Spirit & Life
John 6:60-63 MKJV Then when they had heard, many of His disciples said, This is a hard saying, who can hear it? (61) But knowing in Himself that His disciples murmured about it, Jesus said to them, Does this offend you? (62) Then what if you should see the Son of Man going up where He was before? (63) It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.
God is life and life is of God. That is why the Bible calls God “the Living God” and why Jesus, in verse 57 (yesterdays passage), calls God “the Living Father”. John 6:57 MKJV As the living Father has sent Me, and I live through the Father, so he who partakes of Me, even he shall live by Me.
The material flesh, without the life principle, rapidly decays and rots. The collocation of proteins and lipids has no energy of its own. According to one website ( http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/worth.asp ) the chemicals in our body are worth about $4.50! Indeed the flesh profits nothing!
The life principle is called spirit – that is what animates us and gives us great value as persons. As Jesus says in verse 63 “It is the Spirit that makes alive.” We commonly use the word in this sense when we say that someone who is animated and alive is ‘spirited” while a person who is lackluster and apathetic is called “dispirited”.
The God principle and the Life principle are very closely connected through the fact that God is the Creator who gives life to all things, and who has life in Himself. God places His life in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9) who then makes it available to us through faith - and who dwells us as we dwell in Him (John 6:57).
The key to receiving the eternal life of God in our souls is in believing the words of Jesus. “The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63) Faith in the words of Jesus enables us to connect to God, and to receive the life of God.
When this life manifests in us it does so as spiritual fruit – the love, joy, peace, patience and kindness of Galatians 5:22-23. Such life is more than mere energy; it is personal and divine life and has a quality of love and peace to it. It is highly organized and harmonious energy, more like a symphony of the soul than the “frantic, clamorous noise” of the flesh.
God’s life is more than mere existence. Eternal life is much more and much higher than eternal existence. Even Satan has eternal existence! But the Devil does not possess eternal life.
Eternal life is the harmony of Heaven and the peace of God dwelling in the soul of the believer - to enrich it, develop it and sanctify it to completeness and perfection. This is a spiritual work that is brought about by spiritual means, through a living faith connection with God, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
The flesh is useless in this. No amount of non-spiritual work can bring about the life of God in our souls. We can climb stairs on our knees, be circumcised, and whip ourselves until we bleed and try all sorts of external religious practices – but they are of absolutely no use apart from Christ. Two New Testament passages make this absolutely plain:
Colossians 2:20-23 MKJV (20) If then you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to its ordinances: (21) touch not, taste not, handle not; (22) which things are all for corruption in the using, according to the commands and doctrines of men? (23) These things indeed have a reputation of wisdom in self-imposed worship and humility, and unsparing severity of the body, but are not of any value for the satisfying of the flesh.
Galatians 3:1-5 MKJV O foolish Galatians, who bewitched you not to obey the truth, to whom before your eyes Jesus Christ was written among you crucified? (2) This only I would learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing of faith? (3) Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, do you now perfect yourself in the flesh? (4) Did you suffer so many things in vain, if indeed it is even in vain? (5) Then He supplying the Spirit to you and working powerful works in you, is it by works of the law, or by hearing of faith?
True Christian spirituality is not found in the “works of the law” nor is it in “the commands and doctrines of men” rather it is in laying hold of the life of God which is in Christ, by faith and then living out this life in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, long-suffering and self-control.
As with any tree, the fruit flow from the life, not the other way around. We cannot get God’s life by forcing ourselves to have self-control and patience – we will just end up as rigid legalists doing that! The life flows from the Spirit in us, which comes, as we truly believe the words of Jesus.
When Jesus says: “Then what if you should see the Son of Man going up where He was before?” (v. 62) He is referring to His ascension and His visible return to the Heaven from which He came - as the bringer of Eternal Life who was validated by His resurrection from the dead. Jesus is a clear demonstration of what God’s life looks like in human form, and its grace and power. Only He can thus say: The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life. (v. 63)