Written on January 3rd, 2007 - 4:56PM Last Updated: January 3rd, 2007 - 4:58PM
The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
Here is the foundation of Christ's Word to us—He has not come to destroy, but rather to give life.
It is the thief who comes to do the other things, to steal, to kill and "to destroy," our study word. Christ's coming is for another purpose, to give life, and such a life more abundantly. Not just life, but "more abundantly."
A Look at the Thief
Let's look at what "thief" means, to get an insight into his nature. κλεπτης comes from the primary verb κλεπτω ("to steal, take away by theft or stealth"). It is the word from which we get our English word "kleptomaniac," one who constantly steals things without any seeming control over his behavior. Jesus also uses the definite article before "thief," indicating a particular one—not just thieves in general, but this specific Thief (Satan). Therefore, we can discern Satan to be the one who steals, he who takes things away by stealh. This is in contrast to the Son of God, Who comes to give life.
Now, we then see that the Thief comes "to destroy." It is in the form of aorist, active subjunctive, meaning that he comes to destroy at a particular point in time, that he is doing the destroying, and that it may or may not happen. Just because he comes does not mean he will actually destroy, but it is his intention. It is up to us and our faith in God to prevent it from happening. The other two actions he comes to do are "to steal," the verb form of his title "thief," and "to kill," the basic Greek word for kill, sacrifice, slaughter, etc. All of those actions go together and are the M.O. (intent) of the Thief.
Examples of the Thief's Destruction
One of the three actions that the Lord Jesus attributes to the Thief is that he "destroys." This is our study word ("lost") in this area of being "lost and found." How does Satan (the Thief) destroy or cause people and their souls to be lost?
All of these things that Satan the Thief does reveal how he goes about destroying. He deceives the person into thinking they are better off in that case. He takes away that which God has planned for them (life, peace, joy, etc.), by stealth. They think they are being given something good, but the truth is that Satan has taken it from them without them realizing it, giving them the exact opposite. Truly, Satan is the perfect Thief, who operates in plain sight but is rarely caught.
In all of these cases, the ultimate result is the person's soul is lost, they lose their life. It is only because of the Son of God that all this can be prevented.
A Look at the Giver of Life
Because Jesus contrasts Himself with the Thief, let's look at Who He is as the opposite of one who comes to destroy. Rather, as He said, He came that they (the people who the Thief comes to destroy) might have life, and more abundantly.
In Greek, the phrase is εγω ηλθον ινα ζωην εχωσιν και περισσον εχωσιν ("I, I have come that they may have life, and have it [life] beyond boundaries"). He emphasizes His coming as being different than the coming of the Thief.
That word for "abundantly, beyond" (περισσος) comes from the root περι, with the idea of being near or around something. We have the English word "perimeter," which means the outer measure of a thing. Thus, this similar Greek word meaning abundantly can be seen to intimate a sense of boundary or outer edges.
When Christ said He had come that people might have life and have it beyond, He meant it would overflow the normal boundaries of our concept of life. We would have a life that exceeded our understanding of what life normally encompasses! Truly His coming would revolutionize who we were and how we lived. It is the thief who comes to do the opposite, to take away the little we have now (Luke 8:17-18). Therefore, Christ cautions us to hear Him, for in Him we truly "find our souls." Having been lost by the work of Satan, we become found in the Lord Jesus.
By the Lord's contrast of the Thief—who comes to destroy—with Himself—Who comes that people may have life—we can also discern life as the opposite of destruction or being lost. Therefore, how does such life cause us to be found, which is also the opposite of being lost or destroyed? And how does Christ make it possible?
We enter His life, having died to our own, enabling us to leave behind the dominion of this present age and its ruler, Satan (Galatians 2:20)
Christ, our Life itself, also will bring about our new bodies when He returns in glory (Colossians 3:4)
The Savior manifested life and immortality (incorruption) through the Gospel, which has abolished death (2 Timothy 1:10)
All of these verses that mention life and Christ reveal that it is He Himself that both brings and is the Life (1 John 5:11)
. Notice the last example given, where Paul writes to Timothy about the abolishing of death and the bringing to light of life and incorruption. It is done by ChristJesusthrough the Gospel. The Gospel is the message of the Kingdom, a message that God is love and desires to save us from our old ways. It is a call to return to our Maker, to leave behind the lies of Satan who promises us wisdom and eternal life but brings us to destruction.
The Thief comes to take away what we have, to cause us to become lost, to kill us. The Son of God comes that we might have life, and beyond our normal boundaries.
The Gospel is the vehicle into this new life of God, because the Gospel is the Lord Jesus Himself, living in words (Romans 14:23)(Acts 28:31). We preach Him because He is the Way to the Father, He is the Life, and He is the Truth (John 14:6). He is our exodus from the realm of Satan, which is destruction. Through Him we receive life and are found, and are saved from being lost by the works of the Thief.
15"I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' "He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16But arise, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you a servant and a witness both of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you; 17delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you, 18to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' (Acts 26:15-18)
As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.
But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.
This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, ChristJesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.
You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.
God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.
That Son, JesusChrist, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.
His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.
The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.
So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.
Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!
Email the Author
I welcome your questions, testimonies, suggestions and fellowship. Please contact me by using the form below.
If you are using this form on the same page as material I've written, the form will automatically let me know what material this is.
I am using this form rather than posting my email address because of spammers who harvest addresses from websites.