MAKE CHRIST'S GOSPEL YOUR GOSPEL
Nearly everyone once believed the earth was flat. Those who saw that it wasn’t and told people so were first seen as heretics. Throughout the ages conservatives have opposed truth out of selfishness and laziness. Those with a love of truth and agile minds will seek truth relentlessly because they know that truth is life and that more truth is more life than we had before. Jesus is Truth.
THE POST CROSS AGE IS NOT THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL WITH JESUS’ HELP
For most of my life I never knew that there was a new covenant. Many Christians have not heard of the new covenant while many others do not understand what it is. Certainly, it is not ‘I love Jesus so much that I would not do anything to displease Him.’ But you would and we do. Others sense that if the new covenant is real then the denomination they were born into and which they live to support has no reason to exist, Since it is founded on the law – because the new covenant is always Christ in you and never the law in you.
The notion that commandment-keeping and moralism could be better than Christ our life is self-serving as well as nonsense. Self-serving because it serves the spirit of entitlement and nonsense because nothing could be more holistic than Christ’s life as our life.
NEW TESTAMENT IS DIFFERERENT
Despite the new and old testaments many think the whole Bible is truth. It is but God’s truth post cross is different to pre cross. Much of the old testament is not for you. The new testament as Christ your life is for you and for us – which is why Paul declares that if we insist on keeping the law, then Christ died for nothing (Gal 2.21). If Christ died for nothing it means that we think that we can do better by ourselves in the law than having Christ for our life. At best this is Pharisaism and at worst it is feeble-mindedness. There are versions of the gospel that make Christ irrelevant, which makes them wooden and judgmental.
CHRIST’S LIFE, YOUR LIFE
The salvation wrought by Jesus does not write the law on our hearts. Jeremiah (31.33) who wrote these words could not have known that Christ would be incarnated in our being so as to be expressed as Bill and Tom. The law on our hearts in the post cross age is not the Ten Commandments on our hearts. Christ’s righteousness in us is not that Small! Our life in Christ is Jesus expressed as us.
Only Christ in you is the hope and actuality of glory because only Christ is the expression of God and the Real You.
Michael Kepler observes, “What do you suppose would win the award for bringing the most confusion about the true meaning of the gospel than anything else? One consideration that should be put on the nomination list is the mistake of mixing portions of these two covenants together and producing doctrines equivalent to a Christian casserole or “gospel goulash.” Unfortunately, this has been a foundational aspect of many church teachings. Since believers consider the Scriptures to be God’s written Word, it is often assumed that nearly everything within both covenants is meant for them in a direct, personal way. However, a mixed concoction of the two covenants together will lead to a diluted message of what was accomplished for us at the cross.” (1)
Diluted because the quality of life that we find in Jesus is better than moralism and superior to behavior management. This quality is union with God and God’s life imbuing your life with spirit and life and the freedom to be you as a daughter and a son. Sure, union with God rids us of addictions and sins, but the core of the Gospel is the end of Adamic separation and the beginning of union with God. This fills us with spirit and life and drives out all forms of death so that we are alive and not just religious.
CHRIST IS OUR LIFE
The fact is that Christ is our life in every way. Thomas Torrance draws our attention to a legalistic and hence a false christ and its false Christianity. This is the kind of teaching that is rather common in which the Believer absorbs the idea he or she must establish themselves as worthy of Christ before they can participate in His offered salvation. It’s often expressed in the words, ‘Keeping close to Jesus’ as if anyone is more adept at keeping close to Jesus than the Jews were skilled in keeping the law. We ae not able to keep close to Jesus – unless we set for ourselves a threadbare holiness defined as some church distinctive or condemnation of gays or some moralist bandwagon that defines others as sinners and ourselves as saints.
Thomas Torrance correctly asserts that, “To preach the Gospel in that conditional or legalist way has the effect of telling poor sinners that in the last resort the responsibility for their salvation is taken off the shoulders of the Lamb of God and placed upon them… the preaching of the Gospel is not really.. good news unless it announced that in his unconditional love and grace Jesus Christ had put that human self, that ego of theirs, on an entirely different basis by being replaced at that crucial point by Jesus Christ himself.” (2) This is to say that people should be taught to believe that ‘Jesus is you’ and that Christ is our life as our representative and vicariously in every possible way. There is no link, Believer, that you must forge yourself. Christ is your union with God.
(1) Michael C Kapler, Clash of the Covenants, p.23.
(2) Thomas Torrance, The Mediation of Christ. P.93