Life in This World: Only in Christ
In our series of articles on what Jesus and the Bible tell us about life in this world, we now want to focus specifically on what the Bible says about how live in the here and now.
We who were fallen “in” Adam (as our head), are now risen “in” Christ (as our new head; 1 Cor 15:21-22). To put it another way, when we abide in Christ, we are made alive together with Christ, are spiritually raised up with Him [in His Resurrection and Ascension], and spiritually made to sit with Him in the heavenly places (Eph 2:5-6). If this is true, and it is, what does that mean? Well, if we have been raised with Christ, then we must seek the things that are above, to set our minds on things above not on earth (Col 3:1-2). Start living in heaven now. Paul says to put to death what is earthly in us, such as immorality, our passions and vices, and to put on the new man (Col 3:5-17) – our new being now in Christ. To live like Christ, to live Jesus, is now the program for our lives. To become holy as God is holy. This is how we escape the corruption of this world and its passions, and so become partakers of, sharing in a communion of fellowship with, God (2 Pet 1:4; cf., Jn 1:12).
Let’s put it another way. Believers in Christ have received His Word (Jn 17:6-8, 14; Eph 1:13), and know that He was sent from God (Jn 17:25). We personally know God Himself (His Name), and Christ will continue to make the Father known (Jn 17:26; 16:12-15) so that the love the Father has for the Son (that is, the love which is the Holy Spirit) may be in us and Christ in us (Jn 17:26). The Holy Spirit, the Consoler, was sent to believers (Jn 16:7) initially at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4, 33) and now on an ongoing basis (Ro 5:5; Eph 1:13). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, we now share a oneness with Christ “even as” Christ and the Father are one (Jn 17:22-23). (Wow!) Again, this wonderful gift is our sharing in a communion of fellowship with God, a participation in God’s very divine nature (2 Pet 1:4) as His dearly beloved children (Jn 1:12).
As all this comes through Jesus Christ. A Christian’s confession of belief that Jesus is the Son of God is the basis of our entire Christian identity (Ac 8:36; Catechism 454). Thus Christ can say that whoever is ashamed of Him and His Words, that He will also be ashamed of that person when He returns (Lk 9:26). At the same time, if we are faithful to the truth of Christ, it is his victory over our enemy (the world, the flesh, and the devil) that now becomes our victory and enables us, by our abiding in Him, to conquer every evil (including all addictions!).
Scripture tells us the Kingdom of God is Christ Himself (Lk 11:20, 17:21), is present in one’s heart where Christ and His Spirit dwell (Eph 3:16-17; Lk 17:21), and is also in Christ’s Church – the mystical Body of Christ (Col 1:13; Heb 12:22-28) which is profoundly a heavenly reality, the fullest realization of the Kingdom (Rev 21-22). The Gospel and the mystery of Christ, hidden for ages before He came, is to be made known to all humanity (Eph 3:9). But also, through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God (through the mystery of Christ) is now being made known to the principalities and powers [angels/demons] in the heavenly places (Eph 3:10). Did you hear that? We, in the Church, living our lives in Christ, are revealing to the angelic/demonic powers the mystery of Christ. Is your life important? You bet – down to the smallest details.
Furthermore, living in Christ gives a supernatural dimension to our present struggles and sufferings in this world. St. Paul says what he suffers now is for the believers’ glory (Eph 3:13). He rejoices in his sufferings, offering them in union with Christ’s own afflictions, all for the sake of the Church, the Body of Christ (Col 1:24).
In summary, this is how we live in this fallen world: abiding in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, seeking to live with Him in the heavenly places even now, learning to allow His power to conquer the enemy in us and the world, and uniting all our sufferings to Christ’s for the sake of others, that all might become mature in Christ (Col 1:28).
Dibby Allan Green
Dibby Allan Green has a BA in Religious Studies (Westmont College, 1978) and MA in Theology (Augustine Institute, 2019), is a lay Catholic hermit, and a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.