|John 10:10 |
10 The thief only comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly [in a superior form].1 [The life, of which he spoke, is the life of God, the Spirit of Christ, which is the light. Every man who comes into the world has a small measure of the light within him, chained down by the darkness. Christ came to show man how to increase the life or light to abundance, so man would no longer walk in the blind darkness of his own will, but would walk in the light to become children of the light, performing God's directed works to the glory of God. From the Word of the Lord within: "Obedience leads to restoration of life. I have come that you might have life, the superior life of God."]
1 I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly [in a superior form]. The translators of this verse did not understand there was an entirely different life to be had while on this earth, and that this life was the life of God, being restored to the image of God in true righteousness and holiness. Obviously Jesus did not come so that we could have life as we know it because we already have life — we are alive; so he is clearly speaking about a life that we do not yet have and which must be obtained, for which he came to show us how to obtain it.
The Greek word for life is zoe in "you might have life," and zoe could have been translated: of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God; so it could have just as easily been worded: I came so that you might have the life of God, which is far more accurate and in agreement with the rest of Jesus' promises regarding union with God. Jesus is the life of God, and Jesus came so that we could receive His life in us, until Jesus is actually resurrected in us — to become a new creature with His life in control of our words and deed.
The Greek word for abundantly is perisson in "and have it more abundantly," and perisson could have been translated as: exceeding abundantly, supremely; superior, extraordinary, surpassing, uncommon; pre-eminence, superiority, more eminent, more remarkable, more excellent. They chose abundantly, which could be understood to be just an expansion of your life in Adam, and fails to portray an entirely different, superior life. Clearly, the life that Jesus offers us is the life of God, Himself in control of our words and deeds; and this life of God is vastly superior to the cursed life that all men inherited from Adam.
From the Word of the Lord within, (which confirms all the above): "I have come that you might have life, the superior life of God."
How superior is this new form of life that Jesus comes to bring us? In his sermon, The Spirit of Christ, the Only True Guide, Stephen Crisp gives us a magnificent comparison of what our life will be like when we have crucified our selfish spirit to be truly governed by Christ:
Where there is a great deal of pride, malice and envy, the spirit of Christ will root it up, and all that evil that the enemy has planted in men, he will pluck it up, and bring in everlasting righteousness, and plant love in the same soul, and establish and settle it. Such a one will have more joy, pleasure and delight, under the government of the Spirit of Christ in one day, than anyone can have that is governed by the evil spirit in a thousand days.
The degree of difference in the new, superior life has also been stated by the Word of the Lord within: "The new life is as radically different as a man who has lived underground his whole life, suddenly coming above ground to see the sun, the sky, the plants, the animals, the wind, the stars."
I shudder to think how this scripture's poor translation is misapplied by the preachers of "the gospel of prosperity," who preach covetousness and greed: Take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses. Luke 12:15
We lost the life of God, when Adam fell in the garden. Jesus has come to restore us to that life, a more abundant, superior life, the life of God instead of the life of Satan, the spirit of God instead of the spirit of Satan, love instead of lust, humility instead of pride. Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world [every man], he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.' John 8:12. Mark! The promise for following Jesus is to come out of darkness, to walk in the light, to have the light of life; this is to be restored to the life of God, exactly the life that Adam and Eve lost in the garden; as God had told them they would surely die, and die they did that day to the life of God, as they then lived in the life of Satan. But here is the glorious promise fulfilled, that God would restore man again to the life of God — and here is our opportunity, by belief in the Light, which enlightens all men, by obedience to that light, we can become children of the Light, restored to the life of God, the image of God.
If you don't increase the small measure of the light that all men have who come into the world, (John 1:7,9), you will lose that measure of light in the next life. The light is your talent, which if it is not increased while on earth, in the next life will be taken away from you and given to someone who has increased their light, (life of God, talent), so that they have more. The words Christ speaks to you from inside your heart are spirit and they are life-giving, which is the light. So, to increase the light, you must wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey. From the Word of the Lord within: "Obedience leads to restoration of life."
The true hope that Christ offers to all is to be released from the slavery to sin, to come out of darkness to light, in the new cleansed nature, to be restored to the image of God, to join in union with God, and to then live in the Kingdom of Heaven while on earth and forever as a king and priest to God.
Isaac Penington was a giant in the early Quaker movement who dwelled in the Kingdom of God. In his testimony of his long journey to the Kingdom, he gives us a glimpse of what it means to live the superior life of God:
"But some may desire to know what I have at last met with? I answer, I have met with the Seed. Understand that word, and you will be satisfied, and inquire no further. I have met with my God; I have met with my Saviour; and he has not been present with me without his salvation; but I have felt the healings drop upon my soul from under his wings. I have met with the true knowledge, the knowledge of life, the living knowledge, the knowledge which is life; and this has had the true virtue in it, which my soul has rejoiced in, in the presence of the Lord. I have met with the Seed's Father, and in the Seed I have felt him [to be] my Father. There I have read his nature, his love, his compassions, his tenderness, which have melted, overcome, and changed my heart before him. I have met with the Seed's faith, which has done and does what the faith of man can never do. I have met with the true birth, with the birth which is heir of the kingdom, and inherits the kingdom. I have met with the true spirit of prayer and supplication, wherein the Lord is prevailed with, and which draws from him whatever the condition needs; the soul always looking up to him in the will, and in the time and way, which are acceptable with him. What shall I say? I have met with the true peace, the true righteousness, the true holiness, the true rest of the soul, the everlasting habitation, which the redeemed dwell in; and I know all these to be true, in him that is true, and am capable of no doubt, dispute, or reasoning in my mind about them; it abiding there, where it has received the full assurance and satisfaction. And also I know very well and distinctly in spirit where the doubts and disputes are, and where the certainty and full assurance are, and in the tender mercy of the Lord am preserved out of the one, and in the other."
As excerpted from his memoir on this site, Penington also has left us his wonderful advice as to how we can attain the superior life of God.
Now thus having met with the true way, and walked with the Lord therein, wherein daily certainty, yes, and full assurance of faith and of understanding is at length obtained, I cannot be silent, (true love and pure life stirring in me and moving me), but am necessitated to testify of it to others; and this is it: To retire inwardly, and wait to feel somewhat of the Lord, somewhat of his holy spirit and power, discovering, and drawing from that which is contrary to Him, and into his holy nature and heavenly image. And then, as the mind is joined to this, somewhat is received, some true life, some true light, some true discerning; [of] which the creature not exceeding, (but abiding in the measure of), is safe. But it is easy erring from this, but hard abiding with it, and not going before [running ahead of] its leadings. But he that feels life, and begins in life, does he not begin safely! And he that waits and fears, and goes on no further than his captain goes before him, does he not proceed safely? Yes, very safely, even until he comes to be so settled and established in the virtue, demonstration, and power of Truth, as nothing can prevail to shake Him.
Now, blessed be the Lord, there are many at this day [early Quakers] who can truly and faithfully witness that they have been brought by the Lord to this state. And thus have we learned of the Lord; namely, not by the high striving, aspiring mind; but by lying low, and being contented with a little. If but a crumb of bread, (yet is bread), if but a drop of water, (yet is water), we have been contented with it, and also thankful to the Lord for it; nor by thoughtfulness, and wise searching and deep considering with our own wisdom and reason have we obtained it; but in the still, meek, and humble waiting, have we found that brought into the death, which is not to know the mysteries of God's kingdom; and that which is to live, made alive, and increase in life.
Therefore he that would truly know the Lord, let him take warning of his own reason and understanding. I tried this way very far, for I considered most seriously and uprightly. I prayed, I read the scriptures, I earnestly desired to understand and find out whether what this people, called Quakers, testified of, was the only way and truth of God, (as they seemed to me but to pretend). But for all this, prejudices multiplied upon me, and strong reasonings against them, which appeared to me as unanswerable. But when the Lord revealed his Seed in me, and touched my heart with it, which administered true peace and virtue to me, I presently felt them there the children of the Most High, and so grown up in his life, power, and holy dominion, (as the inward eye, being opened by the Lord, sees), as drew forth from me great reverence of heart, and praises to the Lord, who had so appeared among men in these latter days.
And as God draws, in any respect, to himself, I give up in faithfulness to Him. Despise the shame, take up the cross for indeed it is a way which is very cross to man, and which his wisdom will many be exceedingly ashamed; but that must be denied and turned from, and the secret, sensible drawings of God's Spirit waited for and given up to. Mind, people, he that would come into the new covenant, must come into the obedience of it. The light of life, which God has hidden in the heart, is the [new] covenant; and from this covenant God does not give knowledge, to satisfy the vast, aspiring, comprehending wisdom of man; but living knowledge, to feed what is quickened [made alive] by Him; which knowledge is given in the obedience, and is very sweet and precious to the state of him that knows how to feed upon it. Yes, truly, this is of a very excellent, pure, precious nature; and a little of it weighs down that great, vast knowledge in the comprehending part, which the man's spirit and nature so much prizes and presses after.
And truly, friends, I witness at this day a great difference between the sweetness of comprehending the knowledge of things as expressed in the scriptures, (this I fed much on formerly); and tasting the hidden life, the hidden manna in the heart, (which is my food now, blessed forever be the Lord my God and Saviour). Oh, that others had a true, certain and sensible taste of the life, virtue, and goodness of the Lord, as it is revealed there. Surely it could not but kindle the true hunger; and inflame the true thirst; which can never be satisfied but by the true bread, and by water from the living fountain. This the Lord, (in the tenderness of his love, and in the riches of his grace and mercy), has brought us to; and this we earnestly and uprightly desire and endeavor, that others may be brought to also; that they may rightly (in the true silence of the flesh, and in the pure stillness of spirit), wait for, and in the Lord's due time receive, that which answers the desire of the awakened mind and soul, and satisfies it with the true, precious substance for evermore.