TO BE A LIFE-GIVING ORGAN
We need to be up to date people to be real people. The real you is who you are in Christ - not a collection of precepts - but a son of God. To do this we have to live in the Spirit - the Spirit of Christ who invests and ignites us with the life of our Father. We have the Spirit of Sonship and are sons in spirit and in truth.
A reading of the New Testament reveals that our inheritance in Christ is not a new form of morality or a different kind of law. The theme is the new and living way that Christ becomes you - the result of which you are a son in spirit and in truth, rather than a son/daughter in the letter. We are talking the holism of the new covenant, which Paul summarrases in Galatians 2.20, 21. Note carefully Paul’s declaration in verse 21, that if we are still tied to the law, then for us Christ died for nothing. It’s apparent that we can belong to the Body of Christ while living from beliefs that effectively side-line Christ. Our inheritance is incarnation: Us in God and God in us. So that we are the expression of God, which is to be sons in spirit and in truth.
It may surprise some that reading the Bible and attempting to put all that goodness into practice is not the new and living way. No its not. Reading the Bible and asking Jesus to live those values in us is the new and living way in which He is both our grace and our righteousness. We are declared righteous in Jesus and we are transformed into righteousness when we receive and embrace Jesus as our life. This is a holistic process. Never an itty-bitty endeavour originating in the knowledge of good and evil.
SONS AND DAUGHTERS
This is why the righteous life or more accurately the healed life of sonship is a life and not an endeavour. It is a rest. It is Christ as you and as a result this life, is the you as the true representation of yourself. This is life in the Spirit. If we have contained ourselves in the law we cannot live in the Spirit. If we are in the Spirit we will become the manifestation of Christ. In the law you and our Father are separated. In the Spirit of Christ, you and our Father are one.
‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ 2 Cor 5.21 NIV.
It’s pretty clear and easy to adopt if we are not a new covenant denier and locked into our ideas because they are ours and because they are old and because we have made a religious life by hanging on to our stuff - the spiritual equivalent of hoarding.
We were never made to be a moral clothes horse. Good and evil are not the real issue. Life is the issue and we are talking life to the full. Just as God is Father and as such is so Himself, so we are sons who in Christ are sons and daughters in spirit and in truth.
We are invited to live in this spirit of sonship to be living channels of life and doors through which non-believers may step into God’s life without limit. As ‘sons’ we are more than human beings. We are life-giving spirits who originated in God and who are every moment increasing their life in God - going from glory to glory as the Bible invites. As a son/daughter you are a river of living water. As a worker and a slave you produce drops when you could be emitting rivers. God does not abandon us as workers but He longs to give us more when we live in the truth of our sonship. Truth equals life. The degree to which anything in our beliefs is not true is the degree to which we carry about in our being the body of death.
LIVING IN WHAT WAS FINISHED
The person who reads the Bible through the law or uses it as a ‘do good’ manual is much different to one who reads the Bible through Jesus. In the former Jesus becomes a function of the law and as a result is imagined as a lesser god. That’s right. A christ who is not THE CHRIST. In this mode, which is a distortion of the gospel we become lesser people of the kind Paul called slaves and workers. We have also made for ourselves a false christ which results in a false god and a false self.
Jesus lived from His Father. Never from the law or from religious rites. By living in Jesus we too live from our Father. We become sons of God not notionally but sons in spirit and in truth. Christ is more than the way to live. He is life and He is our life in every way. In Him the life of the trinity is our life. Good people have spent their entire lives teaching Christianity as a moral program. They short-changed themselves and those to whom they ministered. The Kingdom is not a program or an agenda. It’s Christs’ life as yours, Christ’s being manifest by the Spirit in us all. This is the difference between this gospel of the Kingdom and the lesser kingdoms of this world.
To live as part of the one loaf we need to be one with the Christ of God. Never from a lesser christ or another gospel. Believers may differ in their their practice of things like baptism by sprinkling or by immersion. But they may not differ from the gospel as preached by Jesus and the apostles. Any revision of the new covenant into the old or the re-doing of Moses as the present ‘way’ or a hybrid of the latter is a perversion of the gospel of Jesus and the apostles. Paul warned that any ‘other gospel,’ other than the gospel he preached was a curse. It is a curse because it separates us from the life of God, from the real Christ and from the real body. In this state we may consider ourselves as the body but only to the extent that a tumour is part of the body yet not of it.
Jesus spoke of the effects of ‘other gospels’ when he cited withered branches that are detached from the vine.
‘But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!’ Gal 1.8 NIV.
The story of the sower is not a ‘Try Harder’ story. Neither is it about morality or leaving behind pressing sins. It’s about a seed that drives out rocks and weeds. It’s about a seed that is the soil, a seed that is Christ and a seed that is Christ in you. In ourselves we are not capable of being good soil. Of ourselves we are rocks, weeds, thorns and casters-away of the seed truth of God.
‘But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.’ There is only one who fits this description and it is not you or I. It is Christ our life. But hear the good news. This Christ lives in us by His Spirit and becomes who we are. This is the vicarious humanity of Jesus.
The parable of the sower is a call to abandon the rocks, weeds and demons disguised as birds of the law and live in the incarnation.
Christ Our life is the good soil. This is to say that due to the vicarious humanity of Jesus, He is our life and our good soil. By living a Jesus life in the Spirit He is the Soil and we are in Him. The result is that these lesser surfaces- the rocks, weed infestations and demonic snatching away of living seeds is eliminated and we become both good soil and good fruit.
Weeds are more than things like materialism. They are religion and ‘other gospels’ that pose as life when they are death.
You need not belong in a try harder gospel. You can live in a Rest Harder kingdom where Jesus represents you and manifests His life as you in every way. He is both the seed and the soil and in a manner of speaking He is you! As an astute teacher has remarked, ‘To see Jesus is to see yourself.’
When Christ is our life we are the seed, the good soil and the abundant crop.
GRACED IN OUR OBSTINACY
You do not have to live in the Spirit. Jesus will not make you. He will grace you as a cripple. He can grace you with a few drops of life. But grace is for fullness and not for lethargy or an encouragement to the obstinate to live from the law or from their personal hybrid of law with a dob of Holy Spirit.
You are not only the aroma of Christ. You are the expression of His person. This is why His Kingdom is not a religion. It’s Jesus come in our flesh; Jesus come as Mary and Jane and Bob and Clive. Because of the incarnation Jesus has come in fullness in all who believe that He Himself is their life.