Are you living a “pious” life or the life of Jesus?
We don’t need to wait until we get to heaven in order to partake of the life of Jesus.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:11, “For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal.” We don’t need to wait until we get to heaven in order to partake of the life of Jesus. But how big is the difference between someone who is living an ordinary life according to the law and someone who has the life of Jesus?
Piety by the law
The difference is as great as the heavens are above the earth. The first group live an earthly life and do their best to live by the law. And by living according to the law, they get an outer piety. They feel like they are better than other people. That also happened to the Jews. They got a better life in the natural and earthly things by keeping the law and commandments.
So, let’s say you talk to a generous person about becoming more generous, for example. If they are living according to the law and drawing nourishment from that, they might look at you and say in an offended tone, “Why are you talking like that to me? You don’t know how much I’ve given. You should know just how much I’ve given in my life. Talk about sufferings. You should know how much I’ve suffered. No one has suffered as much as I have!” And so on and so forth. This reaction is because their generosity is based on the law; they have come to a life, but it is their own life. They haven’t come to a new life with Christ and God; they haven’t come to the life of Jesus.
Partaking of the life of Jesus
But Paul says, we have to die. We must be “delivered to death for Jesus’ sake”. And to die to yourself is a totally different way that Jesus made for us. Instead of becoming big and strong through the law. We can feel that lust, that desire, to feel like we’re better than others and can do things better than others, and that has to be put to death. That is the death of Christ. The lust that is in our flesh, that wants to be somebody and wants something. That self-glorification and egotism. Jesus hated it. That is why we call it the death of Christ, or “the dying of the Lord Jesus,” because He was the first one to use it. (2 Corinthians 4:10.)
And after Jesus, Paul and the apostles and other believers came to an understanding of it. That through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can put to death sin in our body. “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died …” 2 Corinthians 5:14. And then when that temptation comes, you hate it, and you put it to death by the power of the Spirit.
Then you will live, and the life of Jesus comes forth more and more from your body, so that it can shine. That which was in the face of Jesus Christ can start radiating from you. (2 Corinthians 4:6.) It isn’t some crown on your head that is shining, but the virtues that are brought forth through your life. Then you will come to a new life and a tremendous blessing.
This article is based on a talk by Kaare J. Smith on March 30th, 2019.
You may be interested in reading more on our topic page about disciple life, or in these selected articles:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.