Amazwana

 

Life more abundantly

Ngu New Christian Bible Study Staff

Photo by Gretchen Keith

In John 10:10, Jesus states one of the reasons for His advent:

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

We know that Jesus is talking about spiritual life here, not natural life. He was here, and walked among us in human form, so that he could teach us - more clearly than ever - how to learn truth and how to do good. If we reject truth, and prefer false doctrines that help us justify the selfish things we want to do, we're rejecting spiritual life. If we keep doing evil things because we want to and we don't care if they're really right or wrong, again, we're dying spiritually.

What the Lord really wants for us is life in abundance. If we turn to him, open our minds to His true teachings, and ask for His help in rooting out our evil loves, and implanting good loves in their place, He knows we will have spiritual life in abundance - to eternity.

This is a clear promise. It's not talking about prosperity or comfort or even safety from personal tragedies during our life on earth. Unlike us, though, the Lord can easily take the long view, and He always has the door open for us:

"A person can acquire for himself a life of faith and charity... when he approaches the Lord, who is life itself. Nor is the approach to Him blocked for anyone, since He constantly invites everyone to come to Him." (True Christian Religion 358)

It's pretty exciting. Imagine that... abundant life to eternity. It sure beats spiritual death. It's an amazingly good investment. If only giving up our evils was easier... but, it's not. It's painful. Still, if we don't defeat them, they will eventually enslave us. So... here's advice from the prophet Isaiah:

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

See, too, Arcana Coelestia 7494, for further reading.

Okususelwe Emisebenzini kaSwedenborg

 

True Christian Religion #358

Funda lesi Sigaba

  
Yiya esigabeni / 853  
  

358. (iii) A person can acquire for himself a life of faith and charity.

It is the same with this, for he acquires it when he approaches the Lord, who is life itself. Nor is the approach to Him blocked for anyone, since He constantly invites everyone to come to Him. For He said:

He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. And I will not cast out anyone who comes to me, John 6:35, 37.

Jesus stood and cried, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink, John 7:37.

Elsewhere:

The kingdom of the heavens is like [a king] 1 , who held his son's wedding, and sent his servants to summon the guests. And finally he said, Go to the ends of the streets 2 , and invite to the wedding anyone you find, Matthew 22:1-9.

Surely no one can help knowing that the invitation or summons is addressed to everyone, and so is the grace shown in receiving them.

The reason why a person is given life by approaching the Lord is that the Lord is life itself, not only the life of faith, but also the life of charity. It is evident from the following passages that the Lord is life, and man's life comes from the Lord:

In the beginning was the Word. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, John 1:1, 4.

As the Father raises up the dead and makes them live, so the Son makes him whom He wishes live, John 5:21.

As the Father has life in Himself, so did He grant the Son to have life in Himself, John 5:26.

The bread of God it is which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world, John 6:33.

The words which I speak to you are spirit and life, John 6:63.

Jesus said, He who follows me will have the light of life, John 8:12.

I have come so that they may have life, and have it in abundance, John 10:10.

He who believes in me, though he die, shall live, John 11:25.

I am the way, truth and life, John 14:6.

Because I live, you too shall live, John 14:19.

These things have been written so that you may have life in His name, John 20:31.

He is everlasting life. 1 John 5:20.

Life in faith and charity means spiritual life, which is given to a person by the Lord during his natural life.

Imibhalo yaphansi:

1. These words, omitted in the Latin, were added in the author's copy.

2. The Latin has 'waters', but this is corrected in the author's copy.

  
Yiya esigabeni / 853  
  

Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.