IN an earlier article, we spoke of how men look everywhere for life and few find it. It is possible for one to search the Scriptures and not know the life presented there. The reason is stated by our Lord: “[Ye] search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life” (John 5:39-40).
The true and eternal life—which is the only worthwhile ideal of life—is not found in a philosophy or a principle but in a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He expressly declared: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). God is the One Source of life, and Christ is the only way to God. He further declared: “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent” (John 17:3). He came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly (John 10:10). The book of John was written in order that, believing in Christ, we might have life through His name (John 20:31).
This means far more than that Jesus Christ preached eternal life or gave a philosophy or even lived it. It means that the very life of God—not that physical existence which we all share, but the eternal life by which God lives—was incarnate in Christ and through Him is communicable to us. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). If He were only a teacher of life, we would still be in our hopeless condition. But He embodied the life He taught, and we through faith in Him can share in it.
Even this is not enough—that He was that life incarnate, the Word made flesh, God with us. It was necessary for Him to die as a man that His life might be available to all men! In the twelfth chapter of John, He emphasizes that. Certain Greeks had come to see Him (John 12:20)—doubtless, men of a philosophical mind—who hoped to find in His teaching an “open sesame” to truth and life, but the Lord Jesus, when notified of their presence, began at once to speak of His approaching death (vv. 23-33). Here lies a profound truth: Sin has cursed the human race, and sin hinders men from knowing life, so that the natural man cannot receive life or the truth about it. But the Lord Jesus Christ met the problem of sin for us, although He knew no sin. For as Moses lifted up the serpent that men might have life for a look, even so was Christ lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish but have eternal life (John 3:14-16).
Of course, such a truth involves great mysteries. It is the fashion of the times to sneer at the idea that any one person has ever known, to say nothing of his having been, the secret of life eternal! So men still chase speculations and vain philosophies. And they will not come unto Him that they might have life.
Colossians 3:4 calls Christ “our life.” When we believe in Him and yield ourselves to Him, God gives us a new and eternal life which is His own shared with us. It is not merely that we set out to live like Jesus. No, He becomes our very life, so that we can say “to me to live is Christ,” not simply “like Christ” nor “for Christ.” He is life itself. We are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4) and, therefore, of the divine life.