REALITY IS LIFE
‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword’ Matt 10.34 NIV.
CONFRONTED BY GRACE
The onset of God’s grace in Revival and new life does not immediately bring peace. Jesus came as peace and life and caused the custodians of religion, vexation and trouble. When the opportunity to have more of God is presented by circumstances and apostolic teaching many cast in their lot with the form of godliness they know rather than embrace the approach of the greater fullness of Jesus they could know.
Writing of the pre-cross experience of Israel, Thomas Torrance observes that
“The Word of God pressed hard upon Israel throughout its history, informing its worship with the knowledge of the living God and impregnating its way of life with divine truth, thereby evoking obedience but also provoking disobedience, in order to lay hold upon both as the instrument of its ever-deepening penetration into the inner recesses of Israel's being and soul and understanding, thus preparing Israel as the matrix for the Incarnation of the Word in Jesus Christ.” (1)
To this day many have not received the fullness of Christ and Himself as their life. Some learn of the Spirit and attempt to glue her to their old covenant religion – with mixed success. Believers who try to live in the law and the Spirit live conflicted lives. Adam/Moses and Jesus cannot be successfully blended.
Life in the Spirit is Christ as you and never bits of the law plus the gifts as you.
A HOLISTIC ONENESS
A godly mode of life before the cross and the incarnation could set up conflicts in the spirit and the soul because humans had not entered their oneness with God – the oneness that would flow from Christ our life – from God’s life becoming our life because we had become part of God and God had become part of us.
Mixing spirit with flesh (law) has the same effect in the post cross age. I either fades out and leaves Believers in apathy and torpor or generates conflict and nonsense prophecy.
LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
The cross had real consequences for the fall. It heralded the resurrection of humanity, the undoing of Adam and the incorporating of all who would believe into the life that is Christ. The cross drew a line between a life in Adam’s flesh and a new life in Christ’s Spirit.
As Paul said, ‘The law was a schoolmaster to lead to Christ.’ The law was not Christ but it was a pathway of a general and religious kind. A shadow and not the reality that Paul delineated and affirmed as, ‘The reality is Christ.’
We are real as sons and daughters of God when Christ is our life. Less so when we are not. We are in the Spirit and when God is incarnated in our being. In the flesh when we are tied to the law.
FUTILITY OF ‘DOINGS’
‘Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ’ Col 2.17 NIV.
THE REALITY IS ALIVE
Even in a religious framework crafted to fit the era of the knowledge of good and evil, God was preparing the way for the completeness of the revelation of Himself that would come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
The revelation of Jesus to ourselves penetrates religion when our allegiance to Him is unconditional and when He is our one master. The revelation of real life in Christ our life, comes when we are immersed in our baptism into the trinity in Jesus Christ. By Believing Jesus we are baptised into life. There’s a reason why the river of life flows out of the throne of God. It flows out of the trinity.
REALITY IS LIGHT
‘This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all’ 1 John 1.5 NIV. This is the light that is ours when Christ is our life. It’s the light that is not ours when mixture* is our life.
In this baptism of oneness that we have received in Christ, we know God as God is and we know ourselves as we are because we are immersed in Light and Life. As well as this we advance from religious thinking into spiritual discernment.
The law leaves us estranged from God. A culture of legalism sets up opposition to God in the form of alternative gospels that rationalise law-keeping and make a religion from it. But such communities of faith are communities of self-justification and estrangement from God.
“Israel persisted in trying to break free from its destiny as the servant of God's reconciling love for all men. [God’s purpose of Israel] had the effect of intensifying Israel's recalcitrance and sharpening the tension between man and God latent in it.
In that state of affairs the mediation of divine reconciliation to all mankind in and through the people of Israel could be worked out only in the heart of its conflict with God in such a way that its deep-seated human estrangement from God became the very means used by God in actualising his purpose of love to reconcile the whole world to himself …
It was their sin, their betrayal, their shame, their unworthiness, which became in the inexplicable love of God the material he laid hold of and turned into the bond that bound them to the crucified Messiah, to the salvation and love of God for ever.” (2)
God used the atrocity of the cross and the murder of life to gift us life by drawing us into Himself in the person of Jesus. God can use ignorance and obstinacy as a means of entering our darkness. But we need to ensure that our actions are not the effect of our quenching the Spirit of Truth.
* Mixture commonly refers to a mixture of old and new covenant living – a mixture of law and spirit.
(1) Thomas Torrance, The mediation of Christ.