Because He wanted man to be happy, joyful, and experience His pleasures! He didn’t put man in a vast and barren wilderness. He put him in a joyful place, a place of great pleasure. It’s a lie to believe that if you surrender yourself to Jesus that somehow you’re going to be made miserable.
I’ve heard many people say, “I know I need to give Christ my life but maybe if I do He’ll call me as a missionary to Africa or China or I may have to do something I won’t enjoy.” Let me tell you what I tell anyone who says something like that to me: God is so gloriously good that if He was to call you to be a missionary to Africa or China you would be most delighted to go. It would be your greatest pleasure, and if you didn’t go you would be most miserable.
Obedience to God is a good thing. Don’t listen to the voice that will drown out the voice of God.
Be saved today! Know joy beyond measure! Know pleasures forevermore today. Come to Christ. Do not listen to your own voice; listen to the voice of God. Hear Him! Is there anybody burdened and heavy laden? Come and He will give you rest. Listen to Him. Come to Him.
Maybe something inside tells you cannot live the Christian life. Neither can I. I can’t live that life either. But, once again, that is a distorted view of what it means to be a Christian. I’m thankful that Jesus died so He doesn’t remember my sins, but I am also grateful that He rose from the dead so that now Christianity is not just about being forgiven but about having the very person of Christ within me so that His life and power is flowing through me. The very personality of Jesus can flow from you! He transforms us. It’s not you trying to serve and be like Jesus, it’s Jesus being Jesus in you.
Jesus rose from the dead so that now Christianity is not just about being forgiven but about having the very person of Christ within you so that His life and power is flowing through you.
Well, from Wednesday through Friday, we’ve been on a retreat with five families Romania Missionary Fellowship Director Florin Vasiliu has been pouring into and Michael Durham has been meeting with via FaceTime every other week.
The retreat was held in beautiful Vama, Romania (Vama means customs and the town is so named because it was the former border with Hungary), and was a wonderful time of bonding with this core group of believers learning the biblical definition of a Christ-centered community.
CHURCH AS A COMMUNITY = A local church is a community of believers whose lives depend on each other and they interact through food, fellowship, and sharing of life, for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
During the three days, six sessions were given ranging from topics such as the church as a community, hospitality, and the theology of food to the practice of community, thinking missionally, the Gospel, and lies we believe about God.
“The Lord hates the individualistic view of Christianity,” Michael said. “You were not designed to live life without air and you were not designed to live the Christian life without other believers.”
During the sessions, as the group soaked up the messages and engaged in discussion among each other and with Brother Michael, time was also given to prayer and seeking the Lord for His glory to be preeminent and help in applying what was heard.
The three days were extremely rewarding and profitable, as the group was given time and space to practice what they heard in regards to a healthy, thriving, Christ-centered community.
“The church brings sinners to the new birth and then educates and nourishes them the rest of their lives.” –John Calvin
Of the 22+ people present, almost half were teenagers, who were attentive, prayerful, and excited about what they heard, asking good questions, listening well, and responding and interacting within the discussion. God is doing a work in this generation and it is so exciting! May God drive His truth deep in their hearts and use them to transform this country and world.
“A healthy community produces healthy disciples.”
“Fervent love is stretching yourself out for someone else with no regard for how you will be received.”
“We’re not willing to sacrifice the time to invest in someone else because we’re too busy investing in our own self-interests.”
“Jesus saves you by the church,
through the church,
for the church.
There is no room for individualism.”
“If we’re living independent of each other, we’re living independent of God.”
“If you feel out of place in your church, maybe your idea of church is wrong. God’s idea of church is for you to minister and bless others. We want to receive first and then give—that’s not the way the church works.”
“If you’re not willing to take your mask off and be real, if you’re not taking the first step toward this kind of community, then you cannot experience church the way Jesus designed.”
“When people start getting saved and a new method takes off in the church, after a while God will stop blessing that method but people will continue doing it ‘because that’s how God saved people in the past!’ and the method becomes sacred. You are not to follow a method. You are to follow Jesus.”
“Because of stereotypes, there are walls you have to tear down in order to share the Gospel. Love is an amazing deconstruction tool.”
“If you are Jesus’ disciple, you will do what Jesus did. We have little right to call ourselves disciples, if we don’t go to the unlovable as He did.”
Sunday morning found us in our church home away from home—Osoi Baptist Church. Our hearts resonate with this body of believers, so committed to the glory of God and the exaltation of His fame in their village and beyond, and time with them is never wasted.
Teaching from Luke 6-7, Michael distinguished the difference between religion and Christianity and the primary evangelism method of Jesus found in Luke 6:27-36,
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” -Luke 6:27-36
Michael then explained to whom we are to take the Gospel:
An excerpt of Michael’s message:
If you’re serious about being Jesus’ disciple, your life will get messy. Every non-believer is in a mess. We yell at sinners down in a pit, “Hey! Come out of there—Jesus has something so much better for you.” Some diligent people will throw down a rope. But Jesus climbed down into the pit with the sinner and, while pushing the sinner out of the pit, became covered with the sinner’s mud.
If you really want to love like Jesus, you will be misunderstood and accused of being worldly. But you will find Jesus there. You will sooner find Him in the sinner’s mess than within the four walls of a clean church.
Jesus went into the world for you. How can you claim to be His follower if you will not follow Him into the world, not to be like the world but to rescue it? Hear Him weeping for the very ones who would crucify Him. Are you weeping over sinners? May God help us to let Jesus live His life through us.
“The resurrection is the sure proof of the availability of the kingdom of God.” -Michael Durham
More than 100 people gathered in a conference room in the Palas Mall in Iasi on Sunday night as Michael preached through Matthew 5:1-20 and delivered the good news of the Gospel of Jesus:
There is a radiantly glorious kingdom.
Jesus is King.
The kingdom is open to you.
“Jesus came to identify with each one of us,” he said. “Every moment of weakness, every temptation He resisted was for you. He didn’t just die for you—He lived for you.”
As the wrath of God and the clear Gospel was presented, both men and women were moved to tears.
“Jesus didn’t come for the well or the whole, He came for the broken,” Michael said. “Trade your broken life for Jesus.”
Pray that many will be given the grace to do so.
The following sermon jam is from the Iasi, Romania Missionary Fellowship Conference held on April 25th, 2015.
The first conference of this Romania trip began with the 50+ attendees raising their voices together singing,
How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great, is our God
That is the heart of these conferences, the heart of this ministry, the heart of Romania Missionary Fellowship—the greatness of God being extolled on this earth and then in His throne room forevermore.
In the first session, Michael Durham preached on the abuses of the Holy Spirit prevalent in the church and in the remaining sessions taught on the solution to the problem.
With two texts, Ephesians 4:30 and 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Michael with Florin translating lined out some of the abuses of the Holy Spirit within the church, particularly in the circus of the charismatic movement.
“We’ve put cosmetics on our churches to try and hide the death that’s there,” Michael said. “Just like in funerals, the body is dead but we fool ourselves into thinking it looks good.”
The result is an admiration of fleshly attempts to imitate the Holy Spirit.
This is why our churches must be led and governed by the power of the Spirit with church leaders and pastors being sensitive to His leadership. The problem is, Michael explained, the carnal man is scared of what he can’t manage.
“We’re more concerned about our security on this earth than the glory of God. The lack of concern for your own holiness is a sign the Holy Spirit has been quenched. Without Him, there is no concern over sin.” -Michael Durham
Despite being an strong advocate for education, learning, and knowledge (especially solid theology), Michael cautioned the audience.
“Preach the Word, yes, but you can’t teach people out of their problems,” he said. “Truth without the power of the Holy Spirit is hardening hearts not setting them free. Knowledge without the power to live it out only confirms the hardness of their hearts.”
Michael was bold and blunt in his teaching for one reason.
“I speak plainly to you this morning to get to your heart,” he said. “I want to spend the rest of the day discussing what we can do—if anything—for our churches, but first, how can we revive our own hearts?”
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
To receive the Holy Spirit’s power means to have the influence of the Holy Spirit to walk in godliness.
Emphasizing the need of the power of God in order to live a Christ-like life, Michael explained that despite your technology, theology, or philosophy, the most important aspect of ministry is the Holy Spirit.
“Get knowledge. Be theologically studied. But in all your learning, get the power of God!” he said. “It’s the power of God that saves, no matter how prolific your theology. I’m not promoting bad theology–get all the knowledge, study theology, but don’t neglect the Spirit.
“Theology without the Spirit is like dead men’s bones. But didn’t God raise dead bones in Ezekiel? God, ignite our theology!“
But, he cautioned, be careful in your pursuit of the Spirit.
“People want the Spirit so they can do things like (D.L.) Moody of (George) Whitefield,” he said. “No. God wants to use you the way He designed you and He knows the degree and power and influence of the Holy Spirit you need.”
Why is this so important?
“If you don’t have the Holy Spirit leading you will make disciples,” he said, “but they will be your disciples. They will look like you and talk like you, but they will not be like Christ.”
“I’ve wasted years of my life trying to act like Jesus when all along the life of Jesus was in me,” Michael said. “All I needed was to learn to deny my self and live not by a self-motivated life but a Spirit-motivated life.”
In this session, Michael addressed one of the most common misconceptions in the Christian life—the idea of imitating Jesus. But can a person act like Jesus?
“Christianity is not an imitation but a participation in Christ’s life,” he said. “That participation is a cooperation with the life of Christ in me.”
In the process of defining flesh and self, Michael addressed another misconception.
Flesh = fallen human nature
Self = Yourself, you.
“Have you heard you need to put self to death?” Michael asked. “How many have tried? Did it work? Self is still living because you are self. To kill self is suicide. When you become a Christian, your humanity is still fallen, that’s why we’re still tempted and enticed.
“The Bible never says to to put self to death but to deny self, which means to not be dominated by self.”
The flesh, he explained, wants to put you on the throne of your own kingdom. But you have the Spirit in you who is vying for the King of kings to rule.
How can you the One True King lead your soul? To answer this, Michael turned to two companion texts.
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” -Ephesians 5:18
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” -Colossians 3:16
The words filled and richly come from the same word in the Greek. The literal translation of Colossians 3:16 would be, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you fully.” The word of Christ richly dwelling in us is to be filled with the Spirit.
Dwell = To be at home
“The word of God should have full command of your life,” he said. “That’s what the Spirit is to do.”
Does this mean only the Bible? Not necessarily because not everyone in the church at Ephesus would have had access to a Bible. Rather this means to do as Jesus taught in the Great Commission, to observe all that He had taught.
“We want you to memorize Scripture but what Paul and Jesus is more concerned about is not just that information entering your mind but that you do the Word,” Michael said. “I would prefer you obey more than learn. In this information age, I fear we are educating ourselves to spiritual death.”
With the Internet and all the access to information and material, Michael noted that if learning information is key to Christianity then we should be the strongest church in history. But, as evidence proves, following Christ is not just about learning information.
TO BE LED BY THE SPIRIT…
1. You must be yielded (Matthew 16:24).
“You can’t trust Jesus and you at the same time,” Michael said. “You can’t have two masters, even if one is you. If you’re not continually filled with the Spirit, the problem is not other people, the problem is not your circumstances, the problem is your faith—you’re not really trusting Jesus.
2. You must use what you already know.
“Most people don’t need to hear another sermon in their life,” he said. “Most aren’t doing half of what they’ve already heard. Do you want the Spirit’s activity in your life? Do what you already know to do. Use what you already know. Not until you do what God has already commanded will you hear God again.”
EVIDENCES OF BEING LED BY THE SPIRIT…
1. You find an enthusiastic joy that leads to wanting to edify your brothers and sisters.
When you’re being led by the Spirit you’ll stop being so concerned about you and you’ll be more concerned about your brothers and sisters.
2. Your joy is not in achievements.
Your satisfaction won’t come through the ministry but directly through your relationship with the lord.
Has the labor of the Lord become heavy and exhausting? You’re not being led by the Spirit because Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Find your joy not in ministerial success and achievement but in Christ Himself.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” -Romans 5:5
What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? It means to have the love of God once again poured out in your heart.
What must you do to be filled with the Spirit?
1. Submit/Surrender to Him
“I’m not saying once you surrender to Him 100 people will be saved, but I am saying you will have the power to be faithful,” Michael said. “And if that’s not enough for you, you should examine your heart because it’s to be faithful we are called, no more and no less.”
Cautioning the audience, especially the young pastors, to be careful with their spiritual heroes, Michael exhorted them to fulfill their ministry.
“Don’t idolize your heroes,” he said. “Be happy with what God has ordained for you. If you’re not happy with what God gives you—even if it’s small—you are not yielded to the Lord.”
2. Ask in Faith
“You’re a leaky vessel,” Michael said. “Your heart has holes in it. What God pours in will not always stay in; you need to be refilled. Ask.”
Michael issued a challenge: Find out what God wants you to do and believe Him for it, no matter how hard or impossible it looks.
3. Pursue Holiness
If we are to be used by God, we must be a people of holiness and a pure heart is the only candidate for an infilling of the Holy Spirit.
“Some of us have a carnal curiosity that overwhelms that overwhelms us,” he said. “How do you justify your own sins? We often don’t realize it’s the small sins that spoil the vine. We overlook the small things and say sin is only the big things.”
Harboring sin in your heart will hinder the work of God in answering your prayer.
“You want a fresh move of God in your heart and church? Then confront your sin. Hunt it out. Don’t stop until you get every corner clean. God will move!”
“Every sinner that has no disturbance in his soul, no pain of conscience, no conviction of sin, is to experience the wrath of God. It is the most frightening place to be. To be happy without God is the worst place to be.”
“Right now everyone person you know that is not a believer has God’s bow bent at them ready to fire. They are unaware of this because of their spiritual blindness. It’s my job and your job to make them aware of it.”
“God gives the sinner what the sinner wants: a life without Him. But how is anyone converted? God intervenes, interrupts, and introduces His activity in their life. Without God’s interruption they are doomed.”
“We sin against each other because we have already sinned against God.”
“People are not seeing true Christianity in action; they are seeing organized religion. Organized religion is dead and has no power. Christianity has life and is powerful. If people would see a community of believers loving one another, they will know that you are the disciples of Christ. How? Because you love like Jesus loves. I give you a new commandment love one another as I have loved You. That’s what your city and my city needs. Why can’t we be the ones that say to the Lord, ‘I’m Yours and I’m going to give my life to my brothers and love them like You love me, and we, as a community, are going to show that same love to unbelievers.’ I refuse to believe that people will not be saved if they see this. I believe God will build something incredible.”
On Tuesday afternoon, after more than 30 hours of travel, a cold and rainy welcome greeted us in Iasi, Romania. Despite the clouds and falling raindrops and temperatures, the warmth of friendship filled our hearts as Florin Vasiliu, director of Romania Missionary Fellowship, met us at the airport and took us to join our “Romanian family” at the Vasiliu home.
After a day of rest, Michael Durham met with some of the core leaders of the soon-to-be Romania church plant for fellowship and theological training.
Michael has been training this group of leaders in his office every other week through the marvelous technology of FaceTime, so, after briefly reviewing previously discussed material, they easily launched into new material, diving deeper into the Gospel depths.
1. God is righteous.
2. God is the standard by which we will all be judged.
3. To have eternal life we have to be as righteous as God is.
4. That creates a huge problem. I’m not as righteous as God is and in and of myself I can’t be that righteous.
5. God has granted us His righteousness as a gift and that gift is His Son, who perfectly obeyed. And as we believe in Christ God credits to our accounts His (Jesus’) righteousness.
“We want to point people to Jesus, not just give information about Jesus.”
“The Apostle Paul’s success wasn’t based upon the number of converts or the size of the church but their faithfulness to God.”
“Sociologists tell us the greatest need for people is to feel good about themselves. So we tailor the churches message to be therapeutic instead of prophetic.”
“The love for holiness is the same of the hatred of all that is not holy. God’s hatred of sin is because of His holy nature. Which is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13. It’s God’s love that necessitates that He be the judge of right and wrong.
“The Lord has made Himself known; He has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.” (Psalm 9:16, ESV)
How can you know who God is? You know a good judge by the judgement He makes. You know a bad judge by the bad judgements he makes. God is known by the way He dispenses His judgement.”
“When you look at modern Christianity you see reductionism. That should tell us we are not about making disciples we are about making converts. We want instantaneous growth or fruit. Jesus didn’t make instantaneous disciples.”
Please continue praying for this trip and for God’s name to be made famous in Eastern Europe!
The RTM staff and I have landed in Chicago for a nine hour layover as we make our way to Eastern Europe to conduct our spring Romania Missionary Fellowship Pastors’ Conference. We are expecting a hundred pastors and church leaders to gather for our conferences both in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. The conferences will major on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Much of what is said about the Holy Spirit is either a wild-eyed hyper-enthusiasm or an almost atheistic (acting as if He did not exist) approach to the maligned Third Person of the blessed Trinity. The late author and pastor A. W. Tozer said, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”
The only resource that God has provided the church with is His resource—the Holy Spirit. The only power that a New Testament church can live by is the power of the Spirit. The only fuel that on which a church can operate is the fuel of the Spirit. Our lives will be useless unless we are expecting and experiencing this divine Person and power. A New Testament church should be experiencing the dynamic of the supernatural. It is “not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
In our time in Eastern Europe, not only will we deal with the Spirit’s empowerment for service but His work in sanctification. Here too, a breath of fresh air is needed to clear out the stale and stagnate ideas that take some to unbiblical extremes.
These conferences are remarkable times. I never fail to be amazed at the strong discipline of our Eastern European brethren, and at the same time see their immense tenderness and sensitivity to God presence. They humble me with the ability to mix the rigors of deep theological work and deep heart work making the soul both strong and soft.
The remainder of our time will be working with a group of brothers and sisters in Iasi whom I have fallen in love with. This group of disciples is hungry to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. They have a vision to see a work of God prosper and a burden to see the Great Commission practiced in their own lives and in Iasi, a city of nearly half a million souls.
In addition to several home meetings with this band of disciples we will enjoy a spiritual retreat in beautiful Suceava, Romania. Here we will concentrate our time studying the New Testament Church. I will be teaching on the necessity of a church to have a Gospel orientation, to be community centered, and mission-driven. These truths will serve them in the years to come and it is our prayer that God will use these days as a foundation of a disciple-making movement. There are still many towns and villages in this part of the world that have no Gospel witness. I pray God will make these days fruitful for those yet unreached and sitting in darkness without an evangelical witness.
Would you pray with me that the Christ Jesus will do only what He can—take very little, if not nothingness, and make something incredible? These next two weeks will be physically challenging, mentally demanding, and emotionally tiring. But please pray that they will be most restful days in Him, for His burden is light and His yoke easy.
Visit the blog often. Sophie McDonald will keep you posted on our experiences with pictures and stories of what we see God do.
One of the reasons why the church may not be doing the will of the Lord is because we’re too concerned about threading theological needles. Let me hasten to say that theology is good.
Theo = God
ology = the study or the knowledge of
I remember my pastor telling me when I was a teenager that he called a church to inquire about the senior pastor position that was vacant. He wanted to know what their doctrine and theology was. The receptionist answered and he introduced himself and said, “I’m just thinking about sending my resume to you, can you tell my, briefly, what your theology is?” To which the receptionist said in a very gruff voice, “Oh, we don’t believe in that theology stuff. We just worship God here.” Well, needless to say, my pastor didn’t send his resume in.
Theology is very important. We are to study and know God.
Can you tell me what is higher than the pursuit of knowing God? Nothing. Therefore, God has given us His Word, full of truth and teaching, so we can know Him. Why? So we can have theological discussions and debates and clubs and argue about the many nuances of God and all the different purposes of God in our lives? No, we have been entrusted with the gift of theology so we might worship Him. The lady my pastor talked to had one thing right. They were to worship God. She just didn’t know that the study of the Scriptures was to lead them to that conclusion.
I’m not trying to be harsh or critical; I believe this has great impact, especially among reformed circles of which we identify with. There is too much narrowness in our theology.
We’re more concerned about whether someone is a Calvinist or an Arminian rather than a follower of Jesus.
We’re more concerned about whether someone is a Baptist or a Methodist then a true worshipper of God.
We’re more concerned about whether one can believe prior to regeneration or after regeneration, when the truth is we don’t know when the Spirit comes we only know the effect of His coming.
Personally, I believe that only someone who is regenerated can exercise faith, but if somebody doesn’t agree with me yet shows fruit of the Spirit and the evidence of Christ in them, they are my brother, they are my sister.
We can become too narrow in our theology. Theology is given to expand us to worship by knowing God better and we’ve narrowed the study of theology to specifics that split and divide us, and therefore we can’t hear God and His purpose and will for our lives. Am I saying to abandon our doctrines? No. But I am saying we should not exclude true brothers and sisters because they may not thread the theological needle exactly as you and I do. When we’re more concerned about having our doctrine right than knowing and worshipping and obeying God, which includes loving our brothers and sisters, our doctrine is wrong even though it may be biblical.
To illustrate what was north he asked his students how many had ever been to Chicago. Not many hands went up. He then asked what direction Chicago was but no one responded. So in order to get something other than blank stares he asked, “If you don’t know what direction it is, how do you know how to get there?” Immediately a hand went up.
“Simple, sir,” the student said. “You go to the bus station, find the bus that says ‘Chicago,’ get on, and it takes you right there.”
Like our young friend in the story we often we think we can improve on the basics. The church has tried to the very same thing. We think ourselves smarter than our previous forefathers. There is something of sarcasm even to how we often refer to the early days of Christianity. We call it “primitive Christianity.” There was nothing primitive about it they just stayed with the basics and conquered most of the known world with their message and methods. Today we think we have the new and improved version of Christianity. But instead of improving upon the basics we have strayed far from the essential fundamentals of the Christian faith.
Vince Lombardi, the Hall of Fame winning coach of the Green Bay Packers had built a dynasty. They were a winning team. But something happened. They began to lose. Mr. Lombardi gathered his team in the locker room and said, “Gentlemen we have forgotten the basics of football and so we are returning to the basics.” He held up a football and said, “Men, this is a football.”
Once again it is time to get back to the basics of our faith. And the best place to start is to define the word Christianity. What is Christianity?
Christianity is the persuasion that Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God and thus is eternal life. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). The New Testament repeatedly asserts that Christ is the very revelation of God in the flesh.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
“The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:47)
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
“[Jesus] who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3)
These verses definitely state that Christ is the fullness of God and that we can know what God is like by observing Jesus. But the New Testament doesn’t stop there. It goes on to say that the Lord Jesus not only grants eternal life but is eternal life. The Apostle John says of Christ, “the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:2). He develops this theme stating in 1 John 5:11, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” Christ possesses eternal life and if one is to have eternal life he or she must come to Christ to receive it. But John emphatically states that eternal life is not just a gift concerning one’s eternal state but it is actually a person. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).
Therefore, we can conclude that the definition of eternal life is not “being saved.” Jesus does not need to be saved and He is eternal life. Most of the evangelical world defines salvation as not going to hell but heaven when one dies. But the Bible says it is so much more.
Eternal life is not simply a quantitative term, meaning the duration of one’s existence. While, it is true we will live forever with God but this is not the meaning we should take from Scripture. Nor is eternal life only a qualitative term, suggesting the quality of life one will have if they accept Jesus as Savior. Rather, the Bible dogmatically asserts that eternal life is Jesus Christ and it is the receiving of His life and participating in it.
The basis of Christianity is a man or woman being full of God. This was man’s original state before the fall. Jesus has done all that was legally necessary to bring about the restoration of the life of God in the soul of man. The “more abundant life” is the Christian’s, but sadly he or she does not know that since we have lessened salvation and Christianity. This reductionism has led to a weak and anemic faith. If you are a believer, you have eternal life—you have “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Don’t settle for less! Live by His power, His wisdom; live by His life!