EFFECTS OF THE CROSS 3 of 7
1 Jn 4:9,10 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
We look at people and we speak of them as living beings but in God’s economy there is a dimension to life that is missing from an unbeliever. The Bible teaches again and again that before we became a Christian we were ‘dead’. What does it mean? Well, when God created us He gave us a spirit (Gen 2:7 – breath = spirit, also 1 Thess 5:23). Now the spirit part of a person is that innermost being that is the channel through which communication with God occurs. Until that person reaches out seeking God, that spirit remains dormant or ‘dead’, that seems to be the teaching of Scripture (e.g. Eph 2:1).
However when we speak of a person being dead there is also a future dimension to this. In films the angry criminal may say to someone, “You’re dead!” meaning you have no future. Similarly for the unbeliever there is no eternal future with God, just the experience of hell after death. So that was our state – we were dead to God in experience and we were dead in that we had not future.
Now, through Christ we have been made alive! Because, as we’ve seen in the Lent Meditations, we were reconciled to God through Jesus’ death, He then put His Holy Spirit within us and we were brought into a new dimension, we are new creations, who are alive to God (Rom 6:11), which means today we have Life and that Life goes on and on and will never end. The apostle John must have caught something of this when he wrote about Jesus, “In him was life” (Jn 1:4) and then later on in his first letter, “The life appeared” (1 Jn 1:2). He also described Jesus as “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14) or, we might say, he was full of loving kindness and utterly real. And he now lives in us!
So, the life we now have is one that is to be filled with loving kindness and utterly real. That is Life. What would happen if we rigorously applied those two standards to all we are and all we do? What does a person who is ‘alive’ do? They communicate, they relate, they enjoy. How can we say that? Because that’s what being a human being is all about. We’re made to communicate, to relate to God and to others, and to enjoy all of God’s wonderful provision. They do say that people never appreciate life until they have been under the threat of it being removed by, say, an accident, or a life threatening illness. Do we have to wait for such a thing before we will appreciate the Life that God has given us, both the life of the material body with its tremendous potential (a whole area to think about) and the spiritual life He’s opened up to us when we received the wonder of all that Jesus has done for us on the Cross?