What is the abundant life in Christ?
Written by Joseph Ho, 27th December 2014
Jesus promised that whoever comes to him and receives him will get the abundant life. Yet, I do not see all Christians being happy with peace, joy and happiness since they would all have received the abundant life. So, is it possible that they don’t know what this abundant life means, and because they don’t understand, therefore Jesus cannot give it to them? Even when Jesus gives the abundant life to them they may not want it since it is different than what they had in mind. Most people equate the abundant to mean, health, wealth, peace, joy and all problems solved. It means when the economy is down, they still prosper since they tithe, so God has to bless them.
Most of the superficial Christians believe that the abundant life is material wealth and health with good relationships, fantastic career, big house, and a fancy car. Yet, I do not see any Abrahams with great wealth in the Christian world. Most of the top 10 wealthiest men in the world are not Christians. How did these ungodly people get their wealth? I am not talking about minor wealth; these are billionaires not millionaires, so something must have blessed them if wealth is given by God? Then God must have blessed them, these ungodly men? Since blessings come from God only. Ungodly men are people who believe there is not God. They do not acknowledge the presence of God and all their wealth they believe it is their own working in formula, habits, discipline character or secret wisdom that brought them the wealth. Is wealth not a good and perfect gift? If it is then it came from God. So why did God bless this ungodly people who are destined to be condemned according to the bible?
James 1:17New International Version (NIV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Mark 16:16New International Version (NIV)
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Isn’t something wrong with the bible? It says God is the only one who blesses us with every good and perfect gift. Wealth is a good gift isn’t it? So why did God bless these ungodly people with great wealth? No men can attain such great wealth if God is not with them. The bible has to be the realistic and practical word of God, it is true and cannot be wrong, but we see reality not falling into neat little verses of the bible, worse even doctrines don’t seem to conform to the reality of this world. So did God lie?
So what is this abundant life in Christ means? It would be a very important thing for the Christians to reflect and understand what Christ has to offer. Could the abundant life means literally more life? Then the more life would mean eternal life, we will have more of life in eternity. Our physical death will not be the end of our life, but because we are in Christ, we will have eternity for our life. When we died, we merely fell asleep until the day that Christ returns and redeems us from the grave, so we will be alive again in him. This means abundant life, life without end. That would explain the ungodly wealthy will not have the abundant life since they are condemned by not believing in Christ. Similarly, being sick and disease cause one to have a not so great life since pain and sufferings restrict our abundant life. Being in Christ frees us from being sick with pain and sufferings. So why are there Christians who are sick and in pain, where is their abundant life then. They could be Christians whom God has rejected them, would it not be so? If they are blessed by God they should not be in sorrow, being sick and in pain is sorrow.
John 10:10King James Version (KJV)
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Proverbs 10:22King James Version (KJV)
22 The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Romans 8:9-10King James Version (KJV)
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Deuteronomy 31:17King James Version (KJV)
17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?
Proverbs 10:3King James Version (KJV)
3 The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.
So does this mean that if God is not with them, they shall face many troubles? But those who are in God are righteous, yet they also face many troubles and God get them safely out of them all. God promises no death to the righteous, the second death. The wealthy will not escape the day of wrath, God’s judgment day.
Proverbs 11:4King James Version (KJV)
4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
Proverbs 12:28King James Version (KJV)
28 In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
Proverbs 15:29King James Version (KJV)
29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
Psalm 37:39King James Version (KJV)
39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
Proverbs 24:16New International Version (NIV)
16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
Psalm 31:19New International Version (NIV)
19 How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.
Luke 14:15New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Great Banquet
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
James 1:12New International Version (NIV)
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
The bible is very clear that whoever wants to be in Christ shall suffer persecution. Is this the abundant life, the persecuted life of Christ? So now who wants this life then?
2 Timothy 3:12-13New International Version (NIV)
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
There seems to be trial awaiting those who want to enter into the Kingdom of heaven, and they all have to withstand the test. So it’s not just saying the sinners’ prayers, there are still conditions to be met before we can get the abundant life. I supposed entering the kingdom of God allows one to experience the abundant life. I wonder why Christ never explained the meaning of abundant life, since it was the main statement that he made when he proclaimed himself the giver of this abundant life. And he promised abundant life to those who believe in him.
According to men, being persecuted is a curse, now Christ claims it is a blessing to be persecuted for his name sakes. Is this the kind of abundant life, he was talking about? Sounds more like a hard life. He points us to the reward in heaven, so where is the blessings on earth when we gave up our old life for this new persecuted life. There is no abundant life in being persecuted; it’s more a litigated life. The lawyers will tell you that being taken to court are very stressful and surely not a blessing. If you do nothing for God you will never be persecuted at all. Being a safe Christian and doing nothing will not lead you into a persecuted life for Christ, so no blessings. Persecution is part of the abundant life since it is expected for a Christian to be persecuted for his name sakes. Surprised?
1 Peter 4:12-13King James Version (KJV)
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Matthew 5:11-12New International Version (NIV)
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 6:33New International Version (NIV)
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
John 10:27New International Version (NIV)
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Jesus said that you are to seek the kingdom first and whatever you need, these things will be given unto you. Sounds all too confusing wouldn’t you say. He said your reward will be in heaven not earth. But if you are not his sheep, he will not be obligated to hear your prayer. If you are his sheep you can hear his voice. I know of many Christians who cannot hear the Voice of Jesus. So he told them:
Matthew 7:21New International Version (NIV)
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
So if you cannot hear his voice, how to do his will and if you do not do his will, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven; then you don’t get this abundant life that he promises. And we still does not know what this abundant life is all about since we must first qualify to be his sheep, know his will, enter into the kingdom of heaven, overcome and experience some trial and test before we can experience the abundant life. Now do you know how to hear his voice, do his will and enter into the kingdom of God before we can ever get the abundant life? Then he tells us the gate is small and narrow and only a few finds it. So he tells us few finds this abundant life as few enter into it. Even with these tips and hints we will still find it hard to enter into the kingdom of God, Jesus never once explained the steps to an abundant life. He talks in parables and many short stories here and there, then he said few finds it. Doesn’t this seem strange that he left out the most important thing to get to the abundant life? So it is not strange because Jesus said this:
John 5:39-40New International Version (NIV)
39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Luke 24:45New International Version (NIV)
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Jesus said that they all think by studying scriptures that he would have eternal life, but that Jesus himself can give this eternal life. Scriptures only points to him. So this abundant life can only be given by Jesus himself. No one can get this eternal life by studying scriptures. Unless Jesus opens their spiritual eyes and ears no one can understand what the scripture mean or says so the door to the eternal life is shut closed. Without the grace of God no one can get this eternal life. Whatever we do not have, we are to pray for it. As long as God shows us what we need, we can pray to receive.
Matthew 7:13-14New International Version (NIV)
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
So how to find this narrow gate that leads to the abundant life? This means not many will find it. I tell you that to enter into heaven is not easy. That is why few ever experience the abundant life in Christ. So do you think we should just trust and do nothing to enter into the Kingdom of God, then why is it hard to enter in since we do not need to do anything to enter in? Whose word will you trust, the one who is the Saviour himself or your pastor or church doctrines, teachings and beliefs. I would trust Jesus of course, since he is the only who can give you this kingdom of God and he is the one who teaches it.
There is something missing here, now we are told we have to overcome to inherit his Kingdom. Oh, Oh, looks like saying the sinner’s prayer and confessing Jesus is not enough, you need to overcome his trials and tests. Does this mean we have to do something to enter into his kingdom? If we do not need to do anything, then why did Jesus mention the need to overcome? Didn’t his sacrifice on the cross give us this eternal life without price, no works? So this test and trial is about us showing with our lives that we do believe on him, else without faith it is impossible to please him. You will need to exercise your faith in times of trials and tests that he sends your ways. It will come and he will know who his real sheep are. This is the only reason why few enter in. When our faith is tested, we will also know what we believe in.
Our faith have to be tested to show it real to him, else we do not get the abundant life. These verses should read to those who says the sinner’s prayer, got baptised in water, got the Holy Spirit, speak in tongues and attend church services on Sundays, sang gospel songs, confesses Jesus is Lord and paid their tithes whether they will enter into heaven and get the abundant life. This is the thinking in the mind of modern Christian, so it is not what we think but what God said that is more important. At the end of the day, it is not what your pastors say but what God says that counts. A sincerely mistaken pastor also goes to hell for teaching heresy because he could not hear from God, it he can hear God would have corrected him long ago.
But the bible did not say so, it says to those who overcome shall inherit all things. What is all things mean? All means all; the bible doesn’t lie. So we get everything in this world and heaven when we overcome. No wonder very few Christians are walking in the abundant life, because not many have passed this overcomer’s test. Many are still in the desert and they could not take the leap of faith to enter into the abundant life promised by God.
The story of the 12 spies who went to spy on the land that God gave them, only 2 passed the test of faith, the other 10 died in the desert without entering the promised land of abundance flowing with milk and honey. They thought God is going to give them the promise land without the need to exercise their faith to trust in him and enter into war with the inhabitants. God promised them the abundant life, yet God wants them to fight for it. They did not overcome; they succumb to their fear because they rely on their own strength and didn’t believe that God will take care of them. So God waited until the generations died in the desert after forty years of waiting. You cannot inherit the promise land, the land of abundance when you do not overcome. For without faith it is impossible to please God. So faith must be accompanied by deeds actions, in cooperation with the promises of God to possess the promise land by exercising the word of God which is the sword of the Spirit.
Revelation 2:7King James Version (KJV)
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Revelation 21:7King James Version (KJV)
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Hebrews 11:6King James Version (KJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Proverbs 11:30King James Version (KJV)
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
The resemblance of an abundant life must be as those of the latter half of Job where it will continue from the day you receive Christ until the day you die. If any of you have ever experience this abundant life then please write me and tell me your story because few have found it according to God. It would be good to share how one can attain to this abundant life because few have found it.