The question that must be asked and answered is: WHAT IS THIS "LIFE" JESUS CAME TO GIVE YOU? DO YOU HAVE IT?
Many people call themselves Christians because they go to church meetings, they say prayers, they sing spiritual songs, etc. But what is it that really makes someone a Christian?
I suggest that the real characteristic of being a Christian is not what activities we are involved in, but do we have His LIFE within us.
The following quote was taken from the page in this website entitled "Spiritual Death -- What is It" and defines for us the word "life" as we are describing it.
In the Greek language, the word "zoe" is used to describe life as God knows life. "Zoe" then becomes the foundation of all life; but it specifically describes the quality of life that is unique to God Himself. It is translated in the New Testament as "life" and "everlasting life". The New Testament is full of references to "zoe", therefore it is telling us that the purpose of God is that we should receive "zoe" in addition to our natural life. This enables those who have received this "zoe" life through the "new birth" to live as we were originally intended to live -- in union with God and with His life being in us. Restoring this LIFE to born again humans is the Father's great desire in His plan for restoring to us what was lost in the garden.
JOHN 3:16 -- "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life ("zoe").
JOHN 10:10 -- "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they might have life ("zoe"), and that they might have it more abundantly."
In each of these verses the word "zoe" is used for "life" and for "everlasting life". We were created to partake in the life of God - "zoe".
Sin stole that life from us and Jesus came to earth to die in order to restore that life to us!!
When we were born again we actually received the life ("zoe") of God into us by the Holy Spirit. This was in fact the fulfillment of the promise of the Father for a new covenant. It was the grace gift of God to us for entering His covenant. He gave His life and took our death. What an amazing exchange.
ROMANS 5:5 -- "...the love of God has been poured out within our hearts by the Holy spirit who was given to us."
ROMANS 6:11 -- "even so consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
ROMANS 8:2 -- "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death."
It has always been the heart desire of our glorious Heavenly Father to restore to humanity what was lost in the garden through the great disobedience of Adam. He has made a way to accomplish this monumental feat through the death and shedding of blood of the Lord Jesus. The Father and Jesus paid a severe price for our restoration so we could once again have His life within us, have His covenant blessings, and reign in this life through Jesus, our Lord.
DO YOU HAVE THIS LIFE? AND IF SO, ARE YOU LIVING THAT LIFE THE WAY THAT JESUS DID WHEN HE WAS ON THIS EARTH?
Christianity is a vital relationship with a LIVING GOD. We are to be actively functioning in relationship with God in His kingdom, not going through the religious practices we commonly see in modern day church life. LIFE can never be expressed in a vacuum -- it must be expressed through relationships with other people. Christianity is to be relational and spiritual, not ceremonial. The PRIMARY relationship is with King Jesus, the Master of all creation. This relationship is then expressed and lived out in relationship with others.
Jesus came to give us LIFE, not religion. So why do so many church goers practice religious activities instead of enjoying the LIFE He came to give us? Let me give you an example.
Many times when people gather in a building for a Sunday meeting that we call "going to church", it is referred to as a gathering of the "family of God". Have you ever noticed that when Jesus was teaching or instructing people He always used natural life illustrations like vines and branches, the actions of yeast in dough, or how light drives out darkness, etc. Let's apply this same technique to the meetings of the "family of God."
When was the last time your real family (Mom, Dad, kids) met every Sunday morning about 10AM, sat lined up in rows of chairs or sofas, had Mom lead us in a couple of songs, then Dad got up and gave a speech for 20 to 90 minutes about how to live your life? Have you ever done that? I didn't think so. Then why do we do these things as Christians and never question it -- especially when we don't see any example of this type of meeting in the New Testament?
Let me give you another example of accepting things without questioning. In our modern day we say we are "going to church" meaning we are going to the building we call "the church". Yet in the Scriptures the Greek word for "church" is "Ekklesia" which simple means "the called out ones". The word "church" in the Bible does not refer to any type of structural building -- it refers to the "people" who have been called out of darkness and have entered into the covenant with God through Jesus.
The "Church" is the people, not the building. How can I "go to church" when I am "the Church"? When you meet with other Christians at a restaurant or in a home or in the break room at the office "the Church" is meeting together. When you and your family are in the car on the way to the building where "the Church" will meet, "the Church" is in the car on its way to a meeting. Not in a religious way, but in a relational way. This is Biblical Christianity, not a religion. It is natural, not institutional.
Now, let me get back on the subject of life.
When I speak of LIFE I am speaking of that special relationship that we Christians have with the living God. I am speaking of that inner knowing, a heart-felt reality of knowing a living God, the great confidence that comes from meeting a living God face to face. The inner knowing that we are participating in an exchanged life because of the covenant. This is not religion -- it is relationship. It is as real a relationship as you have with any other person. There is no wondering if it is real--you absolutely know it is real. Your life has been changed forever because of this encounter with the living God when you yielded your life Him by bowing your knee to the Lord Jesus.
If you simply said a simple little prayer because someone told you to repeat the prayer after them, you probably did not really meet Jesus, you simply said some words and hoped things would change. You may even have started going to meetings where other "Christians" gathered and you got involved with "church type people." But, if you never really met Jesus and yielded your life to Him as the Lord, you are not "saved" -- you are actually a counterfeit Christian. Going to a meeting of other Christians does not make you a Christian anymore than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger. You may look like one, but you are not one because your heart has never really been changed. Salvation occurs when there is a true heart change that occurs through repentance and allowing Jesus to become the "BOSS" of your way of living. When this encounter with Jesus actually happens you absolutely know it and something profound takes place. The Scripture declares that you actually become a "new creation" according to 2 Corinthians 5:17 -- "old things passed away and behold all things have become new."
You know, that you know, that you know, if you have genuinely met Jesus and made Him the Lord of your life. It is this CHANGED life that I refer to when I say that Christianity is LIFE, not religion. It is LIFE because, according to the Bible, God actually takes up residence "within" you by His Spirit. It is His Life that actually gives you the LIFE I am speaking of.
Do you have this LIFE?
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"Declaring the New Covenant and that the kingdom of God is at hand"
Rob Board Ministries
Christiansburg, Virginia 24073