Christ our Life

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation… 1 Corinthians 1:30

When one studies the works of the great devotional Christian authors a common theme emerges: The centrality and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Writers like Andrew Murray, Oswald Chambers, A.W. Tozer and Watchman Nee did not become famous because of great literary skills but because of their unswerving commitment to Jesus Christ. The title of one Nee book summarises it well: “Christ, the Sum of All Spiritual Things”.

Countless Christians have drawn the same conclusions as these writers without ever having read their books. The reason? They read the Bible, and the focal point of the Bible is Jesus Christ. The New Testament paints a much more comprehensive picture of Jesus Christ than the traditional ones that many of us have grown up with. For instance, millions of Christians have been taught that Christ died for us, but only a fraction of them realise that he also lives for us. As Paul wrote: “I live no longer but Christ lives his life in me” (Gal.2:20). Living by the life of Christ is what Christianity is all about. In Col. 3:4 we read that “Christ is our life” and in 2 Cor.4:10 that the life of Jesus must be manifested in our bodies.

This glorious truth does not only apply to our personal faith but also to its corporate expression. When Christians gather together they do so to manifest the life of Christ. The body of Christ under the headship of Christ must be made evident for Christ to be revealed, and this can only happen when all members are encouraged to share Christ.

Worldwide Christians are beginning to do this, with remarkable results, proving that the priesthood of all believers is not just a theological idea but a practical possibility.

(Bloemnuus  26 November 2010)

2 thoughts on “Christ our Life

  1. Paul Zietsman January 26, 2011 / 3:32 pm

    Amen to that!
    “…millions of Christians have been taught that Christ died for us, but only a fraction of them realise that he also lives for us”
    For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
    (Rom 5:10)
    The life of Christ in us even saves us “much more” than what his death brought reconciliation for us!

  2. Paul Zietsman March 25, 2011 / 7:01 am

    By Arthur Katz:

    We all suffer from an inadequate view of the Church. We have allowed the world to relegate us, as the Church, to some kind of Sunday afterthought, a kind of Christian cultural requirement that somehow serves the purposes of those who can obtain some benefit from it. The world does not see us as any more important than many other institutions that serve the purposes of men.

    We need, however, to have our understanding opened to an apostolic way of considering what the Church is according to God’s intention. It would not be unfair to say that the Church of today is essentially an aggregate of individualities; we sit alongside each other, but we are not yet “together” in the biblical sense of that word. We do not yet constitute that wholeness or completeness. We do not yet reflect the genius that is in the Godhead itself, where the Son does everything for the Father, likewise the Spirit for the Son, and the three are One. When we come to that kind of corporateness, the principalities and powers of the air will know it; but God first needs to reveal to us how deep-seated our individualism, self-will and rebellion are.

    The powers of the world are increasing, captivating the souls of men, rooting them in time, and blocking from their consideration the things that are eternal. We cannot come to freedom from this evil influence by ourselves alone. Separation from the world is so painful, and those evil powers are so pervasive and strong. And it is only through the support, the encouragement, the prayer, the wisdom, the counsel of others and the atmosphere that we generate together as the community of God’s people that we can live and maintain that freedom without again being sucked back into the power of the world. Community or life together is one of God’s main provisions to resist and to overcome those powers. The sons and daughters of God are those who overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, and there is no place more conducive for being or becoming this kind of people except in such an intensive community setting.

    There is not a living soul whose life is, or will be, totally free from deception. Our lives need to be submitted to the examination of God through the brethren in Christ. It is a painful revelation, but rather that pain now than the unspeakable pain of learning at the Judgment Seat of Christ that we were living a delusion. We may have thought ourselves to be spiritual, while all along we were far removed from authenticity and reality. The Lord is not going to indulge our romantic or wistful view of what we think true spirituality is. His gracious provision, therefore, is community life in which the true condition of our heart, and the things that would not otherwise have been understood, have the greatest possibility of being revealed to us! The quality of our fellowship with the Lord vertically cannot be any better or more authentic than our fellowship with the saints horizontally. We cannot have the one independent of the other, and we cannot have the one out of proportion to the other.

    How many of us think that we can, and love to be solitary and isolated saints, having some kind of imagined and euphoric relationship with God privately, but hardly having any patience at all for the saints who are His Body? How can we cherish the Head more than the Body, and how can we honor the Head outside of the Body? The Lord has fixed it like that – the vertical and the horizontal beams of the Cross-and the one is in exact proportion to the other. It saves us from exactly that soulish thing we would love to indulge, namely, isolation, separateness and privatistic living.

    God has called us to fellowship, and we are not going to see resurrection power and authority if we are not related in the Body authentically. God will not let us ‘get by’ with a supposed and imaginary vertical relationship with the Resurrected and Ascended One independent of an actual and existential one horizontally in His Body.

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