ONE LAW ANNULS THE SPIRIT
Stephen Crosby writes, “I have even heard some evangelicals say that we are saved by grace, but that we need the law to keep us walking in obedience. There is so much confusion and mixture on this topic. Paul said it plainly. The old covenant, and everything about it, is annulled, abolished.”
Adam/Moses are abolished in favour of Christ our life. Life in the Spirit means the person of Christ mediated to our being and expressed as us. Do you really believe words on paper are as transforming as Christ as you?
In being a mother or a father, we can do it best with the Spirit of Jesus manifesting as our person. In planning for a conference of Believers we can have the advantage of knowing what Jesus is doing now, knowing what is on His heart and knowing which piece of wisdom and revelation He wishes to pass on to His people. We can do this without effort when we are one with Jesus and as a result one with our Father. Here, by reason of our status as sons in union with Father we know what He is doing - mainly because we are one with Him in the oneness that is our in Reconciliation and new covenant living..
‘But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him’ 1 Cor 6.17 NIV.
This is our inheritance when we are sons of God in the spirit and truth of our new covenant immersion or baptism in the trinity in Christ. But not if we have been careless enough to settle for an old covenant regime of performance and religion. Here we live in the illusion of separation when we are in fact one with God in Christ.
The Kingdom of God arises from persons. It is personal, flowing from the three personed God into the persons of Believers. There is nothing generic or religious about being at the pointy end of what Jesus is doing now. It means that we are immersed in what He did at the cross and Pentecost and that we live in the superior covenant that is Christ Himself as our life.
Thus, we are in Him now. This is how we minister the NOW MESSAGE, the now wisdom and revelation of Jesus at our gatherings - rather than serving up a piece of religion that fills a space and a week-end. Sincerity or years of service do not render us sons. Being hidden in Christ does. In Christ we are in Father and He is in us. A now message of freshness and life is ministered by sons who live from Father and who as a result are fathers in the church doing what Father is doing.
ONENESS WITH CHRIST
‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ’ 1 Cor 2.16 NIV.
There is nothing optional about the new covenant. It is what God has done for us in Jesus and how we live in the Spirit of Sonship as the church. Minus the new covenant we live as workers or slaves. In the new covenant we minister as we are meant to minister - out of our uniqueness as sons of our Father in the power His Son.
The gifts of the Spirit are not the new covenant. Neither is the anointing. Both are not the Kingdom when attempted outside the new covenant. They are without root and without connection to the reality in which we are called to live in this age: Christ our life. Consequently this mode can be characterized by weakness and distortion. Gifts of the Spirit added to an old covenant mentality do not operate effectively. They eventually fade out. They are weak, and often couched in legalism. They can set up conflict in the Believer who remains unhealed yet presuming to engage in the healing of others. The law and the Spirit do not co-exist in peace!
Not a few Believers think they have departed legalism. Others - who have left behind legalistic religion for life in the Spirit are sometimes unsure if they have done the right thing. They know legalism is bad and that it stultifies. But they are not sure why. The answer is found in the new covenant. Here Christ Himself is our life. He is incarnated in us. We have union with God. We live out of Father and not from lesser fathers like celebrities, institutions or the bareness of laws. We are sons because we are joined to our Father in spirit and in truth. We are sons because we live in the Spirit of Sonship - this is the reality of our relationship with Father manifest as our life. The new covenant can be expressed succinctly as Christ our life. This is His life as our life in the Spirit - which is the only way that Christ can come in our flesh and live through all of us.
Steve Hill writes, ‘That we all tend to talk new and act old is a truism that unfortunately applies to much of the expression of charismatic community life. Many may talk about the New Covenant and believe that they are in the New Covenant, but their actions express the Old…’ They certainly do. This is seen in hierarchical leadership and the concentration of ministry in the hands of the one rather than in the many and with it the creation of dependency and the multiplication of consumers of religion. Institutionalism is the child of old covenant thinking because the institutional church is the expression of the letter rather than the Spirit.
But this ca also apply to non-charismatics. One can no more live a new creation life without the incarnation, than one can drink water that is not liquid. The new covenant is about relationship and the life of God. Its essence is union with God and God manifest in His people. It is also about the relationship of Father with His sons and the authority that Jesus wielded as the expression of His Father.
The new covenant determines how we think of church, how we live as the church and the authority in which we minister as the church. Religious affectations mean nothing. Filling a time and a space with a piece of religion means nothing. What counts is a new creation which is the continual upwelling of Father’s life in us. As such Christ our life is us and the spirit and life that flows from us in our families and in our ministry.