We have talked of the ‘Jesus Lens.’ Some time back I made a mental note of the manner in which some people I knew joined a community of faith. A common factor in the group was ‘Bible studies.’ The trouble was that ‘the gospel’ they became part of was not the gospel of the Kingdom. It was a different gospel; a gospel that captured itself in the old covenant, prolonging the fall. And supported by an unconnected jumble of out of context scriptures.
Truth is realised in the world from God’s being and is defined by what God did in Christ. There is but one Gospel in which we become the expression of Christ as ourselves. There are not many gospels. If there were there would be many christs and all of them false.
Any legitimate gospel must agree with the ‘apostles teaching.’ All real Gospels are a reflection of that which God did in Jesus and who we have become in as a result of their enterprise.
‘Rightly dividing the word of truth’ means saying what the Bible means according to God and according to the Nicaean Creed.
The lens in which truth is seen and understood is firstly Jesus and secondly Jesus of the new covenant.
There are no additional ‘gospels.’ No fresh revelations of what already is in God. Thomas Torrance assures us that, “There can be no more laying of foundations, any more than there can be other incarnations or crucifixions of Christ or rebaptism.”
Our lens is Jesus and our oneness with God is the incarnation.
The lens we use to interpret the Bible makes a big difference to how we define the Kingdom of God. The Jesus lens is the accurate lens that enables us to know the Kingdom as it is without distortion.* Yet it is also something more than the Jesus Lens. We must put Jesus in the frame of the new covenant if we are to see Him as He is, know His gospel for what that is and see ourselves as we are as a result of the work of God on our behalf.
THE UNDOING OF ADAM
If we see salvation history an uninterrupted path with the addition 0f Jesus following the cross, we will have missed the significance of what happened at the cross and how history has been radically different following the cross. The cross is the sign and the reality of the change from the Adam induced regime of the knowledge of good and evil to the Jesus instigated Kingdom of God. This Kingdom began at His death and was executed at His resurrection. The Kingdom of God has been unfolding ever since the Sunday morning that Jesus rose from the dead.
THE RE-CREATION OF YOU
The resurrection of Jesus marks the birth of the new you, the new Adam and the new creation. The new creation is the developing Kingdom of God in the incarnated sons and daughters of God.
So the era of the knowledge of good and evil is dead and the era of the Kingdom of God is up and running. We call this era the age of the new covenant. The challenge in this age is to live in the Kingdom of Christ and abandon the kingdom began by Adam. This is our deep repentance and a repentance that is ours in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
UNION WITH GOD
Not only is there no condemnation in Christ Jesus. There is no separation from God in Christ Jesus. We have union with God. This is your reality and the reality of the church built without human hands. In this age we are not trying to be Godly by doing good and avoiding the bad, with Jesus help – although many think we are. This is the age when Jesus is our life by the Spirit. No dualism here. He is in us and with us and has become us. In this age we are the manifestation of the trinity. As such we are the sons of God. This is the real meaning of life in the Spirit.
GOD ALIGNED MINDSET
We are now in God. An awareness of this determines our epistemology - how we define and organise knowledge. Living from our position in God and in the oneness that is ours in the new covenant aligns us with God’s way of seeing and OUR NEW WAY OF BEING.
Being one with God there is no dualism. No sacred and secular. There is no dichotomy between the real and the ideal. God lives in us and we become the manifestation and the expression of the person of Jesus and the trinity. A split reality died at the cross.
This has a name. Now we are THE SONS OF GOD. The big deal of this present age is that we and God are INTERWOVEN.
‘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
In the new covenant framework, life, love righteousness and joy become the expression of the fact that we have been placed in God. We are there in Spirit if not in our personal mindsets. Yet Jesus is drawing us and all things into Himself so that all that exists participates in Him and is ignited by His life. ‘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. This scripture indicates that Jesus wants us to know, understand and be what we are: One with God.
Reading: Jesus and the Undoing of Adam. * A false gospel will produce a false christ and vice versa. + This is not just about Jews and Gentiles. It’s about ontology and being and the achievement of deep union between God and the sons of God.