“To live is Christ” means to live is Jesus- the historic Jesus. The one who Incarnated, Lived Perfectly, Died, Rose, and was Glorified.
Jesus set aside his glory in order to incarnate into our world. He entered our world as the servant of all.
He did not consider “equality with God something to exploit” (Phil. 2:6). Rather he lived a life of dependency upon God, in order to fulfill the human mandate of imaging God, and to fulfill all righteousness. But Jesus also lived and died knowing that one day he would return to glory.
John 17:1. ..he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you..”
John 17:4-5. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
And not only himself but he would also bring us with him into glory.
John 17:22. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
John 17:24. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
This gave him great joy. Jesus’ ascension and glorification seated him next to God in a position of great honor. He is still human, yet perfect and gloriously holy. One day Jesus will be completely victorious over all sin and death.
Ephesians 1:20-23. [God] raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
1 Corinthians 15:25. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
Our life is not reduced to this life. There is much more to come. And God is looking forward to us being fully in His presence. In the meantime, Jesus and the Spirit are praying for us and pouring His character into us, transforming us into his likeness and preparing us for the day of our glorification with him.
But our glorification is not only a future event. It is a present event. We are already glorified. We are already being transformed by the glory of God through the presence of Christ. We are seated with Christ in heavenly places– now! Not just someday. This gives us the greatest of hopes for the future. And immense joy in this life now!
Romans 8:30. ..those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Ephesians 2:6. [God] raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
2 Corinthians 3:18. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
To live is Christ means that just as he is already glorified, so are we. Our present, on going glorification must be rooted in the reality of our already accomplished glorification, just as our present, on going salvation is rooted in the reality of our accomplished salvation. And when we learn to trust in this indwelling glory, all other lesser glories fade into the background. They begin the disappear in the light of his glorious grace.