In Christ we are alive. If we are not alive we are by definition in something else. As I boy in the 1950s I often read the Mandrake comic strip in The Daily Telegraph. Mandrake was a magician and his colleague Lothar was a robust black man dressed in gear that reminded you of spotty underpants. Together they pitted themselves against many evils. One of the challenges they met were ‘the living-deads.’ These were zombie like people who moved about in a the daze of half-life of the kind described in Revelation three: ‘You say you are alive but you are actually dead.’ This post is a follow-on from the last on the Kingdom of God. Once again it is about not initially about ‘being right’ but about being alive.
It is apparent that life, love and light are one in the person of God. It is also apparent that we can be dead and think we are alive and blind although we think we see. Seeing is a property of our new covenant life and our position in the new and living way of life and light. ‘Seeing’ in the Spirit has nothing to do with intelligence or learning and everything to with the spirit of liberty, wisdom and revelation. Bound to Jesus we are free. Hidden in Jesus we are revealed as our true selves, put to death in Jesus we are alive in spirit and in truth. In Jesus we are one with our Father. ‘Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children’ Gal 4.25 NIV.
‘In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind’ John 1.4 NIV.
‘But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God’ John 3.21 NIV.
‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10 NIV.
‘Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ John 14. 6 NIV.
In the way of God righteousness flows out of life and is the fruit of life to the full. God has made a way for us to live in God through His Son. This is the new and living way because only this way is alive. It is alive because it is an advance on Adam and the culmination of life itself in Christ. It is freedom because we have been liberated from the death tree to be who we are as humans and as individuals in the vine.
In Adam all die. In Christ all are made alive. This spirit and life begins as soon as we believe in Jesus and expands from glory to glory as we learn to live in His life and not our own. Our advance into fullness is largely learning to live in what is already ours - the unconditional reality of Christ’s life as our life.
The knowledge of good and evil is the old deviant way of death. To live from this ‘way’ is to live from the law and sin consciousness. To live from Jesus is to live from life and God consciousness. This is the difference between living in a poverty mentality and living in abundance.
God makes us alive by joining us to His life. It is He in us who drives out sin (un-life), cleanses us from pollution and graces us with a life that is not ours, but is His fullness of spirit and life. Jesus never makes us into a cardboard cut-out. He makes us who we really are.
‘You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins’ Col 2.13 NIV.
It follows that if we are in the law we are not in Christ and therefore not alive. Instead we are a body of death lacking the spirit and life that is Christ in us. This is the accurate meaning of remaining dead in our sins. This is not about people who have not come to Christ. It is about people who live from the law instead of the Spirit of Christ under the false impression that they are obedient to Christ. Here the spirit of iniquity can provide sufficient false approbation to provide the illusion that God is leading us - so that we remain unaware that we are living in something less than 5 percent of our Kingdom potential; so that we remain as the living dead while thinking we are alive.
John’s opening statement about the new creation, a parallel to the account in Genesis, should alert us to the fact that the Kingdom of God is about spirit and life. John boldly declares that Jesus is life and that this life is the light of all men and all women. It also warns us that people being carnal in disposition are attracted to un-life and ways of seeking Godliness that are of the earth and the flesh. The gospel of the Kingdom is not ‘try harder.’ It is rest in me in the agreement with what I have done and who I am for you - liberty, grace and life without limit.
The topic of Christ our life came up again in our family recently because I asked my daughter what the music was like at the conference she went to. Her reply was significant in regard to the new covenant and the related fact that Jesus is life Himself and that all things hold together in Him (Colossians).
She said the praise and worship, known by some as the song service, was composed of songs that were theologically correct rather than praise to Jesus. That’s Ok. Some folks know nothing else. But it is the latter that have the capacity to join us to the supernatural in ways that we can feel with our senses. Keep in mind that God is a spirit, yet He sent His Son in Human flesh. And today the Spirit of God lives in us and with us, and Jesus assures us that the test of authentic Kingdom life is Christ come in the flesh. The flesh rather than being the home of carnality is the rightful habitation of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The fact that the Spirit comes in our flesh is the assurance that the Spirit come in us makes a material difference in the world called the new creation.
I was raised as a Christian on descriptive songs. We just sang them. It was more a song service than worship. Very few of them would fall into the category of what we call praise and worship today. My introduction to the latter quickly showed me that declaring who Jesus is as Lord is associated with the palpable and manifest presence of Jesus Himself. People often sense Him come among them in awesome power in such praise. His presence is addictive and meant to be. He is life Himself and He is God!
It’s not that He is not always with us. It is that praising Jesus declares Him to be who He is. Declaring who Jesus is liberates and gives permission for Him to be the Son of Man and our awesome God among us. Praise is an invitation to receive His life.
Praise and worship has the additional effect of cutting through our normal carnality and attachment to the material. We become connected in a more vibrant way to the Spirit of God and begin to sense the living presence that is life itself. As effective as it is as a mode of fellowship with Jesus, praise and worship must never be thought of as a thing people do in church to attract a God who might rather be somewhere else. In this age the trinity lives in you. As stimulating as manifestations are, there is a manifestation that is more powerful and fruitful. This is you and the church as the manifest presence of the Son. Real praise and worship is a life.
I’m getting back to the issue of life again. My daughter read me out a note she had taken down at the conference. This was an observation made by a friend she met at and an example of the revelation that flows out when we enjoy the presence of Jesus in community.
The note went something like this: ‘I have seen that life is more the possession of art, poetry, sculpture and dance and less a property of definitions and positions.’ How true. The letter kills!
He who has the Son has life. She who does not have the Son is not alive. With Christ as your life you are spirit and life. With definitions and position as our life we are dead persons walking.
The secular/sacred dichotomy is one of the main illusions of the knowledge of good and evil. Christ our life and our living, moving and having our being in God is the reality of the Kingdom of God and new creation. There is no dualism in Jesus, no us and Him, no things of the world and the things of God. Jesus has made all things one in Himself and lives to draw us and every aspect of the creation together into Himself.
‘And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth’ Eph 1.10 NLT.
This is why we need to make Jesus our life and not attempt to make life from His stuff. It is why when Christ is our life we are alive and we are the manifest presence of God. It is why when in the Spirit and not the law we ignite things with His living presence.
The life of God is expressed generically in you as a son/daughter and specifically as the person you are according to your unique identity, design and name. You are a representative of the fullness of Jesus, an expression of your Father and endowed as an agent of new creation life. Because God is I AM you are in Him and you are sons and daughters of God. You are alive. You are spirit and life. You are an agent of the new creation!