There’s a difference between living for God and living by God. It’s like night and day. Living for God is our attempt. Living by God is God’s finished work in us through Christ.
We Christians sometimes consider ourselves as living for God. And yet, that’s impossible. To do something for someone means to do it in place of that person in such a way that this person doesn’t have to do it since we’ve done it for them. To live for God. Can we live “for” God? To live for God would mean that God is dependent of us in order to live. God is alive with or without us because He is the life that never ends.
To live for God would mean that we’re doing something for God that God cannot do himself. Some would also consider living for God as living in bondage to God as if God doesn’t care about us but Himself alone. If we were to live for God, our hope and joy and peace would then be in what we do in trying to represent God. But as Christians, the everlasting hope, joy and peace are found in what Christ has done, not what we could ever do.
As Christians, we’re instead made to live by God, simply because God made us alive with Christ. Living by God simply means living by the hope we have in Christ, the hope of eternal life, not the hope of a life dependent of this world.
I could try to imagine everything that I believe would please God and try to do those things. That would be called my attempts to live, to hope in my imaginary god. I did so for many years until four years ago when I learned that God had already made me alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13)
With the hope I have in Christ, the joy that he is to me, the peace that he overwhelms me with, I am most certain that I am living by God, not by the natural means of this earth, but by God. My hope is not in this earthly realm, but in Christ being to me all and more than my heart could ever hope for.
It’s good to be alive by God.
Once you start hoping in Christ, it just goes on forever. His Spirit keeps such hope alive until his return, until what is hoped for is now a reality.
Christians are born of God through Christ. We can only live by God as His Spirit secures the joy, the peace, the hope, the life, the love that we have in Christ from God. Amen.
Jesus died for our sins. That’s appropriate. Our sins died in Jesus. Jesus died for us. We died in him. Yet, we cannot live for God because whether we exist or not, God is alive. But we can live “by” God, by the hope found in Christ and that’s what Jesus came to teach us, the word of eternal life, the hope of resurrection. Jesus, the most blessed name.
As Christians, we need to start acknowledging ourselves as living by God, and not for God as if we’re in a fearful bondage to God. God made us alive with Christ. Remembering God as our source of everything we need through Christ, that’s walking in the Spirit.
God made me alive with Christ so that I would go on living by my hope in Him, my hope in his work through Christ.
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
We live by God, not in fearful bondage to God, but in joyful adoption by God.
There are so many things that I would like to do “for” God. Yet God has called me to rest in what He has done “for” me through Christ Jesus because of His love for me.