The Abundant Life

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior He places in us a new nature. The Apostle Paul refers this to be the new creature, the new self, and it is in opposition to the old nature, that sinful nature that is inherent in us. Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) It is not a physical rebirth but a new spiritual birth. This new nature is given to us at conversion and we must put it on that we may grow through the power of the Holy Spirit into the likeness of our Lord Jesus. “And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:24) This is how we can have life and live it abundantly by allowing the new nature of Christ to live through us. The god of this world seeks to destroy us but Jesus came that we could have life to the fullest. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Some see the abundant life through wealth and possessions and I am not saying that this could not be part of it. What I am saying is that God may bless you with wealth but we must remember that all the wealth we can gather is worthless once we leave this world. God will give us more than wealth, He will give purpose to our life, He will give us hope for an endless future, and He will do a work through us that will led to an eternal blessing of spiritual riches. What God will do through us is often far beyond our imagination and capability. It is exceeding abundancy. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

God does not require us to be poor, just to realize how impoverished we are in the spirit. Throughout the Bible we can read of those whom God has blessed materialistically. In the Book of Proverbs the Scripture reveal ways that we can become prosperous. What God is telling us is that the abundant life is the result of being made new. In the Scripture being prosperous is not a sign of abundant life. There are many in the Bible and throughout history that have had lives of great struggle and suffering, yet they lived the abundant life.

In Hebrews Chapter 11 known as the “heroes of faith hall of fame” highlights people of great faith and blessing. But many of them were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, and sawn in two. They were destitute, mistreated, and homeless. But the writer of Hebrews tell us that they were faithful to the Lord and the world was not worthy of these saints. Their faith approved them before God but they did not receive what was promised to them. To many this does not sound like abundant life. And to us we can see that they were not prosperous as the world gauges prosperous. Yet these people who struggled in this world through their faith in God all spoke of and experienced a deep seated joy. Jesus, God’s Son, endured the torture of the cross because of the joy that was set before Him. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

The Apostle Paul who suffered greatly to spread the gospel message to the Gentile world wrote much of the joy and peace in the midst of his own difficulties. Paul’s faith was in his Savior and found His grace more than sufficient for all his needs. He trusted Christ and the abundance of His riches in glory. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippines 4:19)

God can supply the eternal thangs that cannot be found at a Wal-Mart Super Center. In the midst of the trials and tribulations of this world we can have an abundance of peace beyond our own understanding. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7). Jesus told us that in this world we would have trials and tribulation. The god of this world we see to that. But these trials will strengthen our faith in Jesus and we will overcome. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) This is the way of this world sense the fall in the Garden of Eden that because of the curse of sin there will be the penalties of sin. It may seem unfair but the books will be justified in the end. If the world is cursed by the result of sin, then praise God because it is also blesses by the grace of God. “So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)

In truth some of the problems that Christians have come from our relationship with Jesus. Jesus warned us of this that because the world hates Him it will also hate us. “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) Yet we are in the hand of God and the world cannot take away our abundant life. It can take everything else, as with Job, but it cannot take our abundant life through Christ. The peace that we have through Jesus Christ is the greatest blessing that we could ever have. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)

You can tell when a person has been charged by the power of the Holy Spirit living through them. They are changed, they are not like the people of this world, but are as the people who are living in the Kingdom of God. They are, for they are His ambassadors. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) It can be seen individually and culturally. There is no warmer place than to be in the company of the brotherhood of Christ.

The Christian is the conduit of blessings from God. In that way God is able to bless others by His blessing to His children. When a child of God receives a blessing from God he is not to bury it as a hidden treasure but to bless others as he has been blessed. The Christian is to be pouring out upon others what God has poured out upon them. When the Lord blesses us our response should be to bless others Paul shares this promise with us. “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)

The abundant life is not about what we have or about what we get. Abundant life is not about what we claim. Abundant life is about what we have received from the Lord and to live as good stewards of His blessings. Good stewardship is not what we have but how we use what He has given. Perhaps the abundant life is how we have shared our life with others that they too may have the opportunity to receive the abundant life. When we share the blessings of God, mercy, peace, love, grace, wisdom, and etc., with others and actually live in them, that’s when we have abundant life through Christ. “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.” (2 Peter 1:10-11)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, April 19, 2017

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