We cannot separate the new life God gives us from the body. It is as much a power of abundance and resurrection in the body as it is in the spirit. But we need to reach out in faith and take hold of it, even though it is already freely available to us through the indwelling Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)
It’s amazing to look around and see the visible evidence of the life of God in creation. Cut back anything in the garden and it’ll soon sprout new growth. Even cutting down an entire tree will result in it sprouting unless it’s completely dead already. The universe responds to the eternal call to new life which God has placed in every living thing. It’s entirely instinctual. Things quicken and reproduce in due season, seeds germinate, and the old gives way to the new in a beautiful cycle sustained by the will of God Himself. There is nothing quite like watching those first tentative but determined leaves push through the soil. A bare wound on a tree trunk thrusts forth green stems reaching for the light. The entire purpose of God in creation is new life, and it’s one that has never changed, not even with the fall.
The pattern for new life.
Our God ordained a world full of life. Not any life, but the life that comes directly from Him. The very fabric of His existence spilled over into His creation. Such is the life of God that creation cannot contain it. Because it’s eternal, it is ongoing and continues to infuse what He has created, and will do so until He ordains otherwise. The fall brought decay into the world, and all things must follow the now natural order of passing away in due time. But God continues to infuse new life into everything. The pattern of new life is visible and manifest in every single aspect of creation. It is instinctual and occurs without thought or planning. God’s purposes simply manifest as He wills, repeating the cycle that sustains His creation. Not even the fall and the works of the devil can prevent the life that flows from God.
The difference between creation and mankind is that we are spirit and flesh and have free will. As spirit, the life God offers us eternal. It will continue even after our mortal bodies are gone. From the beginning, He placed a choice before every human being – life or death. This isn’t about the natural life and death we experience in the world but concerns our eternal existence. God’s purpose is to continue His pattern of new life in the supernatural. He desires to spiritually replace the old with the new, but it’s our choice whether we allow Him to, and to what degree. The eternal pattern remains. The life is freely available. We choose life when we choose Christ. Thereafter, we can live in the measureless resurrection life, or we can limit the life we receive from Him by holding onto the old that we are unwilling to yield.
The supernatural power of new life.
It’s relatively easy to grasp the concept of new life on a spiritual level if we separate the supernatural from the natural. One is about the things of God and the other the things of the world. We die on earth but live eternally. But today’s verse raises a bold and challenging truth that must cause us to question how we understand the resurrection life of God. To grasp this fully, we must go back to the cross and the tomb. There is no doubt that Jesus died on the cross. It was an historical event witnessed and recorded. He was then buried in a borrowed tomb and a massive stone rolled across the entrance, and soldiers set to guard in case someone decided to steal His body. All of these are natural and perfectly understandable. They follow the laws of the world.
But that’s where things natural end. The new life God offers is resurrection life. Resurrection, quite simply, means bringing something to life that was dead. It’s not like a shrub that has a branch lopped off but is still rooted and growing. Jesus was dead, and God gave Him new life. This wasn’t giving Him back His old life – the life of the Son of Man, human in every way. This was supernatural life, entirely new and unlimited by the natural laws of the world. It is life that defies every single expectation or understanding or rational explanation. This life raised Him from the dead and removed the stone, and brought Him into glory. The message here is that nothing in this world can hinder or prevent the supernatural power of the life of God. That same life that sustains the universe is all-powerful.
The challenge of new life for every believer.
This dramatic supernatural power of new life is what upends our neat thinking. Paul pulls no punches. If the Spirit – the resurrection power who raised Christ from the dead – dwells in us, how can there possibly be no ‘overflow’ of new life? Our convenient explanations of how the spiritual is separate from the natural have to founder at this point. We cannot uphold the limitless power of the Spirit and then state that He cannot impact the flesh. It’s convenient to talk of miracles of healings. After all, these are a ‘move of God’ and entirely separate from normal life. They exist outside the ordinary and so can be easily catalogued as ‘of God’ and therefore sovereign intervention. Yet today’s verse suggests otherwise. If that power dwells in us, it must impact us. Nothing can hold back the new life in Christ.
This is simply further testimony to the fact that salvation deals with both our physical and spiritual needs. God gives without limit. He doesn’t place the Spirit within us with instructions to only teach us or guide us or reveal Himself to us. Remember, when God led His people out of Egypt, there was no feeble one among them. If He was able to ensure that for a few million people on the move in a desert wilderness by working from without, how much will He do from within? Why would He provide that for His people then and not now under the dispensation of grace, as we’re so fond of calling it? The cross releases all, not some, and this includes the new life. The problem is that we focus on the frailty of the flesh and forget that God’s life is so much more powerful.
New life is abounding life.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8). While this verse occurs in the context of finances, it reflects the full purposes of God in all things. His spiritual principles are eternal. We all know the old expression about the spirit being willing but the flesh weak. How many of us can honestly say that we abound at all times unto every good work? Yet God is immensely practical. He knows we need health and energy as much as we need finances to be able to do His work. Having all the money in the world will effect nothing if we’re dragging ourselves around, feeble and infirm. All grace means all grace, and that includes His new life. It’s the work of the Spirit in us.
Here in the world, we will always be subject to the things of the flesh and the devil. Colds and flu, sinus, aches and pains – we can expect all of these. But it doesn’t mean we have to live with them, or that we have to allow them to drag us down and limit God’s work. New life is resurrection life – the same life that raised Jesus from the dead into supernatural, overcoming life which shattered the things of the natural world. Our problem is that we’ve come to accept these as being the norm. We believe that they have a hold over us and that we have to conform. But today’s verse challenges us to rethink this. If the power that raised Jesus is within us, why would it not overcome the limitations we encounter? Surely it has the power to overcome these small inconveniences so we can abound.
New life and resurrection.
God can and does raise people from the dead, even today. But life and death are His prerogative alone, and are determined only by His will and purpose. The message contained in today’s verse is not that we can expect to be raised from the dead or to never die. That’s entirely up to God. He hasn’t removed the natural laws of death and decay, and our mortal bodies will all die in His ordained time. Jesus wasn’t raised to mortal life. He was raised to supernatural eternal life. When God raises us from the dead, as He will, we can expect the same for Jesus is our pattern and has gone before to show us the way. But new life is the victory of the supernatural over the daily limitations of the natural. It contains the power to overcome so that we can abound.
It doesn’t mean we won’t experience sickness or infirmity. Nor does it mean that things won’t come against us to slow us down or hinder our work for God. All these are realities we can and must expect. But we need to look past the limited view that salvation is only for the spirit. It includes healing and deliverance and every other need. Jesus walked this earth, ministered, and taught, and we never see Him taking time out to fight the flu. That’s because He understood the power of the Spirit and the new life God makes freely available through His indwelling presence. Jesus was filled with the Spirit just as we are. The difference is that He lived in the faith that released the resurrection life so He could abound in His work for God. His daily life pattern was perfected in the supernatural resurrection life after His death.
New life is for every believer.
This truth will change our lives completely if we can only take hold of it in faith. Instead of simply asking that the Spirit strengthen us, we should draw on the supernatural power that quickens us to live beyond the problem. If we believe that the new life God has given us is greater than what we encounter in the world, He will work according to our faith. It’s freely available to every believer and we already have it in us. The Spirit, however, respects our choices. If we choose not to receive, He will not release it. It’s up to us where we put our focus. If we focus on the flesh and our weakness, that’s what we’ll live with. But if we focus on the new life that flows from God Himself, the same power that infuses and sustains the universe will quicken us beyond our expectation.
Forgive us, Father, for missing the powerful truth of what Your new life really means. Renew our minds and work in our hearts to receive this revelation in faith. Help us to look beyond the things we encounter to the resurrection life already at work in us. By Your grace, quicken our bodies to abound in Your work. Be glorified in our lives, Lord, fully revealed as You reveal Yourself through Your creation through the life that sustains and empowers all.