Being for Life
Over the last couple weeks I have thought a lot about Psalm 36. It is an amazing psalm. Verse 9 in particular has been on the top of my mind.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
The Psalm points us to the fact that life is found in God. What strikes me is how this idea, that God is fountain of life, develops in Scripture. Throughout the Old Testament we hear God say that life is found in him, he is the source of life, he is the one who brings life. Then we turn to the New Testament and find passages like John 1.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Or when Jesus says:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” - John 14:6
Or Paul reflecting on the person and work of Christ:
For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. - Romans 5:17
Or John in the book of Revelation:
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. - Revelation 22:17
Throughout the Scripture we find that God is the source of life. He is the fountain from which life comes. After the Fall in Genesis 3, we see that death reigns. Everything in us turns toward death. All of our works are works that move toward death.
For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. - Romans 7:5
Due to sin our default mode is death. We are a people of death. However, Christ, who is ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Col. 1:15), ‘the radiance of the glory of God and exact imprint of his nature’ (Heb. 1:3), comes to give life. It is through his life that we have life. It is through his life that we become people of life. There is no life, true life, outside of Christ. With Christ, we have life and we have it abundantly (John 10:10).
The implications of this are enormous. At the most basic level it means that as Christians we walk amongst the dead. Our job is to bring the message of life into a world of death. We don’t bring the life; only God can do that. We bring the message of life. We point people to the source of life. We proclaim the truth that right now death reigns, but Christ has come. He has defeated death and one day death will be put to death.
On another level, it means that we should not be surprised when the world is pro-death. This is only natural. It is not good. It is incredibly evil. It is sad. But it is not surprising. Death begets death. As people who have been given life, we are to be people about life. We are to proclaim the message of life to the world. We are pro-life in the most all encompassing sense of the word.
We are people who work to see the world around us flourish. We go to war in this world against the reign of death because we yearn to see life spring up all around us. The reason for this yearning is because God is pro-life, he is the fountain life, in him is life. Because God is pro-life, we are pro-life. How does God show that he is pro-life? He cares for the orphan and the widow. He sets the prisoner free. He provides for the poor and the needy. He is the protector of the those on the margins of society.
As Christians, as those who have been given life, we respond by making God’s priorities our priorities. We are pro-life because God is pro-life. We care for the poor, the opposed, the marginalized, those without a voice because this is what our God has done for us. He has saved us from death and from being pro-death. He saved us from a life that would only lead to our final death and the death of all those around us. So, now we go out proclaiming that salvation to the ends of the earth. Now we go out into the world, making God’s priorities our priorities. We go out into the world pro-life.