Addicted to our own ideas we can be our own jailer and our own prison. Committed to adjusting the edges of long-held beliefs and fiddling with the controls we can circle our own mulberry tree and snack on a mulberry or two - when we could have been eating from the tree of life. Some, on account of a passion for life and their understanding that ‘life’ is in fact ‘Jesus’ - step into increased freedom and along with it new levels of spirit and life. Why? They follow where ever he leads. They don’t stop when they come to the edge of their security blanket. Christ has done what He said He would. He has come in their flesh and they have become an expression of Him. Others pass to their grave having done their best to minister to people in what was really a delusion of the kind known as ‘cunningly devised fables’.
Revival can come to us through revelation – revelation of an aspect of the Kingdom of God and the wonder of Jesus with us that has been hidden from our view. This kind of revelation can come as an introduction to fellowship with the Holy Spirit meaning the kind of fellowship described in Acts chapter Two.
But often what came with glory fades to a whimper, because what God had in mind for us was more than the wonder of the gifts as exciting as these are. He had in mind for us a revolution and a genuine rebirth from our normality into His realm of continuous holy communion.
THE ROOT AND THE SHOOT
The ‘gifts’ are wonderful but they are neither the core or the foundation of the Kingdom of God. In themselves they cannot be sustained because in many cases they are without root and without foundation. When Jesus says, ‘ I am the vine and you are the branches’ He is telling us that it is His Vine that roots us in the foundation and source of all being: The Trinity. By living in the result of the cross – our life in the new covenant we live in our inheritance of union with God. Our person and our family is rooted in the family of the trinity where we are living in union instead of an imagined separation.
‘Heaven invades earth’ better when we live in the union that is ours instead of living in the separation of the old covenant.
WE EITHER FOLLOW GOD OR OURSELVES
In Jesus we have union with God. In Jesus we have His fellowship with our Father, the Spirit and Himself. This union with God; this oneness in which God is in us and we are in God is called the new covenant. You will not find the new covenant defined in the Bible because it is not program or a set of propositions. It is a person. Firstly it is Christ our life and secondly it is the interweaving of ourselves and God as one, yet maintaining the individuality of each.
Unless we enter this relationship and it is embraced as ours bolting Holy Spirit and the gifts like a super-charger onto the old covenant engine of separation and law will do nothing for the Kingdom – except in the long run to impede it - and send thousands on an exciting wild goose chase. The attempt to base the Kingdom on a foundation of Holy Spirit and the gifts is similar to a gardener buying a tree from the nursery and planting it in the air instead of in the soil.
“Solidarity [with God] begins with the whole Christ taking on the whole of humanity—not just soul without body or the spiritual without the physical—including culture. This leads us irresistibly to substitution. Not one aspect of our humanity will escape being substituted by Jesus Christ. The substitutionary atonement in terms of the vicarious humanity of Christ is first of all a critique that we do not want to hear. Many contemporary views of the atonement will gladly embrace Christ’s solidarity with us but shy away from substitution. Could it be because we do not want aspects of our cultures touched by the gospel? Is this not just another way of saying that we do not want certain places in our lives to be touched by Jesus Christ?” (1)
The truth of the matter is that when Paul speaks of ‘Christ our life’ He is talking of Christ becoming us as individuals and as the church. This is the incarnation which is the ground of your being as a son/daughter. It is the new and living way in which Jesus is multiplied as the church.
As it was with Jesus so it is with us. We have the Spirit without limit because we and Father are one. Without this – in old covenant separation – we have something that sputters and fades because it is not based on things that last. What might this be? The source of spirit and life for the universe is the trinity and Family of God. Rooted in Him His life is our life.
(1) Kettler, Christian D.. The Breadth and Depth of the Atonement: The Vicarious Humanity of Christ in the Church, the World, and the Self: Essays, 1990–2015 (p. 29). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.