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The Good and Beautiful Life

Jesus came into the world to give us the good and beautiful life. “I have come that you might have life,” he said, “and that you might have it to the full.” The point of his teaching is not to get us into heaven; the point is to get heaven into us. He also wants to create the mind and character of God in us because these are central to the good and beautiful life. We really can enjoy God and be “easy in ourselves,” as John Wesley once said.

This can only come by the Holy Spirit who enables us to know the truth that, as Jesus said, “sets you free”. The Holy Spirit initiates it all. He makes us alive (granting us faith to believe in Christ), empowers and motivates us, prompts us, encourages us, enlightens us and so on. But we must participate in the process. God is absolutely stubborn about this. He is only willing to give the good and beautiful life to those who participate. He wants friends, not programmable robots. He is close to those who choose to be close to him. By habits of thoughtful Bible reading, prayer, fellowship with other believers, resistance to temptation, repentance from sin, suffering well, and so on, we participate in the conditions for the good and beautiful life.

The way to the good and beautiful life is through obeying the teaching of Jesus. There is no other way. That is why one of the last commands of Jesus was to teach others “to obey everything I have commanded”. His teaching is not simply a set of rules, but a description of what constitutes the good and beautiful life. He forbids lust, for example, not to spoil our fun but because lust is destructive. Each day we live in obedience to Christ we live a good and beautiful day and many of them make a good and beautiful life.

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