Clarity begins at home. Knowing what the Gospel is and what it means is important for drinking from a full glass, rather than a glass half full. The Lord’s Table is less an occasion to mourn the cross and all the reason to celebrate His life as ours. We eat Christ because He is our life in every way.
J Baxter Kruger observes, “When you start with legal holiness, you have eyes only for the cross, and you never see that in Jesus Christ, nothing less than the eternal Trinitarian life of Father, Son and Spirit is being lived out inside human existence. You never really get the staggering meaning of the incarnation.” In other words we live in a daze.
IN THE FULLNESS OF FULLNES
Living in the fullness of the incarnation is life to the full: The smothering of this fullness is what John was referring to in the following scripture warning us about deceivers – the suffocation of Christ come in us by the Spirit - by the an obsession with the law.
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’2 John 1.7 NIV.
The living Christ has come to us in our flesh by the Spirit. This is the core and the engine of the Kingdom of God: Christ multiplied in all who believe but not in those who believe a lie. The effect of large scale lying by pretend leaders has become painfully obvious. Accommodation to lies in our faith is even more disastrous for ourselves and the world.
LOOKING FOR SPIN
Unless Christ in us is our reality, we will always be looking for some addition to Christ, some icon to which we attribute sanctifying power. Some artifice that we persuade ourselves and have as a gift to others – that would impart to them extra life, if they would only see. But there is one Christ, one grace and one life that us more than sufficient. Such additions must be defined as false – as in false christs, because this is what they are.
How subtly clever. The manufacture of false godliness through persuading Believers to attach themselves to what God has left behind at the cross. The anti-christ spirit seldom attacks Christ head on. This would dismay the Believers. The father of lies is more subtle. He plants tares that emasculate the real Christ by substituting a lesser christ with a lesser gospel - like a law plus Jesus mixture. Which is why Paul wrote,
DIFFERENT GOSPEL ADDICTS
‘I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ’ Gal 1.6,7 Denominations and ministries have been made out of ‘no gospel at all.’ Cunningly devised fables multiply themselves like viruses of unlife, substituting real life with pseudo-life and rendering our spirit and life dormant. These aberrations surface as ‘other gospels’ and negations of the cross, the incarnation and our already achieved union with God. False gospels are the product of false facts. A kind of GM doctrine that looks the same but has the capacity to modify you – and not in a good way.
Jesus named Himself as the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the new and living way who is the way to the Father. Paul called Jesus our life, meaning that God’s Son is our unification and oneness with Father and with heaven. Theologians have elaborated on this as the vicarious humanity of Jesus. Here Christ is all and in all. He is the one mediator between humanity and God. In Jesus we and Father are one. Jesus Christ is absolutely sufficient in every way. Anything added to Jesus and His gospel or subtracted from Him and The Plan is a tumour that debilitates Believers from the inside and results in the death of their soul and their spirit. We do not belong to the one loaf when we have another christ and another gospel.
A useful analogy can be found in a line from Star Trek Discovery. ‘The Klingons are like cancer cells, constantly dividing. To root them out, you must destroy the tumour at its source.’ What is the tumour in the Body of Christ. The tumour is any reversion to the body of death; any distortion of the gospel of Jesus and the apostles and any dilution of the atonement wrought for humanity and the vicarious humanity of Jesus in regard to every possible aspect of our relationship to God. What was the body of death Paul spoke of? It was the law and the old covenant.
KINGDOM OF LIFE
In Christ you an expression of the trinity by the name of George or Sandra. This is as superior to legalism as an eagle is from a grub. The antidote to the tumour and body of death that is the fall revisited - is the person of Jesus who is life in Himself. “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” John 14.20. When this happens we cease to be dead folks walking and become live folks leaping. Interwoven with God we are life to the full. We are life, love, rest and peace. We are the expression of God.