We can’t just invent a relationship with God because we won’t trust Him enough to believe what we have been given. This was the Supposition that became the fall. ‘Actually, Adam and Eve, you are not enough. You can be more than you are if you take it into your own hands to be like God.’ That was the lie and it still is the lie – the lie of watered down gospels and the lie of aberrant gospels whose origin is the same place as the original lie. Lies rob us of life. Christ Himself is our life.
A gospel of moralism is theft. A law centered gospel is a lie.
‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10 NIV. Notice that Christ’s Gospel is Himself and His life. Not some ideology, religiosity or moral program. Godliness is the effect of Christ our life. Not the cause of it.
God never abandoned His daughters and sons. Although estranged from God in their minds, the plan was still in place. A plan involving a living way of ensuring that Father would enjoy the companionship of sons and daughters God created to share God’s joy in being alive.
Before the advent of Jesus Christ, God put in place a covenant of grace. Gracious in that it was made in the realisation that Israel’s affirmation of ‘All that the Lord has said, we will do,’ could never be carried out. Not by them.
“This remarkable feature of the covenant was elaborately presented in the ordinances of worship that are described in the Pentateuch. Not only the general pattern of the cult but the details of the liturgy were clearly designed to bring home to the people of Israel that they were not to appear before the Face of God with offerings embodying their own self-expression.
Or representing their own naturalistic desires, or with kinds of sacrifice thought up by themselves as means of expiating guilt and propitiating God, for that was how the heathen engaged in worship, as ways of acting upon God and inducing his favour…
While the liturgy established that God in his grace provided the way of relationship, that very grace or divine provision also meant “that man may appear before him in worship with nothing in his hands but the offering or sacrifice God has graciously given him” and therefore placed the stamp of judgment upon every other offering and sacrifice.” (1)
DOORS OF GRACE
‘I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book’ Rev 22.18 NLT What applies to this prophecy applies to the kind of ‘gospel’ we purvey.
PERSON OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE
‘For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son’ Rom 8.2,3.
Today, as in ancient times, we can’t change the Gospel of Jesus and the apostles back into legalism, when He has given us the ministry of Himself in the Spirit: God incarnated into our being.
Any other mode of sacrifice, such as the sacrifice of our own works and non-peaceful agitation designed to show ourselves worthy, undoes the Sabbath that is Christ our life, substituting ourselves come in the flesh for Christ come in the flesh to be our grace and the realisation of Himself in us. Reversions to the law in the post cross age are other gospels that must be ignored even if they come from angels.
LIFE MINISTERS OR NOT
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV. We are joined to God by God’s Son and receive the life of God by the Spirit of God.
We have a new covenant in the post cross age; a covenant realised in Christ’s life as our life, symbolised by the Lord’s Table in which the bread and wine become our person in the same way that Jesus Christ becomes us by incarnating Himself into our being by the spirit of sonship.
We can ignore this if we choose thus repeating the folly of the fall in choosing our own way, rather than the new and living way that is Christ come in our flesh.
‘The ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises’ Hebrews 8.6 NIV. This promise is founded on the reality of an everlasting life.