Before giving our allegiance to Jesus, we were spiritually dead. But, in Christ, just as Jesus overcame death, we overcome death. Without Christ, we are eternally condemned. We always experience death, but we are never released. There is no final peace. With Christ, we are eternally alive, experiencing all that life was meant to be. We are obviously not experiencing that now, because sin is still corrupting the world. Our hearts and our natures are still being influence by sin and the world.
In Christ, the power of sin is broken over us. We have freedom to live in righteousness; we have freedom to live in sin. Our hearts are changed so we are free to pursue righteousness, but our hearts are not perfect, so we will not be perfect in this life.
If we use our freedom to pursue sin, we will be pursuing the fruit of death. We will not be experiencing life as we were designed to live. Since, the Spirit of Christ is in a our hearts, calling us to relationship with him, we will not really enjoy these fruits of death, as we might without Jesus. (We might harden our hearts and isolate the Spirit within us, to the point that we no longer hear him, and are able to pursue death with close to the same passion.) But pursuing the things of death is not living.
- Living My Life
We were designed for living relationship with God. We were designed for living the ways of God. This world, this life, this creation, were so designed that life is derived from living in congruence with the ways of God. All things that are associated with abundant living (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, discipline) are derived from a life of obedience.
There is probably some argument about what constitutes a life of obedience. If a list were made, people would probably add: attend church, pay the tithe, daily prayer, daily scripture reading, sharing the gospel, etc. The list could go on and on.
There are certainly practices that are common to all members of God’s family. There are also practices that we are personally invited to do. So, an obedient life involves this personal invitation and moment by moment paying attention to the One who calls us to follow him. And taking appropriate action to this personal role.
- God’s Perspective
The key to people being alive in Christ, life forever in heaven with God, and live now in relationship with God, is Jesus on the cross. It was this that set the wheels in motion. It was this that made the promises of God real.
Life in eternity, in heaven, does not begin in the next life. Life in heaven began when we began our relationship with God. When we gave him our allegiance, we became his child we became full citizens of his kingdom. Heavenly life began at that time. God is fully prepared to live out his part of the agreement. We need to learn how to live out our part.