Published on 3-11-16