Imagine with me what life would be like without the cross, without redemption, without Jesus and the gospel. Our lives would be empty, without hope, without assurance of a future and no plan of or hope of restoration. In fact without Jesus we would not even know what restoration is. Yet often in my life and as I look around at other christians, we are living as if Jesus never existed. We are living powerless lives, empty and void of grace and void of gratitude and joy. Yet Jesus did come. He came to give us an abundant life. A life filled with grace, peace, joy, and mercy.
When we put our trust in Jesus, being born again, we are radically restored into oneness with God (see John 17:21). Jesus promised that when we placed our faith in Him, through repentance, that the Godhead would make their abode in us. We would no longer be orphans (see John 14:18). Paul understands this to be a mystery “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Paul describes this radical restoration as “receiving the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:5). You and I have been restored back to the father, in fact He now lives in us! This is unbelievable news! Yet so many of live as if this is not a reality. We live out of the flesh instead out of the Spirit.
Jeremiah says the reason we live a powerless life is that we have abandoned God. In other words, we aren’t listening to the Holy Spirit with in us. We are digging our own cisterns and they are cracked and leaking (Jeremiah 2:13). We are trying to live this life on our own, trying to on our own take care of all the hurts and pain that we have experienced in this life. Our identity becomes what people think about or say about us, instead of who God says we are.
Jesus said, "I am the vine and you are the branches apart from me you can do nothing, as in real life the branch can not produce anything on its own all of the fruit comes from what the vine produces through the branch." The branches of the vine cannot function without being vitally united to the flow of vine sap that makes the vine a living vine. The life of the vine is the energy, the life source, that produces the fruit that is to be found on the branches. The branches produce the fruit, but they do so from the sap that is surging through them. It is natural for vine life to produce grapes. The branches do not labor at an impossible task of producing a fruit foreign to the nature of the vine. We cannot think of a grape-producing branch apart from the vine life flowing through it. Grapes are called the fruit of the vine, never the fruit of the branch! Even so, a believer can never think of oneself apart from the Spirit of Christ living the life of Jesus within and through them.
When this is understood, the Christian life is not a labor to produce a lifestyle that is foreign and awkward to us. When the center and source of our life is the fountain of love Himself; a lifestyle of divine love is not foreign and awkward but natural. We are not able to bring healing, restoration, redemption or reconciliation to anything in own lives or in those around us. It is only when we rest in the vine and he pours out his grace into our lives that we can begin to find healing, restoration. His divine power, which we do not deserve but He freely gives to us out of his great love, allows us to live out the will of God in our lives.
The grapes are the life of the vine now translated into a form that can be eaten and enjoyed by all. So the ultimate goal of the believer’s union is that the life of Christ may be released, and made known to the world. The glorified Jesus is in us, and our walk of faith is choosing to die to the desires of the flesh that seek to live independently of Him, and instead to helplessly draw on His strength within us (John 17). It is only when we rest in Him that we are aware more and more of what he accomplished for us at the cross. In assuring our redemption and restoration, we, out of grateful heart, are able to live lives of peace filled with hope and joy, no matter what we are facing in our every day lives.
Jesus promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Jesus will never lie to you, will never forget about you, will never leave you comfortless, will never run out of mercy, will never grow weary, will never fail to keep His promises and will never, ever change! My prayer for all of you is that Paul’s prayer in Ephesians would not be a prayer that you just know or read about, but a prayer that would become a reality for each one of you. Lay aside every weight and sin that clings to you, and run with endurance the race set before you. Always looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Blessing to you all!