How Christ Lived

We continue our theme of Jesus Christ as our perfect example. Jesus not only exemplified the ideal standards of motive, words and deeds, He also exemplified the dynamic of HOW God intends for His people to live. As Ian Thomas has written,

“Now if it is true that he Lord Jesus Christ will live His life through you on earth today, as He lived His life in His own body on earth more than nineteen hundred years ago, it is both interesting and necessary to discover HOW He lived THEN, so that you may know HOW He will live through you NOW.” [1]

Notice three principles regarding the dynamic of Christ’s earthly life:

1. Christ’s perfect human life was a testimony of God the Father expressing Himself through His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said,”Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. (John 14:10). “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”(Hebrews 9:14).

2. Christ modeled full surrender to the Father’s will.

“Then I said, `Behold, I have come–In the volume of the book it is written of Me–To do Your will, O God.’ ” (Hebrews 10:7). “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him. ” (John 8:29).

3. Christ modeled complete dependence on the Father through the Holy Spirit.

” Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19). ” Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.'”(John 8:28).

Since Jesus is the Son of God, we might assume that He would act according to His OWN intentions (wouldn’t they be sinless?). He could have been described in terms of carrying out His OWN will (wouldn’t it be sovereign?) Hypothetically, He could have depended on His OWN divine power (Isn’t He omnipotent?). Yet that would not have fulfilled the divine plan for Christ to model perfect human life en route to the Cross. As He said to John at His baptism, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. ” (Matthew 3:15).

There is a profound parallel in how Christ lived on earth and how the believer should live the Christian life: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me'” (Matt. 16:24). Therefore, in your discipleship journey:

  • Cooperate with God as He expresses Himself through you.
  • Fully surrender to God’s will for your life.
  • Completely depend on the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Father, we are so grateful that Christ was willing to lay aside the use of His own divine attributes during His earthly ministry to demonstrate how human life should be lived for Your glory. How amazing is the condescending love that led Him to die the horrible death on Calvary to redeem us from our sins. Give us illumination to daily abide in Christ so that Your life and will may be consistently expressed through us. In Christ’s matchless name, amen.

2nd edition.

[1] Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ (Zondervan) p.16. See PDF summary.

Copyright 1998 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Please credit

Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.


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