GRAVE CLOTHES


I went to a prayer and Bible study once. Here the leader dutifully presented a talk and a line-up of scriptures that purported to prove that their denomination was right and all the others wrong. The attendees imagined that they had been ‘fed.’ But they had consumed information. And distorted information at that. They had not eaten life. Genuine life is spirit and life as the expression of Jesus and presence of His person.

It is possible
to eat life itself. You can never do better than eat Jesus.

'Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me' John 6.57 NIV.

John wrote that in Jesus was life and that life was the light of the human race. Light here is to be understood as the realm of unlimited and absolute truth unhindered by notions of good and evil and the limitations of the fallen mind. Truth is life because truth is a Person who describes and releases life in its richness, diversity and fullness. Truth is of ultimate importance because all that is not truth robs people of life. Untruth is death. This is the insidious nature of a false gospel. This is why an understanding of God's Son diluted by the law or some performance regime cannot ever be the gospel of the Kingdom. It attempts to add to life and light but it is the grave clothes of death. Truth, liberty and life go together. Jesus is all of them.

'Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go' John 11.44 NIV.

Jesus ministers to us in the power of an endless life. Here is a life whose essence is infinity; a life that rose from the dead and that transcends death in all its nuances. This life is life to the full. It is an unlimited and profligate banquet of life itself. Holy Spirit unites us with the achievement of the cross. Holy Spirit is the minister of togetherness and communion.

We have a new testament life in union with God and fellowship with the trinity. This is the real meaning of the new birth. New birth is not a religious construct, not a move from the ethics of the non-believer to the Believer. It is our death to a life in Adam and our resurrection to Christ as our life.

'For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive' 1 Cor 15.22 NIV.

Today we have life in the Son due to the resurrection of Jesus and His incarnation in our being. Just as Jesus had life without limit so the Believer with Christ as His life and united with the Father has access to life without limit. But let's be clear. This life is shrouded and stultified when we insist on leaving a part of our being in the law and old covenant - in what Paul called 'this body of death.' But in Christ you are a life-giving spirit.

Unless we are careful we can know the gifts and the anointing of Holy Spirit , yet still minister death. How? We can do this if we are remain rooted in Adam and Moses and the body of death.

‘I [my life in in Adam] have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ Gal 2.20 NIV.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is more than for gifts and signs. But not less than these. Holy Spirit ministers the communion that is ours as included and participating sons in the life of the trinity. It is from His ministry that we are in fellowship with God and the fellowship of God is in us. Thus we are alive in the Spirit of Sonship. As such we are rooted in Father as sons. We and Father are one. The relationship enjoyed by the trinity is manifest in us, as is the authority of sons. A river of life, the stream of spirit and life flows through us from this seat of life and into all we touch.

‘What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’
Rom 7.24,25 NIV.

In Jesus Christ the Spirit gives effect to our union with Father and Son that is now our possession. Paul spoke of the 'One Spirit' that is the intimacy and union with God that is our new creation gift. It is because Christ is in us and
manifests as us that we speak words of Spirit and life and that we do things that are alive with the Spirit of Christ. This is how our tree has more than impressive foliage. As someone has said, without the indwelling Spirit we are left to use (abuse) the scriptures in the letter. As such our discourse is no more than the sharing of some ideas from our heads. A 'law mentality' herds us towards the letter and the discourse of the letter. But the letter is always dead no matter how hard we prepare. Stephen Crosby says, it leads to 'textualism' that is not alive. Not alive because because it is not the person of Jesus in you. It is abstract principle.

The possession of correct doctrine is not the qualification for the presence of God and the miraculous. However an old covenant outlook can limit this Presence because a stubborn insistence on old covenant living comes into the category of rejecting what God has given in His Son. It's like 'I have given you this life, this union, this Spirit of holiness, this Sonship, this better covenant. But you have chosen to remain in the shadows, the law and dilute the reality that is Myself as you.' Such belief is more than false doctrine. It is death and the doctrine of demons.

This mind-set leaves us separated from God in the false reality we have chosen. Our heart remains rocky and the Spirit of Sonship cannot take root. What starts in the Spirit soon withers and dies because there is no deep rootedness in Christ. Here 'the deceitfulness of riches' is the imagined status one thinks one has by living from law and performance.

'The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful' Matt 13.22 NIV.

We can remain stubbornly attached to erroneous beliefs out of ignorance, arrogance or a quietly smug supposition that we are entitled to a special identity that differs from other Believers and from what Father has given us in Christ. To insist on this because it is 'our perspective' if not to walk in darkness is certainly to walk in a fog carrying leaking buckets that can hold little water.

'My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water' Jer 2.13 NIV.