The gift of Godliness in the post cross world was not an improvement on the old way. It is an absolutely new way in which our Adam is replaced with the Christ Adam – the last Adam who is the Father of the New Creation. The book of John is parallel to the book of Genesis – except that the creation John is proclaiming is the Creation that begins anew in Jesus Christ.
The new and living way into God’s presence depicted in Hebrews is the person of Jesus. In other places this ‘new and living way’ is the person of Jesus, expressed theologically as the vicarious humanity of Christ, which itself can accurately be expressed as Christ for you and Christ as you. John depicted this as ‘Christ come in our flesh’ – the reality that differentiates between the gospel of Jesus and the apostles and a gospel diluted by the spirit of antichrist.
COME IN YOUR FLESH
THE VICARIOUS HUMANITY of Christ is the meaning of grace as expressed in Paul’s ‘Christ your life’. Your life in God is not you doing the best as yourself with Jesus help as N. T Wright and others with distorted gospels would have it. GRACE IS CHRIST’S LIFE AS YOU. This is the apostle’s doctrine, the teaching of the Church Fathers and the expression of any Christianity that is not an distortion of the truth.
The narrow way is not narrow minded. But it is exclusively Christ’s life incarnated in ours. Grace is not assistance in doing the law or keeping religion. Grace is Christ’s life as our life.
Significantly Jesus described this way as the Narrow Way. It is narrow because it is counter intuitive. Human beings, glued to salvation by works, construe Christ’s way as a modification of the old covenant or what Gregory Boyd calls a ‘Christianised version of the knowledge of good and evil.’ Sons of God live in the Son of God.
Should we find ourselves doing the law with Jesus help - a monstrous distortion of the gospel – we may find ourselves in Godly frustration. But this discomfort may lead to us finding the glorious liberty of Christ.
Religion is not Godliness. Christ our life is Godliness. This is us as the manifestation of His incarnate Spirit. In this oneness we are alive in His life and advancing in His righteousness.
Revisionism brings about a weak and stifling gospel because it retains the validity of the law – a folly which suffocates the effectiveness of the person of Jesus to transform us by His Spirit and BE US. ‘Christ our life’ is the real meaning of Jeremiah’s concept of the law written on our hearts.
The law in our hearts, hardens the core of our being and infects the soul with an attitude of judgment. The law in our heart turns some people into micro-managers and others into dead trees.
As a dead tree we can still live in a pseudo - gracious outlook. Except that our ‘grace’ is the product of our lack of spiritual discernment that is the effect of the law induced separation from God mindset.
We can if we choose, attempt to deny the radical nature of this grace for the sake of retaining our personal beliefs in which we find security and an identity. And at the same time posing as being non-sectarian and entitled to our gospel. Doing this while imagining that OUR GOSPEL is one among many. But there is one Gospel and not many. Any ‘other gospel’ curses our lives.
CURSING THE SELF AND THE CHURCH
‘But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!’ Gal 1.8 NIV. The insidious nature of this curse is found in the fact that the faux godliness of the law appears as a blessing while withering the spirit and confusing the soul. The law of Moses was never intended to survive the cross. Puny as it was to stimulate life it was replaced, not by rules, regulations, or a compendium of micro-management in law-obsessed books on self-effort or the kind of self-effort implied by N T Wright. But you joy is found in Christ in you and in Jesus multiplied in people. Incarnated with the trinity we not only live God’s life in us, but we are nourished and mentored as sons by their indwelling.
OLD BUS/NEW PAINT
Several years ago, a friend told me he saw a picture in His mind of an old bus with a new coat of paint. Our group had recently ‘come into the Spirit’ as it is called and was enjoying the excitement of the anointing and the gifts. We believe we can experience what was normal to Jesus by way of words of knowledge and gifts of healing and regard ‘cessationism’ as the non-gospel it is.
NEW COVENANT BUS
However, Jesus lived from His Father, not from the law. He and His Father were one. Today we have a totally new bus. We have union with God as a result of the cross and we and our Father are one. Some believers need more than new paint. They need the new covenant. We do ourselves a dis-service by travelling in this old bus that Father abandoned when He put our Adamic life to death and gave us life in Jesus: The new creation.
NOT A REPAIR SHOP
Michael Kapler writes, “The Mosaic law could not bring forgiveness of sins, life, or freedom and was never meant to be mixed with what could bring us these blessings. God did not provide us with a “repaired” covenant as though it were an automobile in need of being fixed. The covenant did not need fixing—the people were the problem. But repairing the people isn’t what was called for—what they needed was to die and to receive a brand new life.
The old vehicle would have to be sent to the scrap yard, as God provided a brand new replacement that would have an everlasting guarantee.
The old bus Israel was traveling on brought them to a stop at the cross, where they would be allowed to transfer to an entirely different and brand new, luxurious bus. To be perfectly clear: it’s not called the updated covenant, it’s not the amended covenant, or the revised covenant—God said this would be a new covenant. The word new here means fresh and unused” .(1)
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee (Kindle Locations 448-449). Kindle Edition.