‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6,63 NIV.
Some folks are very much alive in spirit and outlook. Their person is not just there. They are alive in what John named spirit and life. This is the life that Jesus was on account of being one with His Father. It’s our life too when we live in oneness with Him.
Some folk take satisfaction in having mastered the economic system. But many have no real inner self, and no inner life to speak of. What we worship is what we put our faith in. Who we value is who we become. Harry and Megan will speak on social issues and have some effect because they are celebrities. But you can have more effect in your sphere in oneness with Jesus and releasing His spirit and life.
What we believe makes a big difference to our lives. Particularly about God and ourselves. We can have a dry and shrivelled soul that is the product of ideology or we can have a robust, lively, flourishing soul that has been birthed, and matured in Jesus Christ. At a family gathering I attended this year a man said to me, ‘Jesus Christ is Everything.’ That which we have been marinated in, is what we become as men and women. If Jesus is our life and not some figure of our religion we can expect to be truly alive.
This is why we need a real Christ and not a false christ of the kind that results from our imaginations and bad teaching.
Jesus spoke words of spirit and life because He was spirit and He was truly alive. In Jesus you are a life-giving spirit because Christ has come in your flesh.
But the kind of flesh you have – by which I mean the nature of your being - depends on the kind of Christ you envision.
A FALSE CHRIST
A christ who is the product of the law is a different christ to a Christ who is the Christ of God. A christ thought to be subordinate to the law with the role of Upholder of the Law is less than the Christ of God and is actually a false christ. Jesus was one with Father, subordinate to His Father and the expression of His Father. If Jesus was subordinate to the law, He was not God and the law was god. But abstractions are never God, much less the Christ of God. The reduction of Jesus to a figure of the law is a serious heresy and a false gospel.*
Jesus asserted that He and His Father were one. Because they were. Jesus lived out of His Father. He came to reveal His Father as He was and lived to proclaim Himself as the way to our Father, Jesus is the truth about truth and the life that is life which is real and unlimited. John wrote of Jesus as the logos – the One in whom all things find their meaning and purpose and He in which all things hold together. Ray Anderson asserts that, “Everything that God is, is revealed to us through Jesus.” (1)
If we have adopted a jesus who lives to support the law we have embraced a figure who did not bring the knowledge of good and evil to a halt, but a figure who sustains the tree of death in a perverse gospel. Such a christ is a false christ.
The truth is better than this aberration. Jesus undid Adam and all he began and replaced him with Himself as the new Father of the human race. Thus our lives are now in God through Jesus Christ.
‘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 NIV.
If we have absorbed the notion of a law-mongering god, we will have denuded God of Himself and consigned ourselves to perpetual nakedness – for only in the Christ of God, who is our life in every way, are we clothed in righteousness and glory.
You are fully human and fully alive because your being grows out of the Family of the Trinity. But you are never whole if you have invented yourself as a being that grows from the abstractions of the law and its brother, the knowledge of good and evil.
Preaching under the knowledge of good and evil may be sincere but these dissertations are lacking in spirit and life. Ray Andersons explains why. It’s a universal truth that the letter kills.
“We’re back to a kind of a dualism, as Thomas F. Torrance (my former teacher) liked to say, in which you separate the concept, the doctrine of God from the act and being of God. Suddenly we lost touch with that [with the reality that everything that God is, is revealed to us through Jesus]. That’s why legalism and formalism and all of those things begin to “take the place” of the grace of God as a living reality.”(2)
This is why containment in the old covenant is the natural bedfellow of legalism and oneness theology (denial of the trinity). It fosters a religion of abstractions. In this culture obedience becomes observances and spiritual gifts become formulations of the letter that kills. With Christ as our life He becomes John, Jill and Mabel. Believers become the expression of Christ and the Face of Jesus.
If we become proponents of the letter, as we are bound to do if we live from a law framework, we fall into the trap of breaking truth apart from God. Once we do this we can easily convince ourselves that we are part of His body. Much of our religion will consist of juggling words. But words are idols when they are separated from the being of God and ourselves.
If we are bold and humble enough to leave behind a bed of deceit that has propped up our ego, we can live in the simplicity and comprehensiveness of Christ our life. We are interwoven with the trinity and they with us.
You can live in externalities and call this your faith. Then again you can be a person who has moved from mere belief to the actual inner experience of God with the result that you will irrigate dry place with His Presence in you. It’s the inner experience of God that produces the genuine community life that is the church of Jesus multiplied.
* The inclusion of the law in the Gospel that Jesus began is an erroneous inclusion – a patch of catheads in what could have been a garden of your peace and growth into your glory in Jesus.