I encouraged us last time to arise, take up our bed and walk—to prophesy to our own “dead bones” and live as we enter into a new season. I thought it would be good to review what this means. It has very much to do with the promise of life to us found in Jesus Christ, available to us 24/7. We cannot afford to let circumstances dictate our quality of life, for our life is Christ’s very own life-flow to us and through us. This is the Gospel—the good news that brings great joy! But if we don’t understand this, it won’t bring us the joy intended.
I love how Paul begins his letters. They often have more theology in the greetings than we hear from the ponderous tomes of academics. The beginning of his second letter to his protégé and spiritual son, Timothy, is no exception. I think the Passion Translation articulates this salutation the best:
1 From Paul, an apostle of Jesus the Messiah, appointed by God’s pleasure to announce the wonderful promise of life found in Jesus, the anointed Messiah.
2 My beloved son, I pray for a greater release of God’s grace, love, and total well-being to flow into your life from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ! (2 Tim.1:1-2 TPT)
We often skip right through these introductions but they’re so full of life! Paul starts by describing that he has the best assignment in the world! That it was God’s delight to have him “announce the wonderful promise of life found in Jesus, the anointed Messiah.”
Paul is saying that this wonderful promise is found in Christ’s own life. This is eternal life, but not as many suppose. Scripture is clear: eternal life is found in experientially knowing the Father in Christ.
3 Eternal life means to know and experience you
as the only true God,
and to know and experience Jesus Christ,
as the Son whom you have sent. (John 17:3 TPT*)
Eternal life is Christ’s very life. It’s not as much about the quantity of life, that we live forever, as it is about the quality of life, that we experience God’s own life forever.
Religion, on the other hand, is about following ritualistic systems to assuage your guilt through some form of sacrifice to a distant and separate deity. We invented religion, but we had absolutely no mental grid to invent this, or even anticipate it! That’s why Paul called it a hidden mystery—Christ in you the hope of glory (Col.1:27).
Eternal life is experiencing the life of the One who holds our molecules together at this very moment—it’s THIS life, His life, 24/7, everyday, forever.
16 for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Col.1:16-17 NASB*)
10 And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. (Col.2:10a AMP*)
This is why Jesus is the way to this Life, and the truth about God and about us.
6 Jesus explained, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life. No one comes next to the Father except through union with me. To know me is to know my Father too. (John 14:6 TPT*)
This is also why the question of which religion is the right one is irrelevant; it misses the whole point. As Robert Capon joyfully stated, “Christianity is not a religion; it is the announcement of the end of religion.”
This is the good news that brings great joy! We don’t have to invite God into our beggarly and fickle lives through tiresome religious rituals that only keep us separated and full of condemnation; He’s invited us into His open and spacious life! Our part is to open our heart to believe and receive His grace through faith (Rom.10:10; Eph.2:8). When we do, we are transfigured!
Eternal life is Christ’s life-flow to us and through us as we open our hearts to receive it (the heart is the gatekeeper to everything with God), which brings “grace, love, and total well-being” to our soul. But more than that, it transforms our soul and makes us like Him!
We know this practically from the fruit of the experience that flows out from our lives—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal.5:22-23). Religion (both sacred and secular versions) attempts to attain these behavioral qualities through self-effort. (How’s that working for you!)
This is another reason why we need to understand that the Gospel is more than just an argument we agree to—like checking a box and waiting for heaven. Rather, it’s an invitation to continually “participate in the divine nature” (2 Pet.1:4).
This Eternal Life Flow is the joyful promise of our heavenly Father through Christ. And He waits for our response. This was Paul’s prayer for Timothy; it’s my prayer for us, too. There’s no better time than today, and every moment of every other day, to respond to this wonderful invitation!
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt.11:28-30 MSG)