‘Dust to dust and ashes to ashes,’ no longer describes the nature of human life. We came from the womb of God and we are resurrected into the power of an infinite life. We came from life and we are headed to life. When Paul talks about Jesus He talks about the power of an infinite and eternal life. It never fades. So if a series of fade-outs are characteristic of our journey it could be that we have not become part of that life that will never pall or diminish.
‘Who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life’ Heb 7.16 ESV.
Some of us never get to be messengers of the New Creation because we are ministers of the old covenant. Spiritual ventures can begin with much promise with signs of the Holy Spirit and evidence of his infilling. They can last for a time, even several years before they fade and become dormant. What started with a bang ends in a whimper and a cloud of un-life and earnest effort attempting to revive what was once filled with promise. At the start, holy Spirit comes to draw our attention to Jesus and the unveiling of our Father and His goodness. The Spirit’s intention is to dismiss misunderstanding and bring to light the reality that is Christ; a reality that involves our joining to and union with Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever.
The new covenant is no more and no less than union with God, with no mediating features like the law or religious rites and forms. God Himself is now our fellowship and our life.
As exciting as the gifts and presence of Holy Spirit are, they are not the foundation of the Kingdom. Neither are they the root of our life. The root is Christ and the soil is our life in God. To be specific, our spirit and life comes from our unobstructed access to and membership in the Holy Family. Kingdom life is God’s people rooted as trees in the heart of the trinity.
Not only are we in and with the trinity by the Spirit of Christ. They have made their home in us so that we live in Father in the spirit of sonship. The big deal of the new testament is not the Spirit and His gifts. Not primarily. These are secondary and the effect of our union with God.
The big deal is oneness with God. The key is ‘YOU ARE THE CHRIST.’ Jesus of Nazareth is God, man and the union of God with man. In Jesus we are one with heaven. Through the Spirit of Christ Jesus comes among us in everyday life.
This union achieved by Jesus for us is the primary reality in which all who advance the Kingdom live, move and have their being. We are talking about the incarnation – Christ in us – the powerhouse of Kingdom life. And so Paul says, ‘Not I but Christ.’ This is not about us disciplining ourselves to ‘keep close to Jesus.’ It is about us resting in the fact that Jesus is our life. Paul says,
‘I have been crucified with Christ and I NO LONGER LIVE, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ Gal 2.20 NIV.
Far from being a discipline of self-crucifixion and personal subjugation this gospel is simply Christ’s life as our life. That’s all it is and that’s all it needs to be, since its effect is to join us to the infinity that is God. Human beings have an unfortunate capacity to revise this down to self-effort, to reinstall the law in subtle ways and attempt to substitute Christ our life with one or many eternalities. But these externalities smother the very life that they seek. Just so we are left in no doubt, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ will not grow out of a law-old covenant culture that separates us from God. J.Austin Sparks writes,
'The difﬁculty, which we shall be meeting all along the way, will be ourselves. We shall ﬁnd that the main obstacle, the main enemy to our fullness in Christ, to all that the new creation means, will be ourselves in some way. It will either be our self-occupation - which is but a form of trying to be something ﬁne, something in ourselves, which will bring satisfaction to God - or it will be our self-effort in service. It will be this natural life of ours cropping up in some direction or another, and as it crops up it will cut clean in between us and the ‘all things” which are of God, and we shall ﬁnd that it is ourselves which brings us up short.’
We can no more make the Kingdom of God come out of the law and old covenant than we can saddle up a dead horse and ride it away. But anyone can choose the spirit of life over this body of death by living in the reality of Christ our life.