“It is the Spirit who gives life”…[God] also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (John 6:63 and 2 Corinthians 3:6)
The Lord’s new covenant of grace is a covenant of the Spirit: “[God] also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant…of the Spirit.” Any approach to God other than by the Spirit results in spiritual deadness.
People need life, initially and continually. We need it initially, because we were spiritually dead due to sin and guilt. “And you…were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh…and were by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3). The only remedy for such spiritual death is spiritual life. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
People also need life continually, “for the letter kills.” If we were left to our best efforts after we were given new life in Christ, we would be struggling under a human performance bondage of rules and regulations. That is spiritually deadening.
Jesus came to earth to offer people fullness of life. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus taught that if we looked to Him for our spiritual nutrition, we would find ongoing life. “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life'” (John 6:35). Jesus did not refer to Himself as a leader establishing a new religion. Rather, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life'” (John 14:6). When the early disciples were freed from prison, they were not told to recruit members to a movement. Instead, they were instructed to “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20).
The life Jesus provides is His life expressed in and through us: “Christ who is our life” (Colossians 3:4). That life produces a lifestyle marked by His love, His joy, His peace, His wisdom, His courage-and whatever else is of His holy character. The new covenant of His grace holds forth this life, and the Holy Spirit delivers that life into humble, trusting hearts. “It is the Spirit who gives life.”
Lord Jesus,You are my life. I have no other hope or source for finding true life. I praise You for Your patience with me when I try to produce a Christlike life by rules and regulations. Lord, just as You gave me life initially, please flood me now with new measures of Your life, as I humbly rely upon Your Spirit, Amen.