"The glory of God is man fully alive." (Saint Irenaeus)
When I first stumbled across this quote my initial reaction was ... You’re kidding me. Really? I mean, is that what you’ve been told? That the purpose of God—the very thing he’s staked his reputation on—is your coming fully alive? Huh. Well, that’s a different take on things. It made me wonder, What are God’s intentions toward me? What is it I’ve come to believe about that? Yes, we’ve been told any number of times that God does care, and there are some pretty glowing promises given to us in Scripture along those lines. But on the other hand, we have the days of our lives, and they have a way of casting a rather long shadow over our hearts when it comes to God’s intentions toward us in particular. I read the quote again, “The glory of God is man fully alive,” and something began to stir in me. Could it be?
I turned to the New Testament to have another look, read for myself what Jesus said he offers. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Wow. That’s different from saying, “I have come to forgive you. Period.” Forgiveness is awesome, but Jesus says here he came to give us life. Hmmm. Sounds like ol’ Irenaeus might be on to something. “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48). “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38). The more I looked, the more this whole theme of life jumped off the pages. I mean, it’s everywhere.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23).
“You have made known to me the path of life” (Ps. 16:11).
“In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
“Come to me to have life” (John 5:40).
“Tell the people the full message of this new life” (Acts 5:20).