If you were a person like me, your mum would have urged you throughout childhood to ‘be good.’ My mother hoped that I would not be bad like some of the other boys who stole the Chinamen’s water melons or smoked behind the school shelter sheds. Kids understand that ‘being good’ on many occasions has merit. Also that ‘being good’ is quite often about making your mum look good.
As one got older one learned that in religion ‘being good’ was done for God’s sake and ours so that we would ‘go to heaven’ and in some churches avoid going to hell.
In any case ‘righteousness’ as it came to be termed in ‘spirituality’ came to be seen as conforming oneself to a list of ‘nobilities’ and a denominationally conditioned program of ‘goodness’s’ that existed outside the self. In legalistic churches this list was the Ten Commandments with possibly a plethora of additions while in other churches it might be ‘the stuff Christians should do.’
GODNESS OUTSIDE YOU
In Pentecostal/Charismatic churches that sought ‘more’ of God, goodness as in God’s Presence can be seen to be outside one but able to be accessed and funnelled into the self through praise and worship and ‘infillings’ by the Holy Spirit. I went to a conference once entitled “More!” I didn’t know then that God lived in us and had placed us in the company of the Trinity. But in actual fact anointing as infillings of God are most naturally enjoyed as a function of the fact that we and Father are already one. Sound and healthy life in the Spirit is a function of our new covenant union with God.
The incarnation is the presence of God in us. This is the main fact of post cross life. That Christ is in us and with us is a fact – the reality in which Believers live. Not earned. But gifted to all who will have the Christ of God.
GIFT OF GOD
God is righteousness and life. We participate in this because God has imparted Himself to us and drawn us into Himself. We have what we believe. We need to believe what God believes – which is that we and Father are one. You can have your own gospel of the kind Paul called, ‘Another Gospel.’ But if you do you will degenerate your inheritance and get drops of living water instead of rivers of life. Some Believers get dry creek-beds because they choose to.
Righteousness does not exist in a domain called the law. The presence is not isolated and contained in a silo called the anointing. If we are not living in the new covenant we are not really in the Spirit despite a sprinkling of gifts. ‘In the Spirit’ is another name for union with God. The charismata flourish in fullness when we are living in our post cross reality – our inheritance in which we and our Father are one.
We possess what we believe and do not have what we do not believe in. This is why we need the apostle’s doctrine and not the ‘doctrine of demons.’ A false narrative precipitated the fall and a false narrative today maintains us in the fall.
WHERE IS LIFE?
Returning to where we started, life and righteousness are not ours because we have attempted to copy a list of abstractions. Life, light, love and spirit are ours because God lives in us and has woven Himself into our being so that the qualities that are Him are the qualities that have become us. Richard Rohr puts it this way.
ACTUAL UNION OF BEING - ONTOLOGY
“Many of the fathers of the church believed in an actual ontological, metaphysical, objective union between humanity and God, which alone would allow Jesus to take us “back with him” into the life of the Trinity (John 17:23–24, 14:3, 12:26). This was how real “participation” was for many in the early church. It changed people and offered them their deepest identity and form (“trans-formation”).” (1) Christ in you is a universe of difference to the law in you. One is Kingdom and one is marching around the Mulberry Bush. One makes you are person and the other makes you something less.
God is not somewhere else as the Christian Industry might have it. Institutionalism has no monopoly on God. He is not in sacred objects, sanctified times or pious places. God is in you. It is you in Christ, one with God and the expression of His person that imparts spirit and life to situations and people. The anointing and the infilling of the Holy Spirit is a function of this union with God – not a substitute for it. Holy Spirit and the gifts minus the new covenant are not the gospel of the Kingdom. And usually not the gifts, for very long. Jesus had the Spirit without limit because He and His Father were one. So will you.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self . SPCK. Kindle Edition. A