A correct understanding of doctrine, even belief in revealed truth, is not enough if that doctrine does not bring me and leave me with Christ and Him crucified, risen and reigning as my God and Savior (John 11:24). If my doctrine does not make Christ the beginning and end and everything between, for me to God, from God to me, and as Lord over me, then my doctrine is wrong.
Christ is my life (Colossians 3:4; Galatians 2:20). I have no life but Him. I live by Him. I live on Him. I live in Him. He is the resurrection and the life. All who live to God, live in Christ, by Christ and on Christ. All who do not thus live, are dead to God.
By Him. He has life in Himself and gives life to whom He will (John 5:21,26). He is the sovereign Lord, as God and man. Christ must have the preeminence as God and as man (Colossians 1:18). As God, He is the creator, sustainer, sovereign, and He alone raises the dead (Deuteronomy 32:39). As man, He is the reigning triumphant King, the successful High Priest, the obedient covenant Head and Mediator (Psalm 2:6; 16:8-11; 45:6; 47:5; 110; Isaiah 53:3; Hebrews 1:3; 7:2; 8:1; 1 Peter 3:22; Romans 5:21). He is the God-man. Life from Christ is resurrection from death. In Adam and in myself I am guilty, condemned, spiritually dead and subject to the second death. In the gospel, Christ commands me to live. His words are Spirit and life (John 6:63). He gives me His own Spirit. He dwells in me (Ephesians 3:17). He is my life. His words are life. I live by faith on Him, believing Him as He reveals Himself to my soul in the gospel (Romans 1:17; Galatians 2:20). What I know and believe and hold true in my conscience, what I love with my will and affections, is because Christ lives in me. His is my life. I live by Him.
On Him. My spiritual life consists in looking to and relying on the Lord Jesus Christ as everything in my salvation. I look to Him for faith and love and every grace. I am nothing, have nothing and can do nothing but what I have in Him and what He gives to me by His Spirit. What I have I only receive and enjoy by faith. My faith is His gift and He is the object of it, and all my confidence before God. In my soul I eat and drink Jesus Christ and Him crucified by faith (John 6:35,51). He is my life and living. All grace comes to me because He is my God and Savior. He sovereignly saves, sovereignly orders and controls all of my life. By His Spirit, He sovereignly upholds and keeps me by His gift of faith that looks to and relies on Him alone. I trust His person and His work. I call on Him as my God and Savior. He is the one Mediator between my soul and God. By Himself He purged my sin (Hebrews 1:3). His great love raised me to life to live to God in faith on Him when I was dead in my sins (Ephesians 1:5). I forsake all other confidences, especially my own heart, my own thoughts and all my works. I trust Him alone as my all before God and as my all from God.
In Him. He is my Surety and covenant Head (Psalm 119:122-123; Hebrews 7:22; Romans 5:12-21). What I did in Adam and in my own person became His debt to pay, His burden to bear and His obligation to fulfill. What He did put away my sin and is all my righteousness before God (1 Corinthians 1:30; Jeremiah 23:6). God’s judgment of Him is His judgment of me (Romans 8:3). His offering of Himself to God perfected me: I am as holy and accepted by God the Father as the Lord Jesus Christ, because I am in Him (Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 10:10,14). God’s raising Him is God raising me. God’s enthroning Him is my reigning with Him (Ephesians 2:5-6; Revelation 20:4).
He is the resurrection and the life. Only man can die. Only man can rise again. As by man came death, so by man came the resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:21). Christ died. He rose and reigns on heaven’s throne as a man, as my accomplished High Priest, as my conquering King, as the Lamb of God (Revelation 5:12-13). Though by man came death, a man now reigns in heaven (Romans 5:21). God alone raises the dead. But God gave this authority to Christ, the God-man, because by His death He finished salvation and defeated all the enemies of my soul. Christ did all that He did as my covenant head. He acted for me; I acted in Him. He did not die for His own sin. My sins became His and He died for me. His death was mine. When He died, I died with Him. When He was buried, He was buried for me and I was buried with Him. When He rose, I rose in Him and with Him. When He was seated on God’s right hand, I was seated in Him and with Him.
Whatever I understand about Christ as the resurrection and the life, it must lead to Christ. He is all. If I live, God made Him all to my soul in this gift of faith. If my doctrine does not lead me to Christ, if it does not leave Him alone as the object before the eyes of my faith to look upon and rest in, and if my doctrine does not cause me to hear Him alone as the Way, the Truth and Life in all my coming to God and in my salvation, then my doctrine is wrong.