The new birth is much more than we have taken it to be. It’s much more than ‘coming to Christ’ and certainly more than abandoning old sins to take up new virtues. It’s coming to the end of a life near God but as yet independent of Him. Richard Rohr might call it the frustration realised in reaching the limits of the first part of life so that we are ready to risk all by advancing into the next and most exciting part – our new covenant experience of Christ our life. There’s an excellent example of this cited in a wonderful book entitled, ‘Trinitarian Conversations.’
“There’s a wonderful story about Major Ian Thomas. He became a Christian when he was in high school, and he became a whirlwind of activity for Christ in high school and all through college. This went on for about seven years until he burned himself out.
One night in desperation, in despair, he got down on his knees by his bed and he prayed. He knew that God was going to be terribly disappointed that he’d reached this point of crisis in his life, and so he said, “Lord, for the last seven years, I’ve done everything in my power to live my life for you. I tried to bear witness in the gospel, I tried to being faithful, but I’m sorry, I just don’t have what it takes to be a Christian. I’m sorry, I quit.”
Thomas said, “I thought that Christ was going to be very disappointed.” But he said, “No sooner than those words left my mouth, I sensed Christ breathe a great sigh of relief. It was as if Christ was saying to me, “for seven years, with great dedication and misguided zeal, you’ve been trying to live a life for me that only I can live through you, and finally, I’m in business.” Thomas went back and read the New Testament, and he was amazed at how much there is about this in the New Testament. “It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Or in John 15, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If the branch remains in me it bears much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.” (1) Law, being separation from God propagates ‘nothing religion.’
WAY THAT IS ALIVE
The Lord’s Table illustrates incarnation in which Jesus becomes us by the Spirit. John used the words Christ come in our flesh and Paul called it Christ our life. When a man and a woman are married they become one in spirit, soul and body. The union of a man and a woman produces new life just as the union of Jesus with the Eve of the Church multiplies sons of God. Union is the reality of Kingdom life. Any form of separation lived as ‘our religion’ is a fraud perpetrated on the people of God.
Jesus is the new and living way because He is the way of life that is not the deceit of the knowledge of good and evil that supposes godliness in separation from God. His way is Godliness one with you and Godliness as you.
Jesus is not a more successful way of doing Moses in us. He is not the way of doing the law in us. Nor is Jesus the way of being religion in us. Jesus mediates Himself directly to us which means He is the way of multiplying His life in people. This is life in the Spirit. If this is not our gospel it means we have been embroiled in ‘another gospel’ which is no gospel at all.
A LIGHT BURDEN
An experience of busyness as a Christian is not always as fruitful as we would like because it may originate in our false self instead of our true self. False self is built up from accumulated externalities. Our true self is who you are in union with our Father.
We can live an old covenant life as an active Believer and achieve drops of fruitfulness. But our results can be much less than we imagine because they lack spirit and life. Rivers of life happen when we and our Father are one. There’s a reason why the incarnation is everything. It makes us the manifestation of God and prepares a landing place for Holy Spirit. New covenant union with God is the basis of a healed life in God and the soil of the gifts.
(1) Anderson, Ray; Colyer, Elmer; Dawson, Gerrit; Deddo, Gary; Kettler, Christian; Kruger, Baxter; McKenna, John; McSwain, Jeff; Newell, Roger; Young, Paul. Trinitarian Conversations, Volume 1: Interviews With Ten Theologians (You're Included) (p. 32). Grace Communion International. Kindle Edition. THE NEW BIRTH. GO HERE.