In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. John 1:4
"Life" is a word occurring frequently in daily conversation. Sometimes it is not clear in what sense the word is used. It helps if we understand its usages. From a biblical perspective, we can distinguish four meanings of life.
First, as beings created by God, we have physical life. In Genesis we read, "The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). Because we have bodily life, we breathe, eat, drink, work, and rest.
Second, as human beings, we have mental-emotional life. This sets us aside from animals. We can think, speak, and figure things out rationally. We can love. Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). In our time we notice a tendency to downsize the importance of the mind as having the power of reasoning and of making responsible decisions. Human behavior, it is claimed, is determined by one's physical genes.
Third, on the basis of Bible teaching we identify spiritual life, or faith active in love and in service to Christ. Unbelievers do not have it. Saint John declares that Christ, the Son of God become man, is the source of this life: "In Him was life, and that life was the light of men" (John 1:4). It still is, for the Lord Jesus imparts and supports spiritual life through His Word and Spirit.
Fourth, Holy Scripture teaches that believers have the promise of eternal life. It is the extension of our present spiritual life. We have the foretaste of it in this present life in Christ, but will realize the fullness of it in heaven.
The apostle John writes concerning Christ Jesus, "From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another" (John 1:16). These blessings certainly include life in its fourfold dimension. We have life in its fullness because Jesus gave His life for us.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God for the fullness of life I have because Jesus gave His life for me. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)