Life is a mystery. Who can truly understand it? It may only be inherited from another. Life is intangible yet without it one cannot knowingly sense and experience the tangible—the things and people of our world. Perhaps the highest life quality is the ability to know and experience things, events, loved ones, and God. Even as Jesus said,
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (Jn. 17:3)
Most definitions of life, of which I understand are more than 280, include the word “reproduce.” All life in this world today can only be reproduced from another that already possesses this life. It cannot just be spontaneously produced by some electro-chemical reaction. Thus all life must come from another that already possesses life. God the Father is the source of all life. Only life contained within a seed—whether vegetation, animal, or human—may be passed on and acquired by another. For mankind, this seed of life can only come from one of two sources:
“The first man Adam became a living being (soul). The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Cor. 15:45)
All life for man to possess and experience in this existence is either from the created life contained in the seed of Adam, and/or from the eternal life that is within the seed of Christ. All life on this earth born of the first seed, which is of Adam, must make the deliberate choice by faith in the grace of God to be born “again” of the seed of Christ:
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Jn. 1:11-12)
The New Testament provides insight into this life inherited from Adam and the life that is of Christ. In the New Testament Greek three different words are used to define and describe life: bios, psuche, and zoe. You must remember man is body, soul, and spirit and life must come to the whole man. Life as bios and psuche are inherited by all mankind from created life in Adam. This brings life to his body and soul. Zoe, however, is life for the spirit. It is not created life, but is the eternal life of God.
There is no other way, no other name, no other source for zoe life, under heaven, on earth or under this earth, except in and through Christ Jesus. No religion of this world, no matter how pious, sincere, powerful or wholesome, gracious or self-disciplining it may appear has the power or Divine authority to issue zoe to its follower. It is given by the grace of God the Father through the seed of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to whosoever will believe.
Life in Three Dimensions
|The following sections on Bios and Psyche love are quoted, by permission, from an article by James. R. Edwards.1 I found his description of life in the two dimensions of bios and psyche to be excellent. I will then resume discussion on the third dimension of Zoe love.Also please note that in the Greek the word psuche is used and not psyche as in Edward’s original article. Psuche is actually the root word for the English psyche, from which we get the term psychology. To be consistent throughout this article all references to this life uses the word psuche only.|
Bios: Life as Quantity
The first New Testament word for life is bios. This term best sums up our modern Western understanding of life, but it is the least important term in the New Testament. Bios always refers to life as quantity. It is the easiest kind of life to talk about because it is measurable.
Bios is life in its appearances and manifestations. It is “surface” life, although not necessarily superficial life. It is what we need to keep body and soul together, as we say, although it ultimately fails to do that. The New Testament does not demean bios, but unlike our materialistic West it does not look to it to answer the ultimate questions of life. From Matthew to Revelation there are but ten occurrences of the noun.
Bios often is simply a neutral designation for financial assets, capital, possessions, or property. The poor widow in Mark 12:44 who cast her two lepta into the temple treasury threw in her “whole life.” The woman with the hemorrhage who touched Jesus’ garment in Luke 8:43 is described as having exhausted her “whole life” on physicians. (Surely she was not the last to do so!) The father of the prodigal son divided his bios, his “life,” with his sons (Luke 15:12). Whoever has “the life of the world,” says 1 John 3:17, and hardens his heart in the face of human need cannot say he has the love of God. Finally, Christians are told to pray that they might lead “a quiet and sober life” (1 Tim. 2:2), and soldiers are warned not to get distracted from duty by “daily life” (2 Tim. 2:4).
In each of these passages the word for life is bios, and in none of them is there anything wrong with it. We are not told that bios is bad or unspiritual, or that believers should do without it. Like other creatures, human beings must participate in the quest for food, shelter, comfort and freedom from threats to their existence. That is bios. But equally so, the New Testament does not consider these things “life”. They may create the conditions for life, but they are not life. Bios is to an individual what public works are to a community; police forces and fire departments are necessary, of course, but they do not usually count among the things that produce a “quality of life” in a given community.
In isolated instances, however, bios is used negatively in the New Testament. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus speaks of being “choked by the pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14). In 1 John there is a distinct warning: “Because everything in the world, the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world” (2:16). The word for pride in Greek, alazoneia, means pretense, boasting, or gloating in material things, and becomes a clear admonition against the seduction and pursuit of worldliness.
When I was a graduate student, I bought my first life insurance policy. The insurance agent asked, “How much are you worth?” I balked at the question because it seemed to reduce my life to a matter of dollars and cents in a bank account. Forbes magazine annually lists the 500 wealthiest individuals and corporations in America. Their names appear solely on the basis of their material assets. How they achieved their fortunes, the value and quality of the goods and services they rendered, or how their profits are spent—these are not mentioned.
We judge entire nations by their gross national product, without consideration of the kind of people who live there, or the customs and values they hold. Colleges accept students on the basis of grade point averages and college entrance examination scores, and coaches recruit players by the average number of points per game. We often hear it said of someone who died relatively young that his or her life was “cut short”—as though the meaning of life depended on its duration.
This mentality often can be seen in Americans traveling abroad. Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, I was frequently in East Germany. The drabness and disrepair of the country usually left Americans depressed. But what Americans found depressing was generally only the exterior of the country, its bios. When they got to know the people, and particularly Christians, they usually discovered a strength of character, an uncanny wisdom, and, perhaps most surprising, an indomitable sense of humor—all quite contrary to the gray Communist environment. Bios alone was a poor judge of the society.
The rule of bios is that “more is better.” More pies, better mom; more wins, better coach; higher grades, brighter student; more degrees, more qualified applicant; more friends, better person; bigger church, better minister; more publications, better professor; more votes, better candidate; and above all, more money, more success.
There is an entire book of the Bible dedicated to the problem of bios. Its author simply calls himself Qoheleth, “the Preacher,” or Ecclesiastes in English. The Preacher is plagued by the ambitions of life, the striving after pleasure, wealth, fame, success. They are all futile, he maintains, because the sword of death hangs over life and eventually renders all human accomplishments meaningless.
Ecclesiastes has touched the weakness of bios, for its enemy is time. Someday our youthful figures will be lost, our energies will fade, our terms in office will expire, our books will go out of print, our savings and fortunes will vanish at death—if not by taxes, inflation and inheritances beforehand.
Not frequently God is referred to as the one “who does not look on the face of things.” God, in other words, is impartial and does not judge by external or superficial appearances. If we know anything about God, we know that God does not judge us by “how much we are worth,” to quote the insurance agent. God knows our hearts, God judges not by what we have but by who we are. As soon as we say this, we are beyond the realm of bios and into the more important area of life as character, life as a psuche, which will be considered next.
Given the glut of Western materialism, it may be that people will be increasingly attracted to the reserve and balance of the New Testament view of bios. The things of the world and its quantitative judgments are presented neither as status nor standards of judgment in the New Testament. Such things did not furnish a norm of human value, nor were they the frantic chase of existence that they become for us. The New Testament agrees that we cannot live without bios, but it also warns that we ought not live for it. Bios is simply one part of life, like individual talents and abilities, to be made available for God’s purposes. The story of Barnabas selling a field and bringing the proceeds to the apostles for distribution to the needy typifies the early Church’s attitude toward bios: it is God’s possession, of which we are but stewards.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Ps. 24:1). That truth is easy to forget as we watch television, walk through shopping malls, and leaf through catalogs that come in the mail. We have managed to make ourselves quite comfortable in our earthly sojourn.
In the final analysis the definitive model of bios is the Incarnation. The Word of God chose to dwell in the body and person of Jesus who grew up in Nazareth and made a living as a laborer, and who later moved to Capernaum, called a few followers, healed the sick, preached to large crowds, and so forth. These are descriptions of bios, but they were not the end or the purpose of the Incarnation. They were the means by which the Word of God came to expression and could be apprehended. And so should bios be for us. The Incarnation is the definitive model for our bios, in which Christ would be reflected and through which He would be visible.
Psuche: Life as Quality
The Greek language had other and more important words for life besides bios. One of them was psuche, from which we get the word “psychology.” For each occurrence of bios there are ten of psuche. Psuche is important because it characterizes life, whereas bios simply describes it. Psuche is about the quiddity (inherent nature) of life, about its essence rather than its attendant facts, its true nature instead of its accidental properties. Bios is something one has, but psuche is something one is.
If bios asks, “How much?” psuche asks, “How well?” We learn bios by reading job applications, resumes and obituary columns, but psuche is found in graduation speeches, locker room pep talks, the words of a family at a hospital bedside, wedding vows, and poetry. Bios is the kind of life people strive for in their wage-earning years; psuche is the life displayed by children and the elderly. Psuche is about the inner life of thinking, feeling, willing and choosing that is epitomized by “heart” and “soul.” Psuche is the life of goals, values and commitments—the qualities that constitute character and personhood. If bios is counting the years, psuche is making the years count.
Psuche is an invisible and immeasurable element that, though difficult to describe, is essential to quality. It may be something we recognize without the need or even ability to explain, like the difference between a delightful fragrance and an unpleasant odor, or between art and obscenity. If we can avoid its morbid connotations, death illustrates our point. Imagine a corpse lying in a coffin, a body that looks so much like the person you once knew that you might say it is “sleeping.” But it is not sleeping. It is no longer a person. It lacks that intangible but essential element, “the breath of life.” The Hebrews spoke of this as nephesh, sometimes translated “spirit;” or as lev, the “heart.” The Greeks called it psuche. It is epitomized in Genesis 2:7, the Greek translation of which reads: “And God formed the human being from the dust of the earth and breathed upon his face the breath of life, and the human being became a living person [psuche].”
Jesus said that “life [psuche] is more than food, and the body more than clothing” (Matt. 6:25). Psuche, in other words, is always more than bios. People refuse to live at the level of bios alone; they inevitably search for meaning. Victor Frankl, a young Viennese psychologist, was deported along with his bride of six months to Auschwitz during the Second World War. His wife perished in the gas chambers the day they arrived. Frankl was consigned to a barracks. Withered by work, deprived of food, clothing, warmth, and space, he saw life degenerate to a savage struggle for survival. But Frankl discovered that even in a concentration camp most people choose life over death. They choose to hope rather than despair, to carry on, to remember the past, to find a way to the future. Those who failed to choose simply died. But survivors found some means to aid them—a photograph hidden under a straw mat, remembrance of a beautiful scene or act of kindness, a memento from a loved one, a verse from the Bible. Often the spark of life was sustained by intangibles. That became Frankl’s message to the world: if people could find a reason to live in Auschwitz, they can find a reason to live in any circumstance. (See Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.)
Most people would sooner part with bios than psuche. They would rather be relieved of their goods, sometimes even life itself, than to be shamed and dishonored, for example. The will to live precedes the means to live; it takes something at the level of psuche to sustain life at the level of bios. This is evident in nature itself. A baby bird falls from its nest. A child takes it home, feeds and waters it, and provides for its biological needs, only to watch it die. Something that the parent bird gives is more important for survival than material provisions. And what is true of animals is even truer of humans. Most of us have known someone dying of cancer, for example, who willed the prolongation of life in order to celebrate a graduation or wedding of a loved one, after which they died.
Nowhere is the power of psuche stronger than in children. There is a book of art from the concentration camp at Teresienstadt in Czechoslovakia by children who knew they were dying. On scraps of paper and rags they drew pictures of flowers and green fields, houses with fires in the hearth, blue skies and sunlight, and rainbows. Amidst gruesome bios, the psuche of the children in Teresienstadt broke through in bold color.
As a professor, I see something similar emerge from a generation of older students returning to college to complete their education. From age 25 to 75, many from broken homes, broken marriages, broken careers, broken self-images, they struggle against great obstacles “to make something of their lives.”
This defining element of life is psuche. I mentioned that time is the enemy of bios. The enemies of psuche, however, are things like complacency, indifference, apathy, or busyness. Muscles do not develop without resistance, and neither does character develop apart from trials. Trials do not automatically build character, of course; it depends on our response to them. For most of us, the important breakthroughs in self-awareness and gains in character came at points of hardship. The same is true for those individuals who claim your respect as mentors and models: they are usually people who have known adversity and suffering. The poet was right, “Whoso suffers most hath most to give.”
It is our psuche or soul, to use a spiritual term, the command center of personhood, that God wills to claim and transform. The gospel of course makes any number of claims on our bios—our personal ethics, for example, or our use of time, money, or our treatment of the poor. But the fundamental claim of the gospel is on our psuche, from which everything else flows. “The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good…for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). If the tree is God’s, the fruit will be also. Our psuche is the greatest gift we have to give God, and ultimately the only gift God will accept. If we do not give God who we are, God will not accept what we have. No amount of bios can compensate for the surrender of psuche.
Often we must part with one thing in order to gain another. So it is with psuche. The only way we can preserve it is to surrender it to God. “Whoever would save his psuche will lose it,” said Jesus, “but whoever would lose his psuche for Me and the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:35). Indeed, only in the surrender of psuche are we granted a greater life, the life of God, zoe. “Whoever loves his life [psuche] loses it,” said Jesus, “and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it to eternal life [zoe]” (John 12:25). God is not unlike a parent trying to teach a child to ride a bicycle. The training wheels that once helped a child stay upright in time frustrate and hinder the child’s progress in riding. The parent must then take a wrench and remove them. It is an awkward and sometimes fearful moment when the child loses the security of the training wheels in order to gain the freedom of a real bicycle.
We are not unlike children. We do not part easily with bios, and less so with psuche. But in adversity we learn what really matters in life. Alexander Solzhenitsyn said that it was in the Gulag, the Stalinist horror camps, that he learned the two most important lessons of life: what is in the heart of man, and the meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Have we not said, or heard others say, “I hope I never have to go through anything like that again, but I wouldn’t trade what I learned for the world?”
If we make life our chief goal it eludes us. Only if we lose it for something greater do we get it back. Like happiness, life does not come when we make it our main concern. The practice of hedonism (pursuit of pleasure, sensual self-indulgence) often shows that people who put happiness first end up unhappy. Happiness is a by-product of seeking something greater than itself. It is like looking for a faint star in the night sky. You often cannot see anything when you look at the place where the star is supposed to be. But move your eye a few degrees from the spot and you will see more than when you were looking directly at it. So it is with life. Only in the surrender of our psuche to Jesus Christ can we preserve it. Only in giving up what we have and what we are for what we might become do we receive, by God’s grace, the eternal life of zoe.
1 Credit for the preceding part of this article on bios and psuche life, is given to James R. Edwards, Ph.D, Bruner-Welch Professor Emeritus of Theology, Whitworth University, Spokane, WA, 404 W. Graves Road, Spokane, WA 99218.
Zoe: Life as Apotheosis [The highest or best, perfection]
We have thus far considered bios life as a quantity involving the most outward part of man, and psuche life as a quality involving an inward life. Bios life is what we have from birth. It sparks our passions for fulfilment of basic needs and desires. Psuche life is what we are or become since birth, the development and expression of our soul life as character, intellect, and emotions. This is the life Jesus referred to when He said to Nicodemus, “That which is born of flesh is flesh.” (Jn. 3:6) All mankind possess these two forms of life inherited from Adam. But then Jesus, speaking of a higher form of life, zoe, continued on to say, “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (3:6-7)
This apotheosis of life is zoe. This is life in its highest, its perfection, or the epitome of life. Zoe is also inherited, not from the seed of Adam, but from the divine spiritual seed of Christ. This is the sole intent of verses 12 and 13 of the opening chapter of John:
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Thus God the Father, Himself, is the ultimate source of zoe life passed on into the believer though His Son, Jesus Christ. Its seed bears a divine genetic code even as the seed of our natural parents contain our natural genetic code. In the entire Bible, this is the only life with which God the Father is identified. The Son of God, however, who totally identifies with this new race of people born of His seed, also possesses both bios and psuche life. He is both 100% God yet 100% man. In contemplating His pending crucifixion He says, “Now My soul (psuche) has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (Jn. 12:27) Jesus Christ, our Savior, then, now, and forever, wholly identifies with the believer, who are born of Adam, and by faith born again of Christ, and will be…resurrected as such in His present likeness. Glory!
Zoe life puts all life into a new perspective. The functions and purposes of bios and psuche are clearly seen and understood. They must, however, come under the prevailing life of zoe which brings unity or oneness with God. The bios and psuche life, corrupted since the fall of man (Adam) by extreme self-centeredness, must now be overshadowed and controlled by something far greater and eternal, even the spiritual qualities of zoe life.
The History of Life
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gn. 2:7)
Genesis 2 depicts God compacting the earth (Hebrew, adamah) into the form of a human (Hebrew, adam), and breathing the breath of life into Adam. Actually in the Hebrew, this word for life chayyim, is in the plural, lives. I believe this indicates all the life of mankind for all generations to come, was in Adam’s seed. The verse goes on to say that man became a living nephesh, or soul, equivalent to the Greek psuche. What was yet before Adam was an opportunity, a chance to enter by choice into life in a higher state, obtaining the life of God Himself. This zoe life was to be found in the Tree of Life. However, as the Genesis account renders, something entered into the heart of Adam and Eve disqualifying them from eating of the Tree of Life.
In the garden, Adam had no concern with time, a present enemy of man’s bios life. He simply existed in God’s presence. However, his psuche life also possessed that of being a moral being, able to decide for himself what to do or not to do and what to obey or not to obey. The sin of disobedience to God entered into his psuche life. Under Adam’s then present state, he did not want to venture into a new and higher life, zoe, which would bring him into greater unity with God and His will, purpose, and determination for his life. Instead, he yielded to the temptation for more freedom and independence in his current bios and psuche life—so he, with Eve, ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil—thus seeking to satisfy their own wills as opposed to the will of God, their creator. They believed the lie of Satan that in doing so they would become like God, yet independent of Him. They forfeited the opportunity to eat of the Tree of Life. At this point Adam and Eve were put out of the Garden of Eden so they could not even have access to the Tree of Life.
So the progeny of Adam, born of his seed, inherited the life he had after expulsion from the garden, never to be revisited. This includes all of mankind. And of this bios and psuche life, corrupted in the fall, he finds little consistency but great dichotomies in good and evil, love and hate, peace and turmoil, joy and sadness, pleasure and pain, life and death. However, also inherited was an innate awareness for the possibility of a greater life, a higher zoe life. He sees it as though afar, and may attempt to attain it through every natural and (ungodly) spiritual source available to him, but to no avail. All kinds of religions, sects, movements, psychological and philosophical schemes are attempts to emulate or achieve zoe life. In the end, all these attempts far short of the glory of God. They all fail to bring zoe life. Man stands in desperate need of a Savior for a second opportunity to eat of that eternal fruit of the Tree of (zoe) Life.
The Second and Final Opportunity
“For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 1:11-12)
The gospel, the “good news,” (literally “God’s good news”) is the divine proclamation to a hopeless world for a second opportunity to eat of that “Tree of (zoe) Life,” which is Christ Himself. It is precisely this second opportunity, to receive zoe life now in Christ Jesus, that is proclaimed throughout the New Testament. Through obedience to the divine will of the Father, the Son of God gained for mankind the opportunity lost through Adam’s disobedience: “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” (Rm. 5:19)
The zoe life of God is uniquely present and active in the Son of God. And, it will likewise be present and active in those who receive the seed of zoe of the Son. As it is written,
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Jn. 1:12-13) And,
“This is the testimony,” declares 1 John, “that God gave to us eternal life (zoe), and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has this life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have this life.” (5:11-12)
“Born of God,” “eternal life,”—what a marvelous truth has the Word of God.
The Present Reality of Zoe
Consider now the meaning of the verses:
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life,” (Rm. 6:4) and,
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
The life spoken of in both verses is zoe, that is eternal life, God’s own life. And this life begins to take effect not after death, not after the Second Coming of Christ, not in any future time dimension, but already in this lifetime. This life supersedes and is far superior to bios and psuche life. It is life emanating in and through the spirit of the Christian, which is now the abode and life expression of the Holy Spirit. (Rm. 8:9)
These verses also clearly state that if one has the inward abiding life of Christ, he is a new man. Old things have passed away. The soul of man is no longer under the control of his fallen and feeble bios and psuche life (more commonly referred to in scriptures as “the flesh”). A new life now surges through the believer. A life in union with God, that seeks to know God in greater dimensions, and to know His nature as well. Note: It is not know of His nature, but to experientially know His nature.
“This is eternal life, that they may know (experientially) You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (Jn. 17:3)
In this present lifetime, the fallen nature of bios and psuche life, the “flesh,” is at odds with and wars against this new zoe life. (Gal. 5:17) As in the day of Adam, the flesh continues to seek complacency and disobedience to the will of God. Self-centeredness is paramount. “The woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise.” (Gn. 3:6) Regardless of the admonition of God, “…she took of the fruit and ate. She also gave her husband with her, and he ate.” This whole act of willful disobedience centered on the base desires of bios for the outward man and psuche for the inward man without respect or submission to the desire or heart of God. The “flesh” no longer needs to control or dominate the life of the believer. Its reign is over.
Consider now the following encouragement and admonition from 1 John:
“…but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 Jn. 2:5-6)
“The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 Jn. 2:10-11)
Zoe is not a theological or philosophical thought or some pie-in-the-sky theory. It is the practical, life changing, mind transforming reality of “apotheosis” life—the highest, most perfect life birthed by the Spirit into the heart of man. It is life in abundance. A literal translation of John 10:10 will read, “I came that they [believers] may have [continuous]life and have it abundantly [exceeding expectations].
Battles and the War
Battles between the zoe life and the “flesh” are fought daily. Once again, the “flesh” may be considered the base and self-aggrandizing desires of bios and psuche life. Victory comes only by faith in the truth of the word of God and as it is inwrought into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. But this struggle will not always be. The final battle will be fought and the war will be finalized and won. For in the resurrection these bodies will resurrect into the likeness of Christ (1 Jn. 3:2) and the final redemption will be complete, body, soul, and spirit. The nature of the fallen flesh will be put to its final rest. Zoe life prevails in the heart of man. In the beginning, man was designed to be body, soul, and spirit, and he will always be body, soul, and spirit, even as Jesus Christ is and always will be body, soul, and spirit. The life of bios will follow into eternity as well as psuche. It has always been God’s intent for man to enjoy life in these three dimensions and to have the greatest of these, his zoe life, predominate. For it is in this life that he will live on a redeemed earth, in communion with others of the family of God, and in fellowship with God and our Lord Jesus in oneness, in likeness, and in love….for eternity.
As a final word, may I say my love for the writings of the apostle John is beyond measure. It is in his anointed Gospel and letters that I am introduced to Christ Jesus in a personal relationship, and expresses itself in the fullness of love, unity, and life. All three expressions of this relationship, love, unity, and life, are not of this world, nor can they be. They are birthed of the Holy Spirit within the heart. Thus, they are of the spirit, and therefore supernatural. One of this world only can never know such a relationship with God. It is as John recorded,
“…Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)
This “living water” of which Jesus spoke is truly an outflow of Godliness in word and deed—what we say and what we do. One’s new walk of life is flooded with this outflow of living water. One must know (experientially), beyond any shadow of doubt, he or she has received this zoe life from the deposit of the seed of Christ in his or her heart. Such a life cannot be produced by one’s self efforts, determination, resolutions, or religious practices, it may only be reproduced as the life of Christ within.
I will close presenting the following inspired words from the first letter of John to meditate upon as the truth of God’s word for all mankind:
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”(1 Jn. 4:15-16)
“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” (1 Jn. 3:9-10)
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” (1 Jn. 5:11-12)
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”(1 Jn. 5:13)
“Lord, we pray only for spiritual reality. Please deliver us from all outward forms of religion and religious practices. The words expressed here cannot be denied, except by those perishing in unbelief. May we be not unbelieving but believing, full of faith, apprehending and appropriating the reality of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, neglecting not the smallest detail of that life. As You have resurrected from the grave in the fullness of that eternal life in body, soul, and spirit, now we ask that Your seed finds a fertile heart in which to grow and mature. Lord, we pray that the knowledge we now possess not only renew our mind with such Godly thoughts and words of insight, but manifests the reality of the living Word as fruit, bearing Your righteousness, in all our conduct and deeds, in some measurable degree towards the stature of the fullness of Christ. Amen.”