If there was ever living proof that the letter kills it was seen in the way The Law rose up to extinguish life in the person of Jesus at the cross.
Jesus met the demands of the law and abolished it by His cross and resurrection. But we are not left in lawlessness and what we have is infinitely better than the law that no one could keep and ‘the letters’ that were lacking in representing the completeness that is ours in God. The fact is that in the law we are lawless but in the Spirit we are sons of God.
Jesus said, ‘For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished’ Matt 5.18 NIV. All was accomplished when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’
Speaking to Jews and for Jews, Jesus was signalling the impossibility of keeping the law and speaking of the end of an attempted life in the law. He was pointing them towards the beginning of life in His person and the indwelling of ourselves by God. To gentiles He was signally the end of our life in Adam and the beginning of a life that is Christ in us.
‘To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ Col 1.27 NIV.
Its disappointing that so many Believers who think themselves delivered from the law and free from legalism live from an equally extensive fabric of do’s and don’t that is their Christian Morality. I’m not saying morality is bad. But it’s not to be lived from because the law is not to be lived from. Jesus is.
‘For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law’ Romans 3.28 NIV. We are also transfigured by the life of Jesus apart from the law.
All things have already been fulfilled in Jesus. The multitudinous detail of the law and its many implications under the regime of the knowledge of good and evil left humans unfulfilled, frustrated, incomplete an wallowing in bits and pieces, dichotomies and contradictions under the Adamic regime of sin and death.
Jesus not only fulfilled the law of Moses. He superseded the morality of separated Adam with the union-life of God come in our flesh. Joined to God in spirit and in truth we now partake of His life. As the Bride of Christ we are one flesh with Christ’s person and part of Him. As such we are part of God – joined to the rock from which we are hewn.
The lawless mode of bits and pieces has been overcome by the wholeness of God in His Son. All that was broken and incomplete has been fulfilled by God in His Son. Then replaced by the living reality of Christ in us. At Jesus’ death all was fulfilled. At Jesus resurrection the new creation was launched. A new life for all began in the new Adam - His life as ours. His life through us into society, the earth and manifesting as the new creation.
‘For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way’ 2 Thess, 2.7 NIV. Paul was referring to a disinclination to live in the Spirit and the substation of Christ our life with laws, rules and structures.
Jesus initiated the Kingdom of God during His public ministry declaring His authority to forgive sins and authenticating His authority over disease and demons by healing the sick and casting out unclean spirits. But the Kingdom did not begin until His resurrection. On Sunday morning a new humanity and a new creation came from the bondage of death with Jesus. The new creation began when Jesus came forth from the grave and we came forth with Him.
Michael Kapler writes, ‘It's time to take a breath and ask ourselves this question: Under the New Covenant, why should believers pray for the kingdom to come when it has already arrived with King Jesus who lives within us, and in whom we live, move and exist? The answer is we shouldn't. [Don’t confuse what Jesus said to the Jews before His death to what became the new covenant after it]
After the cross, we are never instructed to pray for God's kingdom to come in any of the epistles from the apostles. Pause to think about all the emphasis placed on "Your kingdom come" and the Lord's prayer today. Surely at some point, at least one of the apostles would've suggested praying in this way! But it's nowhere to be found because as believers "we have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken’ (see Hebrews 12:28).
The Lord’s Prayer is fully realised in the person of Jesus, in His resurrection and the outpouring of Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He is your daily bread. Our forgiveness is the blood of Jesus. Our perpetual forgiveness is in the life of Jesus. Our holiness is Christ our life. We have been delivered from evil. God lives in you. More indicative of our union with God that the Lord’s Prayer is Jesus’ prayer in John 17. This enlarges on the fullness of our union with God, our healed selves and the multiplication of the community of the trinity in the gatherings of the people.
His Kingdom has come in you and is waiting to be released and multiplied by you in your new covenant freedom and authority. We need to be living in what Father has already done; living from our inclusion in the fellowship of the trinity and their indwelling of us; embracing the union with God that is ours in perpetuity and rejoicing in the dignity and honour that our Father has bestowed on us as sons and daughters of God. You are Godly because you have been made sons in spirit and in truth.
Don’t succumb to the notion that you have achieved some kind of ‘godliness’ because you went to church. You are Godly because you are in Christ and He in you. When people who are in Christ are together they are the church – made without human hands. This does not mean that we should live as isolates. No way. But neither need we be bound to the artificial life of institutionalised communities attempting to draw life from habits and structures. When Christ is our life all of us are a reflection of some aspect of His person. As such we minister His life to each other by being ourselves. These communities can meet anywhere and everywhere. When they do they are mutually enriching and vehicles of the love of God.
‘For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them’ Matt 18.20 NIV.
Avoid the kind of praise and worship based on the notion of ‘God is found in the praises of His people.’ He is found in you. This may have been so in the old testament. It is not now. He is with you and in you.
New covenant union with God brings union with ourselves. We are healed and made one with ourselves because we have been joined to our Father and are recipients of the flow of His life. At peace with God and ourselves we are at peace with our fellows – free to be ourselves and free to enjoy the unique expression of Jesus that is other people.
‘I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me’ John 17.23 NIV.
Under the new covenant we are never separated from God. Not even when we sin. He lives in us. He is never somewhere else. Never in some religious place. Always where we are and where His people have gathered whether this is around the barbeque, surfing at the beach or sitting on the toilet. There is no sacred and secular in this age. All has been brought together in Christ. These dichotomise are an artefact of the knowledge of good and evil. No holy time, no holy places, no holy food today. All is sanctified and made one with God and His sons. Why? Because we live a holy life in the wholeness that is ours in union with God.