What Does “Abundant Life” Actually Mean?

Abundant Life

When Christians talk about abundant life in Christ, they share some common beliefs and have points where their ideas diverge, as a Wikipedia article attests! But Scripture is clear that our new life is a reality. Second Corinthians 5:17 talks about this life when it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. Old things have passed away and new things have come.” And Jesus calls that life “abundant” in John 10:10.

So what does this new life look like? Ask 10 Christians to define abundant life and you will get 14 answers. And perhaps they are all right in some way, but, if we are being true with Scriptures, the new life given to us in Christ must mean more than merely materially blessings.

Abounding Perspectives
Jesus said, “A thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). People often talk about God doing “exceeding abundantly, beyond all we can ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Throughout Scripture we see God blessing people, and promising blessing to people. The books of Joshua and Psalms speak to the fact that we can be prosperous. Several of the Proverbs reveal ways we can become prosperous.

Is God trying to tell us that abundant life is the result of having been made new? Is prosperity the sign of abundant life? Because many in the Bible and throughout history have had lives of struggle, suffering and pain, yet seemed to experience abundant life.

Abundance is not What Some Think
The powerful passage of Hebrews 11 highlights people of great faith and blessing, but also tells us that many believers were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two, destitute, mistreated and homeless. The writer says the world was not worthy of these saints. They were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised. Does that sound like abundant life? Is that prosperity? And yet, we find that these struggling people spoke of a deep-seeded joy.

Paul himself, who penned the oft-quoted “exceedingly abundant” phrase, did a fair amount of writing of joy and peace in the middle of his own difficult circumstances. He used terminology like, “My God shall supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory.” Paul found his life sufficiency in Christ. But what are these “riches in glory” to which he refers?

We know there are some things that can only come from God, not Walmart. God gives peace that passes all understanding. Jesus and Paul promise there will be trouble in the life of a believer. Some of this trouble comes to everyone

The rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).

Actually, some believers deal with some problems because of our relationship with Christ. Their new life in Christ costs them physical and materials abundance; yet, Jesus says we have abundant life!

Always, we are promised a deep abiding peace. This peace is beyond what we can work up on our own by breathing deeply and counting to ten. And have you noticed that peace during these times is the most outrageous blessing ever?

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Ed Stetzer