THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM IS THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST AND THE APOSTLES
Living by a selection of moral precepts does not make us a good person. Neither does the fact that people enjoyed a conference we ran, mean that the theology we taught was the Gospel of the Kingdom. Any attachment to the law never is. Christ in us makes us a good person as He manifests His being by the Spirit into our flesh. With the Spirit of Jesus manifest as us we are able to live graciously as a human being and son of God. There's nothing moralising about the fruits of the Spirit. They are simply Christ's life manifesting as ours. THIS GOSPEL We can attend a conference and leave with a warm religious glow - unaware that some of what we heard was a serious distortion of Christ's gospel. Fortunately Jesus is always present where we seek to know Him so that nothing we do towards this end is a waste of time. But teaching a mixture of the old covenant and the new is pollution whether we like to name it as such or not. Grace and truth is always better than grace and cunningly devised fables. We are not saved by right theology, but we are not enhanced by bad theology either. We have life in what God did and in what the scriptures say. 'There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death' Prov 14. 12 NIV. The fires on the East Coast of Australia last summer were due to climate change denial and the selfishness of vested interests in lending their weight to doing nothing. Masses of people have died in the pandemic because stubborn people have decided on their version of the facts rather than objective truth. The chaos that swept Manaus (Brazil) in January — doctors performing manual ventilation on critical patients, families rushing to buy oxygen and graveyards struggling to keep up with burials — sounds like the result of a tragedy unforeseeable and unpreventable. Yet experts had warned of the danger of rising COVID-19 cases for months. And this was the second time it enveloped the Amazonian city, not the first. Conservatives live in denial because truth upsets the cocoon of ideas to which they are addicted.
People whose sense of self is tied to the status quo deny truth because they cannot cope with change. But truth is reality. Unless we can embrace it we will die spiritually or in recent cases, physically. The touchstone of truth is not what we do or believe. It is what Jesus does and what He believes about Himself and us. 'Truth' for us in not living in our version of the facts. It's living in His gospel of the Kingdom. This is the apostle's doctrine and the new covenant. We teach much about the new covenant because it is the effect of the cross and the surety of a harvest of sons and daughters of God. The new covenant is the accomplishment of God for us and the only authentic reality for the new testament age. Holy Spirit and the gifts bolted on to the old covenant and the law is not the heritage Jesus left us. He left us union with God, the interwoveness of our being with the trinity and life in the Spirit that is a function of this union. ONE RING TO BIND THEM ALL Muslims hope to build a better society by adopting principles of good living. Legalists hope to be worthy of God by adopting a selection of good works - works that often cast them in a good light, enhance their sense of entitlement and usually blind them to more subtle and extensive concepts of righteousness. We can live a subtle legalism but live as dead folks walking because we are not alive in our spirit. Fortunately, because God is a Spirit His life and truth graces us when we are in error. But it graces us more when we are in truth. Jesus stands for grace and truth. Remember that the fall and death came through lies. A small doctrinal lie is just as pernicious as a large one because it is a minister of death. Any gospel that begins with Christ and ends with the law is a lie. BUYING SALVATION Making a bond (contract) with God or with 'the gods' is the common factor in distorted religion, both pagan and Christian. The gift of God is eternal life. Jesus has earned it for us. He is our life our righteousness and the continual renewal of our spirit. EXTERNALITIES Secular politics and administration attempt to make a better society by policy and laws. Masses of people are naïve enough to think that demonstrations and marches will do something to prevent the rapes and murders by wicked people. Religion tells the Christian that Godliness come via the law. But it does not. Externalities alter the surface. Only Jesus changes the heart. Externalities and are no more able to transform our nature than putting on a new short makes you are different person. Christ our life makes a new you. Michael Kapler observes, "Over the years, I've seen many people hurt by Christian religion. These are victims who walk away from the institutional church dazed and confused, feeling the need to get out, not wanting anything to do with it any more. It's not so much that these people are angry with God; more than likely they think God is angry with them (he isn't). Most people who leave the church institution are perceived as walking away from the Lord, but truth be told, they may just be departing from the wrong message." (1) Don’t tolerate a message that is a distorted gospel. Don’t waste your life taking steps to Christ when Christ has taken steps to you and made you so close to Himself that now you are part of His communion of the trinity. There is a riddle in the Christ life that is now ours. It’s the mystery and the paradox that is being realised in you. ‘Christ our life’ means that in Him we have died to us and that in Him we have risen to our true selves as sons of God.
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee (Kindle Locations 286-289). Kindle Edition.