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By What Do You Live?

By What Do You Live?

     On the surface, this may seem to be a bit of an odd question. When a question such as this is asked, the majority of folks will consider physical life and the things we need to sustain life, such as oxygen, food, and the things the body cannot do without and still function. But when we consider the Words of Jesus from Matthew 22:32, we must realize Jesus was speaking of something other than physical life. He repeated what God said: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.   

     This was a bit of a rebuke to the Sadducees which did not believe in the fact that one does not cease to exist upon death.   To “tempt” Jesus, they offered a situation which would require Jesus to “weigh in” on the idea of resurrection.    Even the Sadducees would concede that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had passed from this life. In the scenario they presented, they were mocking the idea of resurrection.   Jesus set them straight immediately!   How did He do this?   He challenged their knowledge of the Law. In Matthew 22:29-30 He told them of their fallacy, then clearly advocated the resurrection.   Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 

     It is interesting to me how Christ not only answered their question, but also set them straight on another area in which they were erring.   The Sadducees also did not believe in angels per Acts 23:8. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.  So, what is it that caused Christ to refer to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as living, since all three had long since ceased to draw breath on the earth?

     Jesus had answered this question as well, and He did so before it was asked. In His answer in verse 29, Jesus alluded to the power of God. Could this be the source of life? Most would readily agree with this since God created all things, including life. But this only addresses physical life.   Abraham, His son and grandsons had already departed that phase of existence.   Christ referenced the “scriptures” and “the power of God”. This is indeed the source of “spiritual life”

     Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had followed God’s instructions, desiring to be with God after life on the earth was finished. Three times in the N.T. Abraham is put forth as an example as he “believed God, and it was accounted (or imputed) unto him for righteousness”. (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; & James 2:23)      And, so none could misconstrue this, James 2:24 shows that works also have a part in this relationship with God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  I submit that Abraham and the others mentioned live (presently in a spiritual state) because they not only knew, but believed, and DID what God said to do.  

     When the devil came and tempted Jesus, we are told Jesus was hungry.   We know that food is required to sustain life.   But what was Jesus’ response when the devil tempted the Christ to turn stones into bread?   The Matthew 4:4 account shows what it is that man is to live by.   But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.   In the gospel of John, chapter 4:31-34, as the Lord’s disciple’s brought food, (Jesus remaining by the well in Samaria), Christ revealed to them that He was sustained by doing the Work His Father had sent Him to do.   In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.    Later, in the latter part of John 10:10, Jesus revealed what the purpose of His Work was. . . . I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  He came to procure “life” for all that would “hear His voice (His Word) and follow Him.

     Remember how Christ told the Sadducees that they knew not the “scriptures” nor the “power of God”? In Romans 1:15-17 the Spirit had Paul direct the Christians in Rome regarding the power of God and the source of life – everlasting life. He would preach it to them and all who would listen so they could have that life. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  Where does faith originate?  The answer to this is supplied by Romans 10:17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God

   So, how does this work?   In Galatians 2:20, Paul was directed by the Spirit to reveal this to the church there.   I am 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.    Christ died on the cross so we could have life.   One is “crucified” with Christ when they are baptized into Christ and die to sin. Then they are risen to walk in “newness of life”. Where does life originate? With God and His Word.   Follow God’s Word, obey it and live by it. By What Do You Live?     You must live by Faith if you will live forever.

                           Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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