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Philippians 1:21 says, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Most people focus on the second part of the verse, "to die is gain," and contemplate the joys of heaven. But we should no...
When Christ died, we died with Him. Yet we still live by faith in the Son of God Who gives us new life in Him. So we are already dead but our life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 And we also know that when we die our physical death that we will be with Him who saved us by grace, and that is gain. But whether we live or die both are gain. But to die is to be present with the Lord. We were dead in trespasses and sin, but made alive unto God. We are saved by grace, through faith alone, without works, but we do good works because of our love for Him who saved us by grace. It is the joy of our salvation to die to the old life and live out of the new. We love Him because He first loved us. Our works have nothing to do with our salvation which was complete in Him when we first believed, but our works do have rewards in heaven. It is because of our faith that we work for the rewards, not of salvation but of having our Master telling us well done good and faithful servant. That is all I want to hear and work toward that end. I live for Him because He died for me.
To live "in the Messiah" one will hear with understanding, and obey (Sh'ma). Two things to look at... The one you want to do is shown in Isaiah 8:20. Study the two things that are mentioned there. Do NOT be like the people of Isaiah 4:1. Unfortunately, this is what most people who claim to be believers do, today. They do what is mentioned in 4:1, as well as 8:20 (in the fact that they do not speak of those two things).
Jesus is the author of life. He said "I am the way, the truth and the life." The bible also says that everything that exists was created through Jesus. Paul further explains that "it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me". When we are born into this world we experience physical life. But our spirits are dead because of the original sin of Adam. Our souls (mind, will and emotions) do not yet know our creator because of sin. The bible says we are like blind people walking into walls. All that changes when we hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and choose to believe it is true. When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour we are born again. The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Jesus, comes to live inside of us and he breathes life into our dead spirits and we truly come alive. Our souls are suddenly aware of the "presence of God". This is eternal life - being in the presence of God forever. This presence brings life in various ways. Sinful desires begin to lose their grip on us. The love of God washes over us and we experience being part of his family - truly and completely accepted for who we are. Our hearts are bursting with praise and thanks to God for who he is and what his has done. Our minds are opened to truly understand the bible for the first time, discovering God's character and his plans for our lives. Then what often happens is we get distracted by the things of this world, focused on living physical lives after the pattern of this world. It takes real discipline to daily surrender control of our lives to Jesus and then walk with his Spirit. When we choose to follow Jesus every day, several wonderful things happen. We start experiencing the fruit of the Spirit more and more - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We also begin to develop the character of Christ in us. We start to think like him, feel like him and act like him. We also notice that the desires of our flesh and the attractions of this world lose their appeal to us. But I believe the most important benefit is experiencing the presence of God. Sometimes that presence is tangibly felt. At other times we just know he is there. We develop an amazing passion in life to fulfill all that God had planned for us. We experience the most abundantly fulfilling and deeply satisfying life - more than we could ever ask or imagine. To live is Christ means that I no longer live but Jesus lives in, for and through me. This is eternal life. And the good news is it will get so much better when Jesus returns and sets up his eternal kingdom upon the earth, and we have the great honour and privilege of serving and ruling with him forever.
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