New Life

What is the most important thing in our lives? Everyone has a varied opinion about the most important thing. Some people think that it is wealth, and there are others who place importance on happiness in their lives. So, it is vital for us to think carefully about what the most important thing for us is.

Comprehending the Mystery

When you think carefully, you will begin to realize that life is the most important thing. Without life, all the other things are meaningless. As human beings, we can’t create life. Only God is the ultimate reality and the source of life. (Psalm 36:9)

Life is a great mystery, and at times, we find it difficult to comprehend this reality. Look at our lives – we are a combination of matter and life, or body and soul. The body is tangible – we can touch and see the body. It has three dimensions. 

The spirit is intangible; we cannot touch or see it. But, it is the very thing that gives vitality to us. When a person dies, all the tangible things remain with the body. But, because of the missing aspect that is, the spirit, we say that the person is dead.

God is the Life-Giver

According to our belief, God created us using dust and breathed the breath of life into our nostrils. That’s how we became living beings. Because of our dusty nature, our lives are mortal. Our destiny is immortal because of the breath of life in us. 

Does this mean that our bodies are worthless, and our spirits are important? No, not at all. St. Paul says that the body is the temple of God. In the letter to the Romans (Rom 8:6), it is said, “for to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” 

This means that we should work hard to save our spirits without being concerned about our bodies because bodies create carnal desires. But in the same passage in the letter to Romans the writer says “And if the spirit of God, who raised up Jesus from the dead, lives in you, he will make your dying bodies live again after you die, by means of this same Holy Spirit living within you” (Romans 8:11)

How should we understand this passage? Who raised up Jesus from the dead? (Romans 8:11) What was the reason for His resurrection? According to the letter to the Philippians, although Jesus is God Himself He emptied Himself and became nothing. He was obedient unto death. Therefore God raised Him from the dead. (Philippians 2: 8, 9)

The Spirit should indwell us. We should always be ready to empty our material wealth, time, knowledge and resources for the growth of other people. 

Transformed to New Life in Christ

Do you know what metaphor was used by the early church to explain the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? It was a butterfly. The first stage of the butterfly is a caterpillar. Then the caterpillar becomes a cocoon. From the cocoon, we get a beautiful butterfly. 

See, it is not the spirit of the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly. The whole caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly. It is similar to us. When we live with our bodies in the risen Christ, we can experience this new life in Christ here and now. 

But to experience this, we need to die to our old selves (Romans 6:6). That’s why, in baptism, it is said that the old Adam in the new believer should die, and the person should be raised up to a new life in Christ (Romans 6: 4, 5).

The season of Lent gives us the privilege of experiencing this new and peaceful life in Christ. In all possible dimensions, it is essential to empty ourselves for the growth of others. Then, you are not far away from experiencing this new life in Christ. It is up to you and me to enjoy this privilege. When we open our hearts and minds and ask God to direct us, we can also experience this ‘new life’ in Christ.

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Rt. Rev'd Keerthisiri Fernando is the Bishop of Kurunegala in the Diocese of Kurunegala, Church of Ceylon, Sri Lanka