With this message we begin a series of messages on the saving life of Christ. Romans 5:10 says, “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved in His life.” Christians have devoted a great deal of attention to the death of Christ, but not much attention to Christ’s life. We may know the term the life of Christ, and we may be familiar with the verses in the Gospel of John where the Lord says that He is life and that He has come that we might have life more abundantly (John 11:25; 10:10). Nevertheless, we must admit that we are short of the genuine experience of life.
The divine revelation in the holy Word is progressive. Hence, although the Gospel of John is wonderful, it does not contain the ultimate revelation. After John and the Acts, we have the Epistles, which are a progression from the Gospels. The seeds sown in the Old Testament sprout in the Gospels, but they grow and develop further in the Epistles. The harvest of all the seeds, of course, is in the book of Revelation. The seed of life is sown in Genesis 2, in the word regarding the tree of life. Life there refers neither to the physical life (bios) nor to the soulish or psychological life (psuche) but to the divine life, the life of God (zoe).If we had only the second chapter of Genesis, it would be difficult to understand what life is. Psalms 36:9 reveals more concerning life: “For with thee is the fountain of life.” This indicates that God, the Triune God, is the fountain of life. Chapter one of John reveals that life is in the Word, that is, in Christ (John 1:1, 4). When the Lord Jesus came forth to minister, He said clearly that He is life (John 11:25; 14:6). According to the revelation of John’s Gospel, life is a living person, Christ, who is the very embodiment of God. Thus, the book of John is a book of life. Life sprouts in this Gospel.
We see the growth of the sprout in Romans. In John 15 the Lord Jesus tells us to abide in Him. However, as we pointed out in the foregoing message, the way to abide in Christ is found not in John 15 but in Romans 8. Romans 8 reveals that Christ today is the Spirit of life. As the Spirit of life, He is in our spirit. Hence, the spirit in this chapter is the mingled spirit, the divine Spirit mingled with the human spirit. In order to abide in Him, we need to set our mind, which represents our whole being, on the mingled spirit. The result is life and peace. Therefore, Romans 8 is necessary in order to have the realization of John 15 in a practical way. To have John 15 without Romans 8 is to have the sprout without the growth.
In the same principle, many other wonderful aspects of life found in the Gospel of John are developed in the book of Romans. In John we have a vision of life; however, this Gospel does not give us the definite way to experience this life. For this, we need the book of Romans. In Romans life is unveiled in such a way that we can not only know life but also experience it.
In 1:16 Paul says that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes. Then in the next verse he says, “For the righteousness of God is revealed in it out of faith to faith: as it is written, But the just shall live by faith.” God’s salvation is by justification out of faith. Although all Christians have heard this, most have missed the ultimate point in this chapter. This matter is not salvation nor justification nor faith. It is life. Notice that 1:17 says that the just shall live by faith. This verse can also be translated, “The just shall have life by faith.” Therefore, the best way to grasp the full meaning here is to say, “The just shall have life and live by faith.”
God has saved us and justified us so that we may have life. Justification results in life. Hence, in 5:18 Paul speaks of the “justification of life.” God’s justification of us in Christ is of life. Justification results in life. God’s purpose in justifying us is to enable us to enjoy His life. Adam in Genesis 2 did not need justification because at that time sin had not come in. Man lived in innocence before God. Because of Adam’s fall and his involvement with sin, the way to the tree of life was closed (Gen. 3:24) until the Lord Jesus died on the cross to fulfill God’s righteous requirements. Christ is our righteousness. When we believe in Him, He becomes righteousness to us, and we are justified by God. Through this justification we are brought back to the tree of life. Therefore, justification is of life, for life, and results in life.
Many Christians concentrate on the matter of justification but neglect the matter of life. Therefore, we need to emphasize one phrase in 5:18—justification of life. The key word here is “life.” Justification is not an end in itself; justification is for life. Have you been justified by faith in Christ? If you have, then you should strongly proclaim that your justification is for life. The just shall have life and live by faith.
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