Christ tells his own disciples (not unbelievers) that the following paradoxes are true. 1. The first shall be last 2. Serve to be master 3. Suffer in order to be happy. 4. Die in order to live It is these paradoxical statements that define the abundant life as a Christian rather than becoming a Christian. When we repent of our sins and receive the gospel of Christ we have been "saved" (past tense) and "justified" (past tense). The key to living the "abundant life" (not merely obtaining eternal life) is to be able to EXPERIENCE what you have positionally "in Christ"! Positionally we are now "seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" but let's face it we are personally on earth and this is not exactly a heavenly place or circumstances. The key to experiencing the promises of joy, blessings, growth, increased usefulness, etc. is to be conformed first to the DEATH of Jesus Christ toward sin and EXPERIENCE the resurrected life of Christ or the POWER of the resurrected life Christ here and now. Without EXPERIENTIAL death there can be no EXPERIENTIAL life and apart from "reckoning" by faith and "yeilding" by faith there can be neither. "As you have received the Lord Jesus Christ so walk ye in him" (Col. 2:6) is the simple key to the abundant life. If we "live in the Spirit" then we ought to "walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25) is the same simple key said another way. If we want to experience the power of the resurrection we must first die daily, be conformed to His death, mortify the deeds of the flesh" experientially die to sin. If we want to experience the power of the resurrection we must first "reckon" ourselves dead to sin and "yeild" ourselves unto God by faith. Both Experiential death and experiential life are above our own ability to experience or implement. Both require faith and that is why Paul said "as you received the Lord Jesus Christ SO WALK ye in him." We were justified by faith in Christ. That is, by faith we received the good news that Jesus both lived and died IN OUR PLACE as OUR SUBSTITUTE and God accepted Christ's life and death as the full satisfaction "for us" before His law. Hence, we are judicially DEAD to sin and judicially ALIVE to God. That is our right and position before God by faith but that is not our PERSONAL CONDITION on earth as we are still PERSONALLY a work still in progress. We have been regenerated and have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, thus given all that we need to EXPERIENCE our position by law in our own person on earth as a matter of progressive growth in grace until we are perfected in grace in the resurrection. We have been given a measure of faith, a measure of grace and a determined ultimate potential of growth determined by God's purpose for bringing us to life when and where it hath pleased him to accomplish his purpose for us and when that purpose is completed then death will bring our life to a close and death will stop us in whatever progress we have attained in this life. Every child of God has been given everything they need to accomplish God's will in their life to attain the potential of progressive growth. They have the new birth, they have the indwelling Holy Spirit, they have been gifted to accomplish His will and received all this initially by faith (1 Pet. 1:1-4) and thus all they need from that point forward is to "add" to that faith or grow upon that foundation (1 Pet. 1:5-11). Their rate of progress in spiritual growth is wholly dependent upon their complete dependency upon Christ - "without me ye can do nothing." The victorious Christian life is a life of dependency - it is the practice of reckoning by faith to what you already have and yeilding by faith to Christ. In order to live you must first die and die daily. By faith you must acknowledge that judicially you have already died to sin by the body of Christ and reckon it as such. However, reckoning it so and experiencing it depends wholly upon "yeilding" to the power of the Indwelling Spirit to experientially MORTIFYING THE DEEDS OF YOUR BODY by the resurrected life, power of the Spirit of life within you. To become first you must be last. To live you must die. To be the master you must serve others. To be happy you must suffer with Christ. All of this is accomplished by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit manifesting the life of Christ through you and your own personal life. What the world then sees, hears and experiences is Jesus Christ and the world responds to you just as they did to him - they persecuted him and thus he suffered and thus you suffer with Christ through the resurrected life of Christ being manifested in and through your and your life. Your entrance into the Christian life began with submission, yielding to the gospel of Christ and dependence upon His promise. As you received the Lord Jesus Christ so walk ye in him is the secret of experiencing the Christian life after new birth.