MORE THAN MORALITY
A right value, independent of Christ is actually part of the web of iniquity. It belongs to Adam and the culture of death because nothing outside union with God is ever life-giving.
As high school teacher I spent some time teaching Bible at a Christian school. I came late to the teaching of the subject and it was fortunate for me and my students that I did. I had made a transition in my life journey from religion to Jesus. This occurred not because I was particularly clever but because the Lord was on my case when in a period of severe trauma, He had reached out and saved me from myself and my situation. Once we make the change from routine to intimacy with Jesus, it really is a transition from darkness to light or more accurately greyness to sunshine.
‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’ 1 Peter 2.9 NIV.
Despite what some may think people in religion can be further away from the King and the Kingdom than those living in blissful ignorance of God or even in rebellion. For example the rebel is not usually encumbered by the myths and encrustations of un-belief posing as belief found in much Christianity. He is not barracking for ‘a perspective’ or an identity he thinks he has in his denomination. One might say he or she is free of humbug. In an interesting side-light, Rick Joyner describes his vision of The Young Apostle. This man is not a Christian. Yet he is a Searcher for life. He suspects that life itself may be Jesus and is not surprised when Joyner tells him that this is so.
The agnostic has potential. She is not in the position of worshiping her religious beliefs and institutions as if they are God. She can be setting herself up for some personal jolts or cataclysms that have the potential to be life changing when 'God-door' presents itself in a nadir of her experience. But the religious person absorbed in his routine can be unwittingly worshiping himself. The conflation of God with ‘what I believe and what I am doing’ is well documented in scripture. Immunization against life and light is seen in Jesus' struggle with the Pharisees. This tale does not take up two thirds of the gospels for nothing. It is there because religiosity and its associated blindness is a symptom of our religious minds.
Thankfully there is hope also for the blindness and conceit of religion. Saul, steeped in the law, became Paul the apostle of the free spirit – a man full of humility, grace and the power of God. It was given to Paul to undo the law and replace it with Jesus. Thus the words that capture His gospel, ‘Christ your life.’
People can be so acculturated, socialized and indoctrinated into religion that exposure to the simplicity and depth of a Jesus life can shock and offend. Saul was offended for some time before he saw the light or more correctly the light saw him and absorbed him into itself so that he not only became light but a life-giving Spirit in the image of His Lord.
‘This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds [were religious] were evil’ John 3.19 NIV. Religion gives people false comfort while they gradually die of spiritual asphyxiation.
One of my pupils in past years complained that she did not do so well under my teaching because my teaching was not about knowing Bible texts and pat answers. 'Exactly' I said. 'It's about a relationship with God.' When marking exams at year end it sometimes became clear to me that some felt they could write an adequate answer because they where a Christian and new some Bible stuff, rather than having come to terms with what I had taught them about a Jesus life. We are not alive in God because we know scripture or do a bunch of good deeds. We are alive when the Spirit of Christ is alive in our being; when we have been drawn by Christ into fellowship with the trinity. This comes by living in the Spirit – never by living in the law.
‘This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil’ 2 Cor 3.14-16 NIV.
The man was right when he said, ‘Christianity is not a religion. It is a person.’
In God's terms something is not right because it is correct. Something that is correct is only righteous and life-giving when we are in the Father – in the person of God, in union with God. We are in Father when Christ is our life and living in His new covenant truth. This truth is that we and Father are one. We are one because He has made it so. Not because we have done anything to deserve it.
A right value, independent of Christ is actually part of the web of iniquity. It belongs to Adam and the culture of death because nothing outside union with God is ever life-giving. Nothing. This is why making religion out of morality is a counterfeit of the real and of the fact that Christ is all.
Anything correct and right is not ‘Kingdom’ because it is correct and right. It is Kingdom when it is joined to and an expression of the life of the King. I have a friend who scatters the sayings of the wise all over Facebook. Wise and beneficial as they are they have no chance of being implemented and incorporated into ourselves outside of Christ. They will either make us feel guilty, frustrated or smug. With Jesus all that is wise and whole is released on the inside of our being. Thus as it says in Acts good leaders are full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately as recent events have revealed there are those who can have sparks of the Holy Spirit yet captured in folly. This come s as a result of a culture of Christian legalism posing as the Kingdom of Christ.
PERSONALITY AND THE ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE
The law, the rationale, the order and right functioning of the universe never was an abstraction or programmatic entity separate from God. The law always was God and His nature expressed in the reality He created. This is described as the logos by John and the law of the Spirit of Life by Paul. Today this reality is manifest as the Spirit of Sonship in all who believe new covenant truth. New covenant truth is simply a holistic reality. It is Christ our life individually, as the church and as the new creation Kingdom of God.
The new covenant is not God’s clever way of keeping the law or making the old covenant the new. It is a complete departure and absolute disjunction. It is Christ in you as your life multiplied in people – described in another place as Christ come in the flesh. It is never as some want to imply the law come in the flesh with Jesus’ help. This dumbs down Father’s accomplishment in His son and negates you as a son – leaving you as a worker and slave talking religion bit never spirit and life.
‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world’ John 6.51 NIV.
Eating at the Lord’s Table is a life. Here He becomes us.
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
He is not just a sacrament or a symbol. He actually lives in you and imparts his spirit and life to your unique Sonship.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit [Christ in your]; for the letter [the law] kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV.
You are competent when your minster Him as Himself and as the totality of life. But not if you have mixed Jesus with the law, made Him subordinate to the law or a law lackey. He is the law of the Spirit of Life in person.
In the new covenant the living Christ is our life. In Christ we are in God. In Father we are in spirit and life. This is the difference between life in the Spirit and life in a Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil. Life in the Spirit is lived in the new covenant reality that is Christ Himself. Life in the tree of knowledge lived in the old covenant.
‘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.
The words Jesus speaks are spirit and life because when He is our life we too are spirit and life. In Him we are competent to minister the Kingdom.
An old covenant, tree of death spirituality, is not a spirituality at all because it is dead and dead because it is a fruit that when eaten suffocates our spirit and leaves flesh in its place. Religion is not spiritual. It is flesh. Religion is a mental-social form of the flesh that binds us to supposedly holy works and religious utterances and deeds for their own sake or what I call random acts of religion. These are actually works of the law. One steeped in this mode can discourse in the letter but not in the Spirit, even while in the illusion that they are speaking in the Spirit. This is the difference between delivering Bible Studies and irrigating people with the spirit- life of God.
TALK VERSUS SPIRIT AND LIFE
I came across a quote in the paper recently describing the outcome of the last election in our state of Victoria. It was discussing the reasons why some had lost out in winning a seat when it had been assumed that the seat was safe. This is the quote.
'Even some of their own members, loyal and committed to “the cause”, are no longer certain that the Nationals represent anything much beyond re-election.'
‘Much beyond re-election.’ So we are talking about doing things because we are doing things. Doing things as if our activity has the power to take us beyond where we were before. But they cannot and will not. If this is not so in the natural why would it be the case in the spiritual? What the author of this quote is describing is form without content or what Jude describes as clouds without rain.
In the same article a member of an electorate was described as 'amiable but ineffectual.' So what we are looking at is the difference between being inert and being active or being impotent and being potent. Jesus highlighted this difference with the words 'living water' and 'spirit and life.' The flesh, which is the law and the letter accomplishes nothing for the kingdom. It is impotent and self-depleting. But in union with Father we are spirit and life.
Don't expect to be an agent of spirit and life if you remain attached to the law. It insulates you from union with God and smothers Christ come in your flesh.
A gospel that is not the gospel of the Kingdom is 'another gospel.' The gospel of the Kingdom is quite different to just any garden variety 'gospel.' It is sourced in Alpha and Omega, which is to say it is brimming with the intention and purposes of God. It is not latent but alive and contains within itself the spirit to begin and complete its reason for being sent forth. It is a piece of eternal life.
Such ministry is timely to the point of being exactly shaped for the moment. Because as a son in spirit and in truth as opposed to religiously and notionally your intuitively do what Father is doing. Competent ministry is alive, powerful, sharp and life-giving. It is the Spirit of the new creation alive in you! It happens because your and Father are one. Old covenant gospels promoting themselves in the new covenant age are in fact tares. As such they will inevitably extinguish themselves. Alternatively the Lord will send agents to pull them out because we are living at the end of the age.