Why write so much about the new covenant? Because so many live in the old or in a mixture. Mixture is normal Christianity for many. Gregory Boyd asserts, correctly I believe, that many Christians live a Christianised version of the knowledge of good and evil. Rick Joyner illustrates this ‘version’ well in his ‘Torch and The Sword’ where people bumble about blind and confused from eating the fruit of the knowledge tree.
To be human is to live in a state of becoming. We do this in the spirit and never in the law. The latter leads stagnation that suffocates who we are in Christ. The greatest benefit of the new covenant is union with God and the unfolding life that is ours because we are in the ever expanding life of the indwelling trinity. A clear benefit of this is that we are alive – genuinely alive in the sense in which God defines life – participating with Him by the One Spirit.
Engulfed in Father we are do not lose ourselves. We gain who we are and continually live in a state of becoming: Our continual growth as Sons of God. No longer workers and slaves, we have a real identity. We continually enjoy the adventure of maturing as sons of God. A feature of our adventure as sons is the ability to ‘see.’
‘He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!’ John 9.25 NIV.
DARKNESS AND LIGHT
To ‘know’ well is to see properly. ‘One with Father, we see as He sees and we see that to which He directs our attention. The new covenant is God’s accomplishment for you – the undoing of the separation brought about by the fall and the finish of the distorted vision common to the knowledge of good and evil.
In the realm of the law of sin and death we see poorly because we are separated from God where we have a distorted view of knowledge and truth. In the episode of the blind man and the Pharisees, the blind man gained both physical and spiritual eye sight while those who maintained they could ‘see’ regressed into confusion. It’s the same today. Those who have, more will be given and those who have not will lose what they have. When Jesus is our life we can see the Kingdom and differentiate it from the kingdom of the world and from mere religion and the motions of godliness without power.
‘Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit’ Matt 15.14 NIV.
SHARPNESS OF VISION
All Believers potentially have this ‘sight.’ We will have a surfeit of ‘sight’ if we are living in the generosity of our new covenant union. But a paucity of discernment if we have remained in an old covenant mindset of separation. Not for nothing has separation been called ‘the great darkness.’ It is dark in regard to the annihilation of God’s riches for you and dark because it robs believers of spiritual discernment.
Some new covenant Believers have more discernment than others since they have been gifted with it. All believers are meant to have a degree of discernment because it is the normal package of new covenant eye-sight. In Jesus we can ‘see.’ But we see better when our Jesus is the Christ or God and our gospel is His gospel of the Kingdom – of Jesus, Paul and John. New covenant discernment gives us the ability to separate Christ’s gospel from ‘other gospels.’
What is the new covenant? Nothing complex. It’s Christ’s life as your life. It is not Jesus helping you to live some abstract righteousness that is separate from Him. (We are talking the law). It is Jesus being God, life and righteousness directly in you. In the new covenant Jesus is incarnated in you and woven into the fabric of your being by the Spirit of God. It’s you and the trinity being one. Paul’s ‘In Him we live, move and have our being’ is new covenant reality – the reality that is Christ. But a reality that is not ours if we are still living the old covenant mindset of law, regulation, performance and a big effort to undo the separation that Jesus has already undone for us.
So let’s be clear. We are saying here that to live in an old covenant mindset is to live in self-imposed separation and darkness without free access to revelation in general and certainly without the benefit of spiritual discernment in particular. In an old covenant mindset, we will be among the dullest in spiritual discernment on the planet. We are not walking in the light because we are living in the blight of separation.
A COLOSSAL DULLNESS OF SPIRIT
Situated here we reveal ourselves as being notoriously inept in distinguishing religion from the presence of spirit and life. As we have noted, separation is the ‘great darkness’ and the realm of bind leaders of the blind. Sure, grace ensures that we can receive flickers of light and give out a one or two drops of living water. But these come not to endorse what we have not embraced. They come to beckon us to an infinity of life and light.
‘Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ Heb 4.12 NIV.
Without spiritual discernment we are unable to perceive when the glass is half full or half empty. So confused can we be that we not even able to discern whether what is on offer is a poisoned chalice or a glass of water. But when the Christ of God is our life, we will never walk in darkness. We will possess the light of life.
‘When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ John 8.12 NIV.