There are mean versions of the gospel that are ‘no gospel at all’. Inmates of these un-gospels are often miffed when Christ’s Real Gospel is revealed because they sense correctly that the entitlement they thought they had on account of their fundamentals, distinctives and self-crafted grace, means nothing for them or their denomination.
Bonface Odhiambo observes that “The law is a system which was added because of transgression, it’s a system which came in to make man discover sin. This system had an authority behind it which ensured it was adhered to and enforced.
Gal 3:19 tells us the angels ordained this system through Moses. This system does not know forgiveness, or mercy or grace contrary to God’s nature. It demands punishment to every violation. The law does not in any way portray the nature of a loving, caring, merciful, gracious and forgiving God. Let’s separate the two and embrace the God of love, He is not schizophrenic. If sin were greater than His love then redemption could be impossible.” (1)
That’s not all that is wrong with the law and old covenant. It contains people in a contract – obey and live. In these auspices, believers try to be good people. But their ‘obeying’ is mostly formulaic and a contract that they have devised between themselves and God. It usually involves one or two iconic behaviors peculiar to their religion. Yet this small attachment to the law, robs them of spirit and life. It’s a tree but a dead tree because it grows from the garden of the knowledge of good and evil.
The new covenant is Christ’s resurrection alive in you. There is nothing prophetic about old covenant ministry. It is revisionist, innately Adamic and steeped in the fall with an obsession with maintaining the status quo. What is this status and this quo? It is the drive to be like God from a position of separation – to strain after a God even though all of Him is ours and all that is us has been positioned already in Him.
WHAT’S OLD IS NOW
In Ancient times Baal worship had managed to deify human flesh. Similar to some of the leanings among American evangelicals, ancient Israel had melded the worship of God with the worship of Baal. Yet we should not imagine that this spiritual pollution is only about material well-being. It is the continuation of the notion that God is not enough, cannot be fully trusted so we must add in a tincture of our own flesh and make a virtue of our religiose carnality. Not open carnality of course. But the subtle religious carnality of the law melded to Jesus. In another context this has been called the ‘one ring that binds them all.’ This pot of soup comes from the Enemy and is a subtle witchcraft.
FORMS OF GODLINESS
Many traditions are not prophetic. Merely traditional, they are clubs of conformity and merchants of externality. Some attempt revival by adding the Holy Spirit like a super-charger to their law-riddled old covenant engine. Nothing prophetic about this. It’s the same old, same old. It lasts for a time before fading because it has no root – no root because it seeks to maintain itself in the Adamic separation of old covenant existence - but with Jesus’ help. But Jesus lives to enliven what He has done at the cross. Not what once sufficed. Not what had been put in place as a stop-gap to lead to Christ and prepare the way for the incarnation of the trinity in all who believe.
A LIFE THAT BLINDS TO GLORY
The genuinely prophetic draws and propels us beyond our fences and contrived artificial identities into the new thing God did in the cross and the new covenant. It undoes the darkness that binds by binding us exclusively to Jesus.
Jesus is our relation to God. Christ our life means Jesus is our guarantee of oneness with God in every possible way. One with God we are one with Christ. You don’t have to earn Christ before you can avail yourself of His salvation. Atonement means that in Christ you are one with God and incarnated with God in God’s fullness.
KEEPING CLOSE TO JESUS BEING WORTHY OF JESUS
Arminianism is a perversion that many have absorbed as their religion. It’s a subtle ruse of the Enemy because it is so widely held as sound doctrine. In Thomas Torrance’s words, Arminianism assumes that that “All that God provided was the possibility of salvation for all in the cross, and that each person has to translate that general possibility into actuality in their own case.
“But that is to land in Arminanism and to teach that ultimately everyone is their own saviour, in so far as they have to co-operate with Christ for their salvation. But if all that has been done in the death of Christ is the creation of the possibility of salvation, then who can be sure of their salvation, since everything depends in the last analysis on human weakness?” A cloud of darkness, which is a cloud of death, can be seen in the Spirit around stubborn resistors to new covenant light. What is the light? God made our life His and His life our own. He is our life in Jesus. We are the life and light of God when Jesus is our life. The life of God in His fullness in Jesus is ours when we embrace the gift of His incarnation; about adding a dob of Holy Spirit to innately flawed beliefs and futile usages. A modern parable of this is Scott Morrison’s attempt to appear to be doing with a tax package while leaving a failing structure unchanged. Adding spiritual gifts to the law and old covenant is the same kind of furphy. Richard Rohr has some poignant things to say about the marketing of old religion as life.
“The trouble is, all of us still believe in the dirty rotten system. As long as we believe in the dirty rotten system, we're going to have problems. For we don't question it. We think we can genuflect before the system, go say our private prayers. [ or retain our little perspective] But it won't work. There is probably no one more truly radical than real persons of prayer because they are beholden to no ideology or economic system, but only to God. Both church and state are honestly threatened by true mystics. They can't be bought off because their rewards are elsewhere.” (2)
God and His friends can rely on any person who is not a system person. They will not be a party to placing the system above God or the spin of putting about the illusion that the system and Jesus is the same thing. They are the pure in heart. Their loyalty is not diluted by other husbands, or two masters. As a result they see God. They discern the Kingdom and what is not the Kingdom. They can see the difference between wheat and tares. They are the prophetic watchmen of the Kingdom; the Elijah’s who oppose the Jezebel spirit. They are the hope of spiritual Israel.
(1) Odhiambo, Bonface. A book titled, "IN THE EYES OF GRACE": Unveiling Truth as God sees . Kindle Edition. (2) IBID.