1 Corinthians 15:45. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being [psyche]”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit [pneuma].
Today, let’s talk about some core theology. This verse is a theological master class explaining the “how” of everything we have said in this blog about our union with Christ. Christ, the last Adam and the new humanity, is the giver of eternal life. He is the life giving spirit. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is able to give new life to our spirits through mystical union with his spirit- he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him (1 Cor. 6:17).
Just as Adam passed on his nature to all humans through the psyche (the soul), Christ passes on his nature through the pneuma (the spirit). He is the source of all eternal, zoe life. We have eternal life both spiritually and physically because Christ is the life giving spirit. Just as Adam is the representative head of the physical race, Christ Jesus is the representative spiritual head of the new human race, the Church. This reality is the core truth behind us being in Christ. Because we are in Christ, Christ is our representative head.
The Book of Eli: finding eternal life in the word of the Christ.
How did Jesus Christ become the life giving spirit? By his own resurrection and ascension. In John’s gospel, Jesus explained to his disciples that he must leave so that the Holy Spirit or Comforter might come. Upon Christ’s resurrection, after 40 days, he ascended back to the Father. He had to ascend so that he might become the life giving spirit and the Holy Spirit could come to carry on the ministry of Christ. How? By indwelling all who trust in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for forgiveness of sins and the imputation of his own life into theirs:
John 3:36. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
There will never be another like Christ. He is the last Adam. Not the new Adam. Or the next Adam. There is a finality and exclusivity to what he has accomplished. You can stop your search at Jesus Christ. There is no other human savior. This includes yourself. If Christ is the source of all spiritual life, as this verse claims, then that means that we will never be the source of our own spiritual life. It means that eternal life will always be by grace through faith. Christ’s defeat of all death and sin is so complete that it needs no help from you. He is the life giving Spirit. There is no other option for eternal life and goodness. And thus, there is no other option for meaning in this life, for all ultimate meaning is found in eternal goodness. And God alone is both eternal and good.
“To live is Christ” offers us the life giving nature of Christ. His eternality and his goodness are given to us by the Spirit by grace through our faith. We now share in the divine nature. We have life. Abundant life. Forever.
But we must never forget that the life that Christ gives is HIS life, the life of the actual historic Jesus. Not just a nice easy life. Not just a good life in a worldly sense. The abundant life is the crucified life. The sacrificial life. The life under the cross. This is the life that the life giving Spirit has placed in us- a life of suffering that leads to glory. A life of dying that leads to resurrection.
Is there any part of this theology that confuses you? Inspires you? Have you received the life of Christ? In what ways can you identify the life of Christ at work inside of you?
Here’s proof that if you look hard enough you can find a song about almost any scripture. Feel free to sing along.