A message needs to be simple. More than this it needs to be the truth – which in our case means to be the truth of God’s reality and ours. Any divergence from the truth no matter how small detracts from our life in God – which is why we need the version of Christ’s Gospel that is the Christ of God and hence life to the full (without limit).
Significantly Paul writes that scripture is inspired by God and is useful for training in righteousness. Paul does not say scripture is ‘God.’ Jesus Christ is God and is the living word. Recently I wrote of the way scripture can be abused by bending it to fit our perspectives instead of the living way of allowing scripture to be the avenue of leading us into oneness with the ‘being’ of God. The citing of scripture as ‘words’ is not the same as scripture as a manifestation of the living word, which it is when we are alive in the incarnation. It is this light and life – the Word that makes our discernment sharper than a two edged sword.
‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ Heb 4.12 NIV. There’s a living word and there is a dead word.
In Him the Bible finds its meaning and correct application. This is the ‘Jesus Lens.’ Independently of Jesus and if attached to a partisan agenda, the text will not be the light of God. Many false gospels and cults began with ‘Bible Studies’ – studies that wrongly divide the word of truth and bind people into aberrant doctrines, so subtly sculpted that people are convinced that their teachings are Bible based.
‘Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth’ 2 Tim 2.15 NLT. The application of an old covenant frame to the new testament will not correctly explain the world of truth. A ‘good worker’ is alive in the incarnation.
The main revelation of God is Jesus Christ. I upset a woman once by writing that the Bible is not the main revelation of God, and that Bible Study does not always produce sons and daughters of God. Of course, the religious mind thinks it does – because in the religious mindset, the Bible is equated to law, at least a new testament version of it. But there is no law in the new covenant age – other than Jesus who is the law of the spirit of life. He is not words on stone, or words on a page for that matter. He is Himself – the son of Man and Son of God manifesting through you and others for whom He is life. The main revelation is Jesus Christ. The Bible is correctly interpreted when our Jesus is the Christ of God.
YOU AS A LIVING WORD
Jesus never deified the scriptures. Much to the annoyance of the scribes He declared that the scriptures led to Him. Unless we are immersed in THE BEING OF JESUS, as is our privilege, the scriptures are a dead letter. The scriptures are never alive unless they are subordinate to and filled with the Living Word. If we are creatures of the letter we will not be alive either, since all forms of the letter kill the life of God that could have been expressed as us. The life of God is expressed in its ultimate form as the life of Jesus Christ. It is expressed in you as Jesus come in your flesh.
‘You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts’ 2 COR 3.3 NIV.
As Paul urged in Galatians, we are a manifestation of Christ in the Spirit, but we are a worker and a slave as an expression of the law.
Since Jesus is the living word the basic text of the new testament age is Jesus Christ Himself. Thus, when Christ is our life, we are as Paul said, ‘a letter.’ In other words, a living expression of Jesus. Since Christ is your life you are part of the multiple expression of Jesus as the church. Sons and daughters emerge out of their baptism into Christ. You are not baptised into an ideology or into Christianity. You are baptised into Christ and as a result you are born into the community of the sons and daughters of God.
We have no more chance of being reborn as sons through the efforts of the law than your clothes can become a new you as a result of a clever cycle in the washing machine. The life we get in Christ is much more that a life contrasted with the negativity of sins and sinning. It is life as a self-perpetuating ‘aliveness’ in itself – the infinite life of God manifesting as you. His life expressed as you because you are part of God and God is part of you.
On the topic of the vicarious humanity of Christ, Christian Kettler writes,
‘The obedience of Christ is not limited to the first century. His obedient, priestly life continues today, and neglecting that can lead to a mishandling often of the text of the New Testament, Torrance contends. In fact “the basic text” of revelation is not the New Testament but “the obedient humanity of Jesus Christ.” Apostolic tradition functions rightly when it recognizes the continuous life of Jesus Christ, his living priesthood, and the New Testament text as an indispensable yet relative “glass” or “window” into the living humanity of Christ.’ (1)
(1) Kettler, Christian D.. The Breadth and Depth of the Atonement: The Vicarious Humanity of Christ in the Church, the World, and the Self: Essays, 1990–2015 (p. 73). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.