A very wonderful possibility opens up before us in a consideration of the nature of the Victorious Life.
Surely our hearts are stirred with new longing and desire as we contemplate the plan of our Lord Jesus Christ for each of His followers to be a centre of radiating life and power — a witness to His own Life and Victory.
But the question will intrude itself. Can such life be maintained? Is such a life reasonably within the bounds of possibility, not merely at a time of spiritual uplift as at some convention or other, but day in and day out as I go back to the ordinary daily tasks? Will it continue? Such a question has to do with resources of the victorious life. What are the resources? Are they likely to fail? Are they such as to assure constancy?
There are many voices which speak here. Perhaps I am bewildered by the many explanations and definitions of the means and methods of obtaining and maintaining a life of victory. Perhaps I am tempted to despair and say, “This is not for me. I cannot understand it all.” A simple illustration may help us. I decide to send my soiled collars to a Model Laundry to be cleaned. In simple faith in the good name of the laundry, I send them soiled and crumpled. They come back to me satisfactorily cleaned and ironed. That is all I need and I am satisfied. But later I come to know the proprietor of the laundry and one day he takes me over his great plant. He shows me first one process and then another. He explains the various methods by which individuality is guarded, washing, starching, ironing, packing, etc., and I am amazed as I discover what provision has been made to ensure satisfaction. I cannot understand all the machinery nor all the processes. I continue to send my collars. Whether I understand all the processes or not does not matter. All I do is to fulfil the simple conditions and to enjoy the results. So it is in the Victorious Life.
The resources of the Victorious Life may be summed up in just one word — CHRIST. The resources of the Victorious Life ARE Jesus Christ our Lord. Is that all? Yes, that is all. I remind you that “Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, and to-day and forever” [Heb 13:8] — therefore these Resources will never fail. The maintenance of a life of victory is possible to every believing child of God. If only we would simply “posses our possessions”!
We shall therefore consider first:
I. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AS THE ADEQUATE AND FINAL RESOURCE OF THE VICTORIOUS LIFE.
This is discovered to us in various ways. There is first of all:
Several groups of passages in the Gospel of John reveal the fact that our Lord Jesus meant His followers to understand that He Himself was to be their life; not merely the way to life but life itself for them. Consider the great discourse of the bread of life in the 6th chapter of John. Look at verses 35, 48, 53, 56 and 57. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; He that cometh to me shall never thirst.” “I am the bread of life.” “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him.” “As the living Father sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me shall live by me.”
He is simply saying that as we partake of the bread which by various processes becomes our very life and is transformed into energy and action, so He Himself APPROPRIATED by faith becomes our very life and through us lives, energising us in all our activities and functions of life. Look again at the second group-John 10:10 and John 14:6. “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” “I am the … life.” Here is a further emphasis upon the fact that He Himself does not simply have life but is life and, further, that His purpose is for us to have His own life in all its abundance in ourselves.
Now turn to the third group — John 4:14 and John 7:37-39. “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me as the Scripture hath said, out of his (inmost being) shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should recieve: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given: because Jesus was not yet glorified.” We shall not dwell at length on these passages at present.
But just note this. In both passages Jesus promised that which was to be the source of perennial life. The explanation given by John in Chapter 7:39 reveals that He was speaking of the Holy Spirit Who is Life — the Life of God in the soul, the means of the realization of Christ Himself in the life of men.
Now one other group in the teaching of Christ — John 15:1, 4-5. “I am the true Vine and my Father is the husbandman.” “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.”
The picture is very beautiful. That hidden flow of life, up from the roots out to the branches — all one life. You cannot separate it. The branches and the vine are one. Leaves and fruit appearing on the branches are the product of the life of the vine.
Again, Christ is declaring that He Himself is the Source as He is the Resource of life. He is plainly showing one that the Victorious Life is just His own life. He Himself is the adequate Resource of the Victorious Life. Turn next to:
(a) Paul. Gal. 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Eph. 3:17. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” Phil. 1:21. “For me to live is Christ.” Col. 2:4. “Christ Who is our life.”
Have you pondered these verses? Do you know their meaning? It seems clear to me that they can only mean this — Christ Jesus Himself living in the believer is his life of victory. I am not to seek ways and means of such a life.
Christ Himself depended upon God simply by faith. He Himself exercising that faith in me is my final and sufficient resource in this life of victory. How simple and yet how real! Doing all the details of my daily duty from morning to evening in a silent, quiet dependence upon Christ in my thought life and activities. “For me to live is Christ.” That Resource can never fail.
Now what does John say? 1 John 1:2: “For the life was manifested and we have seen (it) and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life. Which was with the Father, and was manifested to you.” 1 John 2:24: “Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye shall continue in the Son and in the Father.” 1 John 5:11-13: “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
These passages unmistakably point to the fact of Christ as our life. In possessing Him, we possess life. As in the Spring the life manifests itself in flower and tree, so He, our Life longs to so manifest Himself through us. Our resource is the Life itself and this can never fail.
Part 1 of 3
Originally published by European Christian Mission, Lancs., England (Heightside Press).
Part 1-3 are at GraceNotebook.com > classics
Scripture quotations: K.J.V.