'Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life' 1 John 5.12 NIV. No tip-toing about not confronting anyone here. This is about as stark as it gets. Why? It’s the difference between death and life and light and darkness.
ABOUT THOSE CLOTHES
Not a few wear the clothes of death because these dank garments comfort them. They find fragments of warmth and a kind of identity in their grave clothes because they do not know what they do not know. They do not know that only those who have the son have life. They live in the illusion that any belief possesses life. Before the cross and the new covenant age, it was sufficient to live from the law. God has set this up. But not to last. Following the cross Christ, the Father and Holy Spirit came to live in people. Now our privilege is to be where God is. Not where He was. Now we live in God. He is with us and in us. This is called living in the Spirit.
Jesus was so alive, so full of life itself and so un-hung up by the entanglements of death, that common life and prevailing religious thought must have been painful to Him. Yet while He was TRUTH ITSELF, He was so full of love and grace that He laid down His life for many who were not His Friends and for those who insisted on being dead men walking. Far from representing a god who kills people for offending Him Jesus was the Son of God who submitted to death on a cross so that the offensive and the offended might live.
LET THEM GO
'The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go' John 11.44 NIV. As disciples and ministers of the new covenant our role is to speak and live the gospel of the Kingdom so as to set people free of their grave clothes and let them go. ‘Grave clothes’ are our old covenant mindsets that disguise our ‘bodies of death.’ The body of death that Paul assures us that we are set free from is our Adamic/Mosaic life in the knowledge of good and evil and the law. Christ is now your resurrected life in whom you are liberated to live in the Spirit. Life in the Spirit is Christ as you. Not Christ assists you to keep the law – that He has replaced with Himself.
DEAD MEN TALKING
If we are still living in the old covenant we are dead whether we know it or not. If you love people you will not acquiesce in beliefs and conditions that cripple them, blind them and capture them in a gangrenous state called this body of death.
It’s possible to have a life pattern. We hear something that offends against our sense of identity and what we have always believed. Rather than critique our notions and assess fresh ideas, we duck our heads, plod on in our precious assumptions and embed ourselves in a pattern of denial – while fabricating rationalizations that impede our growth and the advance of the new creation. We make a virtue of plodding. God graces us with some drops of water. But we do not advance from glory to glory. We live as an old and solid stump rather than grow into a new tree.
I had a wonderful mother but there are some of her ideas I have left behind. If we are open to Jesus we will be open to adjusting our views and offloading those suppositions (veils) that are contrary to who God is, opposed to what Jesus has done and who He has re-created us to be: Sons of God in this new testament age. Tied to the law we can be sons notionally – but nt in spirit and in truth.
‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ 2 Cor 3.18 NIV. The distance precipitated by Adam, the insulation from the presence of God wrought by the law, the separation from God that we felt in our hearts and which had become part of our culture – all this was removed in the Great Joining that has taken place between humanity and God.
There are times when we need to leave behind some of the long-held ideas of our parents, of the mother church and the culture that fathered who we are. Especially when it makes us less than we are or worse, gives us a warped sense of superiority. And particularly if we hold ideas because we have misinterpreted the meaning of scripture and the nature of God. There are times when we need to abandon ideas and attitudes that we have personally accumulated because they are contrary to the mind of Christ and the witness of His Spirit.
‘I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Gal 2.21 NIV. Why is this? Because in the new testament age Christ is our life and the law is not. Persisting in a law culture not only debases the cross. It suffocates what we could have been the gentle and penetrating life-presence of Jesus in us.
When law is our bottom line we tend naturally to the letter and take comfort in the blurred vision of religion. Our relationship with God has become polluted and impure and we become poor in spiritual discernment. The law is a poor substitute for Jesus as our life. A law culture is an impurity, an atmosphere of smog that obscures Christ and His presence in us. Christ’s life is not there to be mediated into folks through the law or a list of behaviors. CHRIST EXISTS IN YOU TO MANIFEST AS YOU. No we are not deity, but we are sons.