As Believers it would be better for us if we lived Jesus’ gospel rather than some version of our own. In the new testament age our Godliness is not found in adherence to rules and behaviours because our life comes not from the letter that kills but from God in us who makes us live. And not only God in us but us woven into God’s being. We are who we are as a result of Christ in us. Or not.
We are no more able to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit as behaviours than the Jews were able to keep the law. The ‘fruits’ are not a new and better version of the law – but they are the result of Christ’s life as you.
Neither is our post cross godliness achieved because ‘Now we love Jesus so much that we only do what pleases Him’. We don’t love Jesus that much and we are adept at being the kind of person that is quite different to Him. We are not consistent in ‘keeping close to Jesus.’ We are good at rationalising large slabs of time for ourselves. ‘Keeping close to Jesus’ is just a new expression of the law that suits people of the new testament age who are trapped in pseudo law because they do not really understand what the cross achieved for them. We are graced however with the fact that Jesus is with us and actually lives in us. Paul says He is our life – which means that Jesus in every way represents us to Himself and to the trinity.
By the spirit of sonship He manifests as us.
We can become better people however. But not by focussing on certain commandments or ‘fruits’. It’s the incarnation that does it – Christ in us imparted to our being. We are graced with Jesus’ life in every way. But particularly are we graced with His Spirit woven into ours.
Michael Kapler observes, “Contrary to popular belief, it is not our primary goal in this life to work at becoming like Jesus. I know this is hard for many to swallow, because it goes against a lifetime of everything that most of us have been taught. Many churches in our culture that encourage replicating the lifestyle of Jesus would be the first to kick you out the door if you walked in wearing the Jesus clothing line. Adam ate from the forbidden tree because he thought it would make him more like God (it didn't). Israel pursued the commandments because they thought the law of works would lead to righteousness (it didn't). Today believers are told the goal is to work at becoming more like Jesus through the gradual process of self-improvement and lifestyle choices (you can't).
Progressive behavior improvement will not make you more like Jesus, but realizing you're a new creation with a new identity that has already made you like him will lead to the fruit of the Spirit flowing through you.” (1) Believing that Christ is you (is your life) means that you become who Jesus is.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV. When will you appear with Him in glory. When you believe it. You will become your real self in this life and go on to greater glory in the next.
CHRIST YOUR LIFE
To agree with and accept Christ as our life is to become who we are in Jesus. He lives in us and His attitudes and perspectives become ours. You don’t have to ask what Jesus would do. You know what He is doing now because by the Spirit, His life is your life. He is speaking to you from your heart and ‘being you’ because He has come in your flesh. Don’t suffocate the free flow of His Spirit in you by an out of season adherence to the law. It had reached its use by date when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee. Kindle Edition.