I have mentioned before that taking a Bible study as such may not be all that you want it to be. Stories of Paul and John are in the Bible – not for us to think that we could never be like them but because we can be like them – and not by works but by believing what they did. Which was that in Christ they were one with Jesus and our Father.
Paul taught that Christ is our life. John taught that just as Jesus was the living word of God – so all for whom Jesus is life are living words of God.
There are people who minister spirit and life without reference to scripture (because they are steeped in its truth or more correctly one with God). I’m not advocating to ignore the Word. I’m saying that they are so ‘one with the Lord’ of the Bible that they share in His spirit and life. The result is that when they minister they minister spirit and life either in speech or in simply being themselves. They did not get this oneness through pious effort. They got it because they believe that they are in God and God is in them – Christ come in their flesh. There are also sincere people who minister rivers of sand.
What you believe about your relationship with Christ is more important than your designation as a member of the Body of Christ.
CHRIST COME IN YOU
There’s flesh that is different to the carnality that Paul talks of. This is the indwelt flesh seen in Jesus on the mount and prophesied in the ‘burning bush’ of Moses. Jesus is the vicarious representative of us all – the one incarnated with His Father among us. Today you are the sons of God incarnated with Jesus and His Family. You don’t have to earn this. You are invited to live in it.
Wisdom would urge you not to activate your gifts until you know the meaning of the new covenant and are living in it. This is not a hard and fast rule as God can enter our experience at any point. But causally the cross, resurrection and incarnation are the beginning of the Kingdom of God. Paul advises,
‘I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames’ 1 Cor 3.10-15 NIV.
CAREFUL HOW YOU BUILD
You’ve heard of the OPAL TOWER in Sydney. Building on the law is not wise building. It’s like builders who construct residential towers with structural deformities.
The anointing is not a substitute for the union with God that Paul speaks of. But Holy Spirit and the gifts are a result of this union with God that is Christ in you. Get the order right and you will avoid a lot of vanity and folly. Trying to minister in a silo of ‘anointing’ is just as pointless as attempting to minister the Kingdom while still attached to the law.
THE WORD IS BEING, PERSON AND INCARNATION
John Crowder has some good insights on this theme. “Keep in mind that theology is a different discipline than Biblical studies. In Biblical studies, you are working through individual passages. Studying out Noah’s ark or whatever. Theology, on the other hand, steps back and looks at the whole counsel of scripture – it is concerned with how we approach the whole story, rightly dividing its entirety from beginning to end to delve comprehensively into the nature and person of God. For instance, the man who never learned to rightly divide the word may pick up a Bible, flip open to Leviticus and automatically assume God wants him to chop the tip off his private bits with a flint knife. This man has no revelation of the New Covenant – or the good news that Christ already fulfilled the Levitical law.” (1)
The whole reveals the meaning of the parts. Don’t try to impose parts on the whole. People can remain imprisoned in the law because they think the law is the lens with which to interpret the Bible. This is because they have been mis-taught and because they not emerged from the web of lies that is the knowledge of good and evil. The result for them is that they live in a religion called christianity with a moral agenda that for them must be accomplished before they can be received into God. This is perverse yet the most common example of wrongly interpreting the word of truth. You can cripple yourself by retaining yourself in the law or go further and infect entire communities with religion that is the cancer of the knowledge of good and evil that promises life and delivers death.
(1) Crowder, John. Cosmos Reborn : Happy Theology on the New Creation . Sons of Thunder Ministries & Publications - Digital version by Ten10 Ebooks. Kindle Edition.