Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, but being a Christian goes beyond that. Once you’re forgiven there’s a life to be lived. Jesus also said that he came that we may have life, but not just life. We all have biological life (can you fog a mirror?), but Jesus said he came so that we might have “abundant life.” In John 10:10, Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” This abundant life begins with our sins being forgiven. That happens at the cross of Calvary. However, the Gospel message must go beyond the cross to the resurrection. Just as He arose, we too arise to a new life as well. Paul tells us that we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” in Ephesians 2:1. We were not only sinners in need of forgiveness we were corpses in need of life, His life, real life, abundant life. In Romans 6:4, Paul explains, “We were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Unlike the prosperity gospel being preached by many today, the abundant life that Jesus wants for us is one that transcends material prosperity. The most important things in life are NOT things at all. The most important things in life are relationships: our relationship with God and one another. It’s the healing of relationships through forgiveness that makes the life “abundant.” Again Paul tells us this in Colossians 2:13. He writes, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses…God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses…”

Even the secular movies realize this truth. The movies like “Scrooge” (or Scrooged), “Pretty Woman” and “Wall Street” and many other teach us the futility of wealth in achieving an abundant life. The common theme in these movies and others is the miserable man who tries to amass more and more wealth in order to amass even more wealth. But instead of providing “abundant life” it actually destroys their lives instead. It takes away from them the very thing they are searching for. If the world recognizes this and writes stories about it, why do many Christians still subscribe to the “prosperity” gospel? Jesus put money and wealth in opposition to God when he talked about the impossibility of serving God and money. Wealth promises something that only Jesus can give us; a truly abundant life received by grace through faith. It’s the outcome of a “post-forgiven” life.