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The Bread of Life

By David A. DePra

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life….as the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:53-57)

Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life – I am the Living Bread." He said that if we, "eat His flesh and drink His blood," that we would have life IN US – indeed, He said that otherwise we have NO life in us. What does He mean? What is He getting at?

Of course this is all a spiritual picture. Later, because many of the people did not understand His words, Jesus said, "The words I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life." So what is the meaning?

Well, to, "EAT Christ," means to internalize Him. It means to take Him inside of you such that He then becomes your eternal source of life. Thus, Jesus is talking about nothing short of, "CHRIST IN US, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27)

If you read the entirety of John 6 you will see that this is the Truth. Jesus was telling the crowds to stop working for the, "bread that perishes." Natural food will nourish us temporarily – but our hunger will come back. The effects of eating temporal bread will, as it were, perish. We will need to eat it all over again. But Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life….if any man eat of this Bread he shall live forever." If you internalize Jesus Christ – if Christ is IN YOU – then the effects of this TRUE BREAD will not diminish. HE will be your life. You will never hunger or thirst again.

Life Only in Christ

Christianity is, "CHRIST IN US, the hope of glory." Indeed, salvation is Christ in us. He IS the life – He is our life. In this passage of John 6, Jesus, in picture form, tells us exactly that. He says:

Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life.

This one verse carries a great Truth that is often repeated in the NT. Because of the picture being given it is easy for us to miss. But Jesus, in this one sentence, is stating a Truth that we must get firmly established: In Christ alone there is life. Outside of Christ there is NO life. That ought not be surprising. For Jesus once said, "I am THE LIFE." (John 14:6)

Now, if Jesus had said, "I am A life," everything would be different. But He did not say that. He said, "I am THE life." In effect, ALL life is found in Christ. NO life is found outside of Him. This Truth is just that definite, absolute, and utter. Jesus Christ is THE LIFE.

Of course, this goes back to the fact that Jesus is God. And it goes back to the fact that as God, He became a human being – and was crucified and raised for us. Thus, there is ONE life – THE life. Jesus Christ is THE resurrection and THE life. There is NO life outside of Him. All that is outside of Him is perishing.

But once we see that Jesus Christ is THE life, it leads us to the fact that if we want to be saved He must become OUR life. We have to come to His Cross and relinquish OUR life. And if we do, then Christ comes to live in you. He becomes the only life you have. Thus, Paul writes, "Christ, who is our life."

Yet how often we misunderstand this great Truth. For example, most of us have been taught that if we come to Christ God gives us a THING called, "eternal life." But

He doesn’t. He gives us Christ – who IS life. The Bible reveals that eternal life is a PERSON – Jesus Christ.:

And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  (1 John 5:11)

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 6:14)

I am the Resurrection and the Life. (John 11:25)

Now, this is exactly what Jesus was teaching in John 6. He was teaching that HE IS the Bread of Life. Thus, if we, "eat Him," we will have life. But if we do not, "eat Him," we will not have life." In short, if Christ is in us we are alive in Him. If Christ is not in us, we are dead.

But simply saying that all life is in Christ – simply saying that Christ is the life – the meaning of this may still not hit home. Thus, showing a contrast here really helps. We must see that if Christ is THE LIFE that there is NO LIFE in ourselves. Indeed, we must see that salvation is NOT a matter of God giving us life in ourselves. No. Salvation is Christ in us.

God never made human beings with any capacity to have life in themselves. Thus, salvation is not a matter of God giving US life to have in ourselves. Absolutely not. No. In fact, the basis of sin is that we try to have life in ourselves. From this we need to be set free.

The point is this – even after Christ comes to dwell in us, He remains our life. All life remains IN HIM. NO life is found in ourselves. Thus, there is a distinction here: There is Christ in us, and there is us. There is the Treasure, and there is the earthen vessel. There is the spirit of Christ, and there is the flesh. There is the spiritual, and there is the natural. There is the new man in Christ, and there is the old man.

The reason this is so vital to see is that Christian people continually try to find life, light, righteousness, and Truth IN THEMSELVES. We think that God has given us life to have in ourselves – we think that our natural man and flesh is supposed to reflect this. So, instead of faith in Christ – in the Christ who dwells in us – we put our faith in US.

The average Christian person will quickly agree that they are not righteous in themselves. They might even say that there is no life in themselves. But they will also say that God has given them life and righteousness to have in themselves – because of faith in Christ. But this is wrong. God has never given us life in ourselves. He has never given us a righteousness to have in ourselves. He has actually never given us ANYTHING AT ALL to have in ourselves. Rather, He has given us HIS SON.

We MUST see the distinction between God giving THINGS to us, and God giving Christ to us – in Whom are all things. We must see the difference between God doing things TO us, and God giving His Son IN US. And perhaps the greatest need is to see the difference between US becoming LIKE JESUS – which is not what God is doing – we must see the difference between that and the Truth – that God wants to manifest Jesus Christ in and through us.

Paul said, "We have this Treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may BE OF GOD AND NOT OF US." (II Cor. 4:7) Can we see this very Truth expressed in this verse? CHRIST IS IN US. But Christ is NOT US. And we are NOT CHRIST. There is a distinction between ourselves and Christ even as He lives in us. In effect, God is not making us LIKE JESUS. God is not doing THINGS to us. God is not giving us THINGS. Rather, God has given us Christ – Christ is in us, and we are in Him. Christ Himself – as He dwells in us – IS all that God has, and CONTAINS all that God has for us. "We are complete in Him." (Col. 2:10)

If we would see this Truth – if Christ were actually, "revealed in us" – we would stop looking to ourselves. We would look to Christ.

Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life….unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life." He is saying that HE ALONE is life, and that only if we internalize Him are we alive in Him. There is no life in ourselves. Christ in us is our life.

Flesh or Spirit

Christ in us is not a doctrine – it is explained by doctrine. Neither is this a religion or a technique for walking with God. No. Jesus Christ is a Living Person. Christianity is Christ in us, and this means fellowship with God through Christ in Spirit and in Truth.

Many Christians, however, do not understand what God means when He says Christ is in us. How? Where?

The Bible says, "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." (I Cor. 6:17) We are also told that we are, "baptized into Christ." (see Rom. 6:2) Paul goes on to say that the are, "planted into," or, "united with," Christ in His death and resurrection. (Rom. 6:5) The point is, if we are saved, we are ONE WITH CHRIST spiritually. Indeed, this is WHY we are saved. If we are ONE with Christ then we are ONE with the Person who said, "I am the Life." That is why we are alive – we are one with Life Himself. He is our life.

Now, the spiritual union between Jesus Christ and each believer IS, "the new creation in Christ Jesus." That union IS the new man in Christ. This is the seat of salvation.

But if we are one with Christ – if THAT is the new creation – then notice what else that means: It means that everything OUTSIDE of our union with Christ is NOT of the new creation. It is actually THE FLESH.

Here is the challenge: Christian people try to walk with God, not in Christ – not in the Spirit – but in the flesh. We try to walk with God through all of those aspects of our being that are OUTSIDE of our union with Christ – our emotions, feelings, intellect, and soul life. We cannot. Note: I did not say that God won’t LET US. I said WE CANNOT. Flesh cannot walk with God.

To try to walk with God – yes, religiously AS a Christian – under the power of our natural man IS what is means to, "walk according to the flesh." Yet thousands of us continue to read the Bible, and try to fashion our natural, religious selves according to what we read – thinking that this is Christianity. It is NOT. It is actually just another form of being, "under the law."

The solution here is not to fashion our natural selves according to the Bible. Rather, it is to relinquish our natural selves to the CROSS – so that the life of Christ might be released and made manifest through us. The CROSS is the key to everything here because if we will lose our lives for His sake we will find them IN HIM – and that will include not only true LIFE, but also LIGHT.

Christ is in you if you are born again. He is one with your spirit. Thus, rather than focus on those dimensions of your being that our OUTSIDE of Christ, and of the natural man – rather than try to live for God THERE -- we need to place our faith in the Christ who is IN US. Your natural man is under the Cross. Only in Christ is true life possible.

The Work of the Cross

None of us can sort through these things with our natural mind, or by the means of our own working. You cannot know Christ by emotion, intellect, or merely for the wanting. You cannot discern between the natural and spiritual by getting a good education. Only God can bring us into this Truth.

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all Truth. But this means more than just giving us interpretations of Bible verses. It means that God wants to bring us into the reality of His Son. He wants to reveal Christ IN US – as Paul said God did for him.

As mentioned, if Christ is not yet revealed IN US – in other words, TO US, in an inward way – all that we are going to know is OURSELVES. We might add a few doctrines and facts ABOUT Christ. We might even conjure up a Christ who is composed of our imagination, emotions, or soul life. But it won’t be the living Christ revealed to us. For that, there needs to be an ongoing work – this is the work of the Cross.

The work of the Cross will crucify that aspect of ourselves that is OUTSIDE of our union with Christ – the natural and flesh – so that the new man in Christ might be released. The Cross will bring us to the end of the dominion of the flesh – especially to the end of religious flesh. But note: If we are saved, we are ALREADY crucified in Christ. Thus, all of this work of the Cross is nothing more than the working out of that reality.

If the redemption is real – if Christ is actually in us – then there must be an impact. This isn’t a RELIGION. It is Truth and reality. That impact of Christ in us is going to be that what died in Him on the Cross will die in us if we are crucified WITH Him. And the result will be that His life – His resurrection life – will be released through that death.

This Truth is revealed throughout the Bible. But perhaps it is summarized best in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us…. always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you. (2 Cor. 4:7-12)

Can we see that this passage is nothing more than an expansion of Jesus’ words to His disciples:

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.   (Mat 16:24-25)

The work of the Cross, rather than to make self LIKE JESUS, will break the power of the SELF -- so that the life who is Christ might shine through us. Or, to put it another way, the Cross will forbade you to have life in yourself. THAT will be under death – "for you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God." You were never intended to have life in yourself. You were intended to find all life IN HIM.

Again – Christ is in us – but nevertheless is distinct FROM us – distinct from our natural man. Note that: He is distinct from us even while He is in us. Sure. The fact that we are one in spirit with Him does not change that fact. In each Christian, there is Christ – in whom are all things of God – and there is everything outside of Christ, which is the natural – which is OF US. The two are separate. That is why Paul said, "We have this TREASURE in an EARTHEN VESSEL." The two are one spiritually – but one never becomes the other.

Knowing Him

The only way in which we can walk with God in the Spirit is if Christ is revealed in us – if we grow to KNOW HIM – and be set free to do so by the Truth in Christ. And while this might sound like a lofty, impossible goal, it is actually basic Christianity. It is what God wants to do in each of us.

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. (Gal 4:19)

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (Gal 1:15-16)

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, (2 Pet 1:2)

Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (Eph 1:16-18)

So what we have here is a clear distinction: Our oneness with Christ in spirit is the new man. Everything outside of this is the old man; the flesh. BOTH exist in each believer. God is seeking to cause us to both KNOW Christ through an INWARD revelation, and then, He wants us to place all of our FAITH UPON CHRIST – instead of upon ourselves.

This is, in part, what Jesus was getting at in His teaching about Himself as the Bread of Life. He said, "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you – for I AM the Bread of Life." In other words, "My presence in you is the only life you have – you have no life in yourself. I AM the life. And because I am the Bread that can never perish, my presence in you will be your continual life source."

So again, we have Christ – in whom there is ALL life – and He dwells at one with our spirit. But then we have the natural part of us that is outside of Christ. In this there is no life.

Failure to understand this basic Truth accounts for the mistake of looking at our natural man and trying to find evidence of Christ. It is why we still think that if Christ is in us that our flesh ought to behave. We are unwittingly looking at OURSELVES – which is faith in ourselves. We ought to be looking to Christ – who is in us. HE is the evidence. HE is our life.

I Am the Bread

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

This statement of Jesus certainly applies to salvation. But if you read it in the context of the whole passage, it is clear that He is talking about a CONTINUAL fellowship with Himself. That is why He contrasted the bread that perishes over and against Himself as the Bread that will never perish. Jesus doesn’t just give us eternal life. He IS our life. This is an abiding, eternal reality.

Jesus continually brought home the fact that we have NO LIFE in ourselves. In fact, He wants us to see that it isn’t even a matter of God GIVING us life to have in ourselves. Rather, HE IS OUR LIFE. Christ in us IS our life; our eternal Bread.

In the above verse Jesus says that, "he that comes to Me….he that believes on me…" But before we assume we know what He means, let us note what it does NOT mean – and this goes back to the distinction between the new man in Christ and the old man in Adam. He is telling us that our faith must rest upon HIM – it must rest upon the fact that He is in us. In other words, it must NOT rest upon our natural man or flesh. It must NOT rest upon our flesh – not upon our works, or any of our workings at all. Our faith must be based upon the very Christ who dwells in us.

I say this because most of us, without realizing what we are doing, continue to put our faith in that which is OUTSIDE of Christ – our religious, natural man -- instead of upon Christ. We monitor ourselves to see how we are doing and base our faith accordingly. We do this because we think God is doing it. He is not. God is looking at Christ.

God is not basing His relationship with us upon US. No. There is nothing in our natural man that is capable of walking or fellowshipping with God. God is basing His relationship with us UPON CHRIST – who is IN US. Thus, WE must base our relationship with God UPON CHRIST. Does it seem as if you can never find God? This could be the reason. God is basing His relationship with you upon His Son. You may be trying to base it upon YOURSELF. If so, you are walking in ERROR – and in darkness there can be no fellowship with God.

Jesus said that He is not only our LIFE, but He is continually our life source. He is our continual nourishment – such that He could say that we will never hunger or thirst. How is this accomplished? God reveals to us Christ. And we BELIEVE ON HIM.

Yet note this as well: TO BELIEVE ON JESUS means to utterly rely upon Him as my life; it means to LIVE FROM HIM as my continual nourishment. It means to ABIDE IN HIM. It is MORE than just believing in a doctrine, and more than just giving assent to the fact.

But you and I will never do this until the work of the Cross brings us to the end of looking to ourselves. We will look to ourselves – think we have a basis of life in ourselves – until it is forever and utterly proven to us that there is NOTHING there! God has to do that. He has to bring us to where we LOSE our lives in that way – this is the work of the Cross. But if He does, then our faith will no longer be in ourselves, but in Christ.

Jesus said, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you." Do we believe that? Paul said the same thing: "Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Don’t you know that in your SELVES, how that unless Jesus Christ is in you, you are reprobates?" (2 Cor. 13:5)

We are born into this world without any LIFE or TRUTH in us. None. Indeed, the opposite is true: We are utterly bound to death and darkness. Thus, the only LIFE possible is one we receive FROM ABOVE – we must be born from above.

Note: Christ is received from the outside of us INTO us. And ALL that God has for us is contained in Christ. Thus, of what use is faith in ourselves? No. All of our faith must rest upon the Christ who is in us. We are COMPLETE IN HIM. HE is our righteousness. He is our LIFE.

Jesus said, "I am the TRUE BREAD; the LIVING Bread." Jesus Christ is the only basis upon which we can live and fellowship with God. But if our faith is in Him, then our fellowship with God is eternally sealed.

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