THE REAL SELF CAN NOW LIVE IT UP
The new covenant delivers a level of freedom and holiness that many would not have thought possible. The reason is not only that Jesus is ‘in place of you’ in every possible way. The reason is that He Himself is your life – that He comes to live in your flesh by the Spirit and impart Himself to you. The new covenant life is an incarnated life. Without this kind of life, we are not born again.
Christ in you is just as real as the son of God incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth.
Many Believers have not heard of the incarnation or if they had it was just a word with little meaning. Others have trained for the ministry and most were not taught what the incarnation is and that it is the foundation of new creation life. Many do not know that no men and women of God were incarnated in the Old Testament – because there had yet been no Christ. The fact that Christ would become our life is the reason why all would be greater than John the Baptist.
The Christ of God came in the flesh as Jesus of Nazareth. In the new testament age, The Christ of God comes in the flesh of you. ‘Christ come in our flesh’ is not just a bunch of religious words. It’s the incarnation. In the incarnation the atonement bears fruit and the life of God is expressed as you and as us. Thomas Torrance writes, “We are united to Christ who is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, and participate in the risen Humanity of Christ so that we are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.” This is more than being ‘Christ-like’.
If it were not for the incarnation – the words ‘Be holy as God is holy’ would be but a piety and an irritation. But they are real for us because the reality for this state of being is Christ Himself. He is our life. Theologians call this the vicarious humanity of Jesus. This is a fuller description of grace. It’s the fact that Jesus is ‘all things us’ towards God, ourselves and the world in which we are called to have an adventure as a manifestation of Him.
You would not be odd if you imagined that Jesus came to rule over the knowledge of good and evil and enable us to master it with His help. This is the assumption of much teaching and what large segments of Christianity stand for – the upholding of morality. But that’s not it. It may be the effect, but it is not the Kingdom Jesus began. The Kingdom that would arise following His resurrection and the Spirit Out-Pouring would be the new creation – His life as ours.
This life is available to all today. It’s way ahead of using the Bible to proof-text our prejudices and poor teaching – like the climate change denier who cherry-picks history to convince himself that all things continue as they were. Christ our life belongs to all and can be acquired by all. The Kingdom is not about behaviour modification. It’s about His life becoming our life – because we have agreed that this is so, and because we rest in the reality of this truth. This is your divine rest from human restlessness.
A CONTRACTUAL PERFORMANCE
Michael Kapler writes, “Like many believers, I had developed the desire to perform in a way that I perceived would be pleasing to God. But I was always starting over, trying again and falling short of whatever imaginary goal I thought God intended for me to achieve. This didn’t apply to just Bible reading, but various aspects of what I thought were meant to be a part of the life of a believer. I hadn’t yet realized this was the very thing Jesus came to deliver us from.” (1)
CLOUD WITHOUT RAIN
The Body of Christ is more than a collection of denominations with a common life in Christ. It is a spiritual communion and a state of being that belongs to those who live neither from Adam or Moses or from the law but from their oneness with the trinity. This is the church of the Incarnation.
Jesus came to deliver us from religion which means He came to set us free from that which many of us hold dear. I mean our sense of entitlement and insurance policy. Living from Christ our life, could be scary if we have made a life from religion. Like all that we thought was solid has disappeared. And it has. But the way has been opened for us to be born again. We are either crucified with Christ or we are not. We are either continuing in Adam and his tree of self-flagellation or being catapulted into new life as a result of the cross and the Christ life that is our life. Christ has come in our flesh. His life is our life and we are the expression of Him.
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee (Kindle Locations 184-187). Kindle Edition.