I was listening to some remarks being made by a Catholic writer on Radio National’s program, ‘God Forbid.’ The journalist, of some renown, urged that protestants would benefit from the images, relics and statues of Catholic culture. The protestants on the show disagreed, as well they might. They affirmed that all life is in Christ. That’s the difference between the old and the new covenant. There is no spirit and life accruing to the place at which one worships, to things like circumcision or to days and times. Life is totally in Christ. None of these are holy. But you are holy and whole in Christ who is your life. Because He is incarnated in you, you worship in spirit and in truth.
‘Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks’ John 4.23 NIV.
There is no life in any created thing. Spirit and life is found neither in patterns or objects. There is nothing that can stand for God or represent Him and His life-giving nature in creation or in behaviours and rites that we may concoct. What counts is new creation life that comes from the spirit of Christ funnelled into our being.
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV.
In Exodus 20.2-4, the making of graven images was forbidden by God because they can never represent God or even come close. The folly of attempting to obtain life by things we make and do is stated in Isaiah 44-46. Angels, when they appear among us always forbid us to give them worship. Only God imparts spirit and life.
Heaven sent the son of God to live among us and then be incarnated into our lives This is the living way and the only way of communion with God and transformation. That which is life-giving today is never any rite or observance. Neither is it any tradition no matter how comforting this may be to the soul. Things can have a soulish attraction but be bereft of spirit and life.
Our life is the trinity incarnated in our being. This is CHRIST OUR LIFE.
Francois Du Toit quotes from The Mirror Bible, ‘Jewish festivals, new moons, and Sabbaths have come to an end in Christ. Their relevance only served to prophetically point to the promise of Christ on an annual, monthly, and weekly basis. They carried the promise like a placenta would hold the unborn child, but became obsolete as soon as the child was born’ Col 2:16.
Jesus was born to be with us, live un us and BE OUR LIFE. This is the meaning of the Lord’s Table. Those who eat Him live because He is their life. Yet the life is not in the ceremony. The eating of the bread and drinking of the wine represent what already is. They are a sign of the new and living way THAT IS JESUS. Discerning this is the ability to separate religion from life. It is the only source of spirit and life.
A sister wrote in response to Du Toit’s post,
‘I am Jewish and I think the Jewish festivals are beautiful, as is the Sabbath. I don't do 'rituals' though or follow Old Testament Law. (Except the 10 commandments) And I am in Christ and He in me. This may be the first post I somewhat disagree with. I know Christian Pastors who incorporate Passover. One can participate in Jewish festivals and Sabbath and still love God and Jesus. We do it in remembrance.’
Sure you can. But in doing so you dilute Christ and cripple yourself. Let’s be clear. Any reliance on anything not Christ dilutes Him and weakens you. Any teaching or culture that insists on adding something to the totally vicariousness of Christ our life is a tare and you should recognise it as such.
We are at liberty to do any ceremony we wish. But we have no liberty to add one jot or one tittle to THE ONE WAY THAT IS CHRIST OUR LIFE.
There can be absolutely no legitimate addition to the vicarious humanity of Jesus. He is all and in all. All spirit and life is in Him and not one iota in ceremonies, times, days or places. Israel is no more sacred than India. Saturday, Sunday or Friday are no more invested with the presence of God than any day of the week. It is not incumbent on anyone to have one rest day. Such proposals are soulish and misguided. Rather it is beneficial to so rest in Christ that that we are more human and more fruitful as a human being every day of our lives.
You are not holy because you have a holy day or a head-scarf. You are holy because Christ is your life.
If we imagine that we can be a kingdom of priests, yet seek life in rites and behaviours, we have never really understood what God achieved for us in Christ. Suffocated and dulled in religion, we are not competent to minister the Kingdom because we have never entered His infinite life. We can expand religion and summon up bits and pieces to fill religious spaces but we remain impotent sons encased in spiritual blindness emitting drops instead of rivers of spirit and life.
The Ten Commandments are the law and all the other things the Jews did. David never allowed Himself to be imprisoned by religious law – he was a type of Christ and foreshadowed our complete liberation from such artifice. Jesus did not live from the law. He lived from His Father. Those who live spirit and life rather than from a religious life live from Jesus. Not from Jesus with additions but from Jesus as Himself.
Bound to Jesus one is always liberated and alive. Bound to anything else we are made one with a body of death. Here our are eyes are dull. We live in our heads and our Kingdom discernment is zero.
EYES THAT SEE
I’ve been with Christians who gush over Jewish rituals as if there is some hidden power in them. You would think they had found some kind of magic. But it is not. It’s dead flesh. Life comes from life, presence from presence and light from light. In Him is life and that life is the light of men. Anything else is extraneous. Additions dull the fullness of the infinite life that is Jesus in us. We get ears that are hard of hearing and eyes that find it difficult to see. Yet we do not realise that we are as blind as a marrow.
We can assert that Jesus is in us and we in Jesus. But this does not mean that we are living in His fullness or even in the Jesus who is the Son of God. We could be living in a mixture of old and new covenant assumptions – in which case Christ in us will be dimmed and we will be sons who are crippled. Our spiritual discernment will shrink to the extent that it will be difficult for us to distinguish religion from Kingdom. Attached to rites, the law and religion we will be among those who are the least spiritually discerning and most lacking in the wisdom and revelation of God. Jesus called these the bind leaders of the blind.
Rites and practices do not have value just because they are part of our tradition or perspective. Don’t be among those who have an identity because they have attached themselves to religious nonsense.
Anything that is life-giving is always aligned with the proposition that Christ alone is our life. He is the means of the Spirit of Sonship in which we live and our ability to imbue dead things with life. Your tradition and any identity you think you have is no reason to dilute the fullness of life that is found in Christ your life alone.
Life never comes from dead things no matter how beautiful or religiously precious we think they are. Neither does righteousness come from the Ten Commandments. It is the product of Jesus in us. With Christ as our life we are the righteousness of God and our name is Sons of God.
I’m not surprised that some seek life in Jewish ceremonies and Sabbaths. The new covenant is not well understood by many congregations or their pastors. There’s a reason why much of what Believers do consists of much to-ing and fro-ing, yet signifies nothing. Only the Spirit gives life. This is the spirit of Christ manifest as you and as the church.
It does not surprise me that some pastors seek to draw life from the Passover. They would be better to emphasise Easter and the resurrection that is our resurrection in Jesus. Nevertheless it is not the Easter celebration that is critical. It is Christ’s resurrection in us. Similarly, rest from the work of self-vindication and self-recommendation is found in the Sabbath who is Christ. Jesus is not Lord of a day. He is Lord of spirit and rest. To imagine that He is Lord of a day is to have entirely missed the point. Jesus is your rest and the rest for the entire world. Don’t live in shadows when the reality is Christ. He is more beautiful than any rite and more restful than any Sabbath. Get a right perspective. Get a life. Get yourself spirit and life!