Just as we can have a following without being a spiritual leader, so we can be a charismatic without living in the Spirit. Keep in mind that people were healed and visions and dreams were had before the new testament age. Moses released the plagues of Egypt, Elisha raised a boy from the dead and the three Hebrew princes were not consumed in the fiery furnace. David felled Goliath, and brought the ark back to Jerusalem which resulted in bounties and blessings flowing supernaturally into the home of Obed-Edom. But none of them lived in the Spirit. Why?
There had been no Messiah and no incarnation. Christ was yet to come in the flesh of Believers. The at-one-ment of humanity with God awaited the cross. What did the cross accomplish? God undid Adam and instilled His Son into the souls and spirits of humanity.
An anointing is not life in the Spirit. Union with God is life in the Spirit. Old Testament heroes did not live in the Spirit. How could they. Life in the Spirit is the result of the cross and the ‘at-one-ment’ – the result of which is Christ in you and more; the indwelling of the trinity in you, which results from Christ come in our flesh. We are talking here of the incarnation. Firstly the son of God manifests as a man – as Jesus of Nazareth. Secondly Jesus descends in the Spirit and manifests in His people. This is Christ our life and the essence of the new covenant age.
We can live a wooden life in the law, hoping for some victories with Jesus’ help. We can live in fullness as sons as the expression of Jesus. His spirit manifests as our being. The paradox is that His Spirit manifests in our person, yet we remain entirely ourselves and grow relentlessly into our genuine design as sons and daughters of God. If it’s not ok to leave a small child with a hole in the heart when it can be fixed, it’s not ok to live from an inferior gospel simply because it’s ‘our perspective.’
SO WHAT IS LIFE IN THE SPIRIT?
Living in the Spirit means living in the Spirit of Christ and not in the spirit of Adam. As such we are made one with the trinity and we are indwelt by the three personed God. Life in the Spirit is union with God. Life in the flesh is life in the law.
NEW TESTAMENT IS NEW
The new testament is not an adjustment of the old. It is an absolutely new departure. People of the old testament were influenced by the Spirit and assisted by the Spirit. But none lived in the spirit in an incarnational way. This was yet to come. Even John the Baptist as blessed and loyal as he was, did not live in the Spirit as there had been no cross, no Pentecost and no indwelling of Father son and Holy Spirit in human beings.
But there is now. This is what Jesus meant when he said that all who receive Him would be greater than John the Baptist and any old testament hero for that matter. Why? We become the temple of God. In the old testament the anointing meant something different and smaller than it has become since the cross and Pentecost. Today the anointing flows from our union with God and the Spirit of Sonship that is ours - not as notional sons but as sons in spirit and in truth.
WITHOUT LIMIT VERSUS LIMITED
We can operate to a limited extent in the gifts, without living in the Spirit. Such giftedness is not life in the Spirit. It is the grace of God. Life in the Spirit is union with God and the spirit of sonship expressed through our being. How do Believers miss this inheritance when it belongs to all? They live from an old testament mindset in the new testament age. What we believe is what we are and what we have. We create our own reality - which is why we need to live in the reality that Christ created for us.
Some live almost entirely from the law and its corollary a ‘belief system’. Others live a more subtle expression of the law in the form of living as cultural Christians from the religion of Christianity. Whatever the case, they are living in separation. But not because they are separated. The live in a separation mindset which is a more polite way of saying that they are insulated from union with God in a ‘cunningly designed fable.’
There are disadvantages of course - living as a charismatic who does not really live in the Spirit. The spirit and life that could be ours is suffocated. Our humanity is crippled and our sonship is severely dented. Why? We are in Adam when we could be in Christ. This is because we live in a mindset in which we are not really sons. We have remained potential sons in Adamic separation. Like the man who buried his talent in the ground, we ignore our inheritance because we are glued to the lie of the fall. This is the difference between living in a lie and living life.
DELIVERED FROM THIS BODY Of DEATH
Being partially tied to ‘this body of death’ we are only partially alive as sons and our spiritual eyes remain dim and our ears hard of hearing. Not living in the Spirit we cannot recognise those who live in the Spirit or discern those who don’t. As a result our habitual milieu is religion mitigated by a few drops of grace.
In old covenant mode, spiritual discernment is not our thing – not because it is not our possession but because we have not been diligent enough in separating religion from truth and flesh from the Kingdom of God. A religious outlook and a religious view of life is the main drawback of being outside life in the Spirit. We do not recognise those who are wading in religion and cannot discern those who are flying in the Spirit. Neither do we have the facility to understand that the many graces of God are not an endorsement of our state but simply examples of the love of God. We become good at rationalising the mode in which we live. But the main illusion is that we think we are living in the Spirit when we are not. But there is hope.
‘But The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it’ John 1.5 NLT.