We are not important because we are busy. Or important because we travel to and fro across the globe in business class. We are important because God made us, loves us and wants us to enjoy all that is His. Our activity does not produce life and does not make us alive. I mean ‘alive’ as in better than ‘undead.’ To be alive in the fullest sense is to be what A.W. Tozer described as a spirit who has a body. We are more than animals, better than a machine with a mind and not just a body with a spirit rattling about inside. We are sons and daughters of God. Since God is a spirit, the spirit aspect of our nature means a lot.
God is life and all life flows from His person. Filled with His Spirit, we are alive. Only then are our actions life-giving. Living in God as sons and daughters of God, we are filled with His spirit-life. The river of His life flows through us and we multiply rivers of living water by being ourselves and fulfilling the purposes for which we were made. All of us together with Christ as our life express the fullness of Christ.
When Christ is our life the fullness of God dwells in us. We are one with God and do what Jesus is doing. As the Bride of Christ we come from His side. We birth children of the free woman – children born not in the natural course of events but by the Spirit of God; children born not from the law but from the Bride groom. These children are those we bring to Christ who will mature into sons and then become fathers.
All this can appear strange if we have been trained in the flesh and the mechanical actions of the law. I’m talking about persons who are sons in spirit and in truth – not slaves or workers, but sons living in and from our Father. Such sons are apostolic people. They will become fathers and mentor sons themselves in due course. These ‘children’ are also projects and enterprises we birth and sustain at the behest of Christ. Such enterprises are alive and filled with His Spirit because their energy is His spirit-life. They are cogent because they are what He is doing through us now, according to His intent for the moment.
‘Jesus gave them this answer: "Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does’ John 5.19 NIV.
It is clear from the above that fruitfulness arises from the Spirit of Sonship. Gifts of the Spirit are an adjunct to our life in Father. Not a replacement. Unless we live in our new covenant union with God, the gifts will fade and our projects will expire because they have no root and we are not sons of the free woman. Gifts of the Spirit flow from our union with Father. Jesus was not powerful in word and deed because He utilized gifts of the Spirit. He had the Spirit without limit because He was a son who lived from His Father.
The Kingdom is not developed through busy work or religious effort. Kingdom is the spread and the accumulation of the life of God in people and the things they create. This is the life of Christ as a culture. It is the social life that grows from Christ alive in Believers. It is the new creation.
Religion fills a religious space or an ecclesiastical slot. Since it is the product of the soul religion is inert. It actually retards Father’s new creation advance through His Son in people. Religious effort leaves the religious man satisfied with His effort and unaware that what he has done was neither life-giving or what Jesus is doing now. It makes us think that because we have done something or attended something we have assisted God. But often, in terms of Kingdom advance, what we have done is just something and nothing. It contains the seeds of its own death. Which is fortunate. Because it is the kind of activity that perpetuates iniquity – lifelessness- in the name of God.
‘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.
If we are tied to the law we are tied to religion. If we live from an old covenant mentality we promote religion. We will facilitate abstractions, the ‘letter’ and institutionalism in an attempt to achieve what is absent in the Spirit. But there will be little life because the flesh produces nothing for the Kingdom of God, other than repetition. But if Christ is our life we will multiply spirit and life. Paul knew that Christ was not only our life but that it was the resurrected Jesus who is the life of His church and the genesis of the new creation that is the Kingdom of God.
I don’t write a lot about the church these days other than to emphasize that Christ’s church is Himself writ large in His people. Those who see regeneration coming through a re-configuration of the church are starting at the wrong place. I believe His church grows from His life manifest as ‘us.’ This is the only consistent interpretation of the notion of ‘the Body.’ The church grows out of Jesus, not Jesus out of the church. Nevertheless I would not want to be critical of those who discuss and suggest ways of being the church. What I would say is that Christ is indeed our life or something else is. Unfortunately some have made house churches another institution and muffled what Jesus could have done had it been He Himself who was their life. As Dr Stephen Crosby asserts, the issue is Jesus, not the venues in which we meet. Anything inert or just plain dead cannot be raised in Him. We will be alive with His life and light!
‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all’ Eph 1.18-23 NIV.