Coming Alive in Christ
One of the commands that Jesus gave to his disciples was to raise the dead (Matthew 10:8). I believe that he was speaking primarily about spiritual resurrection, helping people who are spiritually dead as the result of the Fall to come alive in Him.
Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes into me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes into me will never die”. John 11:25-26.
When I was at theological college we were taught that in Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written, the prepositions are very important. The preposition used here is ‘into’ not ‘in’ as in most translations. There are many other instances in John’s gospel where the word ‘into’ is used rather than ‘in’. See John 1:12, 3:14-16 (twice), 3:18 (twice), 3:36, 6:28-29, 6:40, 7:37-39 (twice), 12:46, 14:12, 16:8-9, 17:20).
It might help us to understand this if we think of the spiritual reality of the Church, the Body of Christ, as a vast circle which embraces all believers, in all churches, of all denominations, worldwide, everyone who is ‘in Christ’, to use one of the apostle Paul’s favourite descriptions of a Christian. John is telling us that we become included in Christ as a result of believing into him, that is, giving ourselves to him and inviting him to become our Lord. See also Ephesians 1:13-14.
The result of believing into Christ is that we enter into his risen life. We share in his resurrection and are given the gift of eternal life (John 3:36). Spiritually speaking, we cross over from death to life (John 5:24). We are raised to life with him (Ephesians 2:4). We share in his ascension and become seated with him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). This is our place of rest in the finished work of Christ. (Hebrews 3:12 – 4:11)
In view of all this, it is not surprising to find that John tells us that the reason he wrote the gospel that bears his name was so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we might have life in his name (John 20:31).