There are Christians who have been raised in the belief that grace is there to help us cope with the law. Not so. Grace is Christ for you and in you, expressing Himself as you.
A fruitful relationship with God is not a contract. It’s an incarnation.
A group of people were talking about living the Christian life. They hoped to read the Bible and put what they read intro practice. Good luck with that. Jesus did not institute another kind of law-keeping. He did not leave behind a new testament to change the world. Jesus lives to be His Practice as us.
Rule-keeping in the new testament is no more productive of well-being than it was in the old. Jesus left Himself in us - in the presence of Holy Spirit. Jesus did not leave behind a system of behaviour modification. Because what Jesus set up was not a philosophy, a religion or a culture. He began the multiplication of Himself in us. This is the incarnation in spirit and in truth and the power of the new creation.
POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE
The incarnation is so powerful and so fundamental to the Kingdom that Jesus made sure to underline its importance – saying through John that any substitute for it – like the law or religiosity originates from the spirit of anti-christ. These scriptures are not about spirits peeping and muttering. They are about the institutionalised downgrading of the Kingdom Jesus began.
Following some traumatic events and personal failures in the 1980s I realised that I needed more than Bible knowledge to make me a good person. I needed Jesus to change the me that I knew as me.
Many Believers with a hunger for God and goodness know that reading the Bible may not make us a good person. This is because it takes Jesus to make us good people. The Bible is not a book of rules to follow. The Bible testifies that Jesus lives in us to become our life. It’s amazing that people can read the new testament and then use it as a rule book. Paul summed it’s meaning up when he wrote the words, ‘Christ our life’ and ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ Gal 2.20 NIV. This is the normal Christian life – a life that is not a religion but an incarnation. It’s called perichoresis and means that we have been one with God, yet retain our uniqueness as individuals to advance into the glory of our sonship.
A most satisfying thing would be to come to the end of our lives and be able to certify to ourselves that we had been ourselves.
JESUS BECOMING US
This is the difference between religion and life in spirit and in truth. Paul never spoke of ‘the Bible in you.’ He declares Christ in us as THE WAY. Jesus presented Himself as THE WAY, the truth and the life. The way of what? The way to be one with God, the way to be sons and the way to be holy because God is holy. In this WAY of Christ as you, you are a new creation with a name: George Jones, Son of God.
The plan before creation and its resolution in the new creation is for God to find expression in you. To read the Bible as a rule book is to have missed the point altogether. To read the Bible as the evidence and surety that God has incarnated Himself in our being individually and collectively is to have interpreted the Bible in spirit and in truth. Avoid specious, old covenant, legalistic interpretations of the Bible. They are not Christ’s gospel of the Kingdom.
In old covenant mode we seek to be righteous in order to be alive. In new covenant mode we have been made alive in order to multiply life and righteousness. This is the difference between thraldom in Adam and Kingdom in Christ. Today you are neither in Adam of Moses. You are in Christ and He has made you part of His life and joined you to the fellowship of the trinity.
“Do not allow current religious tradition to mold you into its pattern of reasoning. Like an inspired artist, give attention to the detail of God’s desire to find expression in you. Become acquainted with perfection. To accommodate yourself to the delight and good pleasure of him will transform your thoughts afresh from within.” ― François Du Toit, The Mirror Bible