Are you alive? A strange question perhaps. Surely, since you are reading this, you have a pulse, but I didn’t ask if you have a pulse. I asked if you were alive.
What does it mean to be alive–like really, truly, fully alive? Jesus had an answer to that question, and His answer leads to the final chapter in our study of God’s story.
God’s Story is not an American Story.
American stories have a beginning, middle, and end. But God’s Story falls more in line with Jewish literature. (Or rather, Jewish literature is modeled after God’s Story.)
In Jewish literature, you will not find the phrase, “And they lived happily ever after; the end,” because in Jewish literature, there is no end. Instead, here is the pattern:
- New beginning
So you see, when it comes to God’s Story, there really is no “final chapter.” God’s Story is still being written, and even after Jesus returns, God’s Story will not end. It will simply begin anew, and this is the key to understanding what it means to be fully alive.
Being spiritually alive trumps being physically alive.
Jesus said He came that we may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10) We must realize that without Jesus, we might be physically alive, but spiritually we are dead. As James 2:26 says, “The body without the Spirit is dead.”
Life, true life, is a gift from God, and it comes in the form of the Holy Spirit that He places inside us.
You see, on this side of the cross, God is offering us the same gift He offered Adam and Eve. In the same way that God placed Himself inside Adam and Eve, He also placed Himself inside of Jesus. And this is what He wants to do with us.
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Freedom from what? Freedom from sin and death. God is life, and without His Spirit of life, the Bible says we are dead in our transgressions. (Ephesians 2:1)
Now, I realize there is a chance you already have the Holy Spirit living inside you. But please realize, it is also possible to have the Holy Spirit and still not be living fully alive. In order to do so, we must allow the Holy Spirit to live through us here and now.
Eternal life in the Kingdom of God does not begin some day in the sky when we die by and by. Rather, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is at hand!” (Mark 1:15)
Yes, the Bible does speak of a time when the world as we know it will be completely renewed, including our bodies. “Completely” is the key word in that sentence. We are not yet complete; we are in a state of transformation. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “We are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” We are morphing into the people we were always meant to be. And one day that transformation will be complete.
If we have the Spirit of Jesus inside us and allow Him to live through us, then we are not slowly dying, rather, we are slowly coming alive. “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
This is what it means to live in God’s Story!
It is making the conscious choice day by day, moment by moment to “live a life worthy of the calling we have received.” (Ephesians 4:1) And that calling, the role we have been given to play in God’s Story, is to be the Sons of God, to be like Jesus in every way.
Because in the same way that Jesus was a body that God dwelt in, we too are a physical body that God dwells in. We are His temple. What this means is that the power we see in Jesus also resides in us! In fact, the Bible says we will do even greater things than Jesus did. “How is that possible?” you ask. Well, it’s because there was only one of Him, and there are millions of us!
This is what it means to be the Church, the body of Christ!
This is what it means to be human, made in the image of God. We are to be like Jesus, a reflection of God to a lost and dying world. The world has forgotten the story of God, and they have forgotten what God looks like—LOVE! And not just any kind of love but a God-like kind of love, a Jesus-like kind of love, the kind of love that is not the verb that God does but the noun that He is!
“And this is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” (1 John 3:16)
We are to be a people who love recklessly and sacrificially. We are to love promiscuously! Because this is how God loves us, and He lives inside of us. God wants us to be who we were always meant to be—His Body, His Church, His Temple, a people who reflect His image in every way. This is what it means to be fully alive!
This is the story of God, not that someday all life will come to an end, but rather, through Jesus, all death has come to an end. Our story began from the dust of the earth, but praise God it does not have to end the same way. Because as I said before, our story is God’s Story, and God’s Story doesn’t end; it has only new beginnings.
The choice is yours: will you live in the story of the world, or will you choose to live in God’s Story, the greatest story ever told?