I wonder to what extent many of us realise we are living in religion? You can live out of scarcity which is fine if you are poor and things are scarce. But folly if abundance is yours. If there is anything that stands out about the new covenant it is that many Christians do not live in it. Or they live in a mixture of old and new which is to say some of Adam and some of Christ or a lot of Adam and little of Christ or in sad cases all of Adam and none of Christ - yet they call this Christianity.
There can be many forms of Christianity but only one of the Kingdom of Heaven, namely Christ our life.
I asked the Lord once what had to be done to ensure that Believers ‘get it.’ In a dream He indicated that I should unwrap and teach Galatians 2.20. The new covenant is nowhere delineated in any systematised way in the New Testament because it is neither law or system. It is a person, namely Christ in you. Christ your life is the new covenant. We deprive ourselves when we live from anything less than this. Yet living from this reality we are always bigger on the inside than the outside.
Genuine Christianity is not people doing church. It is Jesus being the church in His people.
Galatians 2.20 tells how our life in Adam was put to death in Jesus and how our life as new creation persons is established in Jesus through His resurrection. ‘I 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.’ This is as close to a delineation of the new covenant as one can get - because its all that is required, or as Paul wrote in another place, it is Christ our life.
Paul is more dogmatic in Galatians 2.21 where he implies that a new covenant life has nothing to do with the law. In Romans 8 he explains how the life of God is transfused into us as life in the Spirit of Christ. He is speaking here of the great truth of the new testament age - the incarnation of God in His fullness in the sons and daughters of God. This is the new creation in spirit and in truth.
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV.
I was raised in a tradition that taught that the law is pretty much everything; that the law is an entity separate from God and to which even He is subordinate. (If this were so, of course He would not be God. The law would be).
But the law is not the central feature. Father is - as you are with Him. This is the meaning of Fatherhood and of sonship. For us, sonship is the key issue of the ages, arising from from the Fatherhood of God and our joining to Him by Jesus.
The order of the universe is the expression of God’s person. It is what John describes as the logos and living word. The rationality that binds the universe together is personal and communal. It is this trinity that has created a community of existence. The trinity lives to bring all things together in itself. It is this fullness of God that has absorbed us into its heart and come to live in us. Since the cross and Pentecost we live in the completeness of ‘In Him we live, move and have our being.’
‘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.
‘He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ Col 1.7 NIV.
Your reality and the ability to know what is real and be real is found in Christ. Descartes made an attempt to account for identity. ‘I think therefore I am,’ he said. Good try, but there is better. Men and women of God say, ‘I am because I am in God. In God I am a son.’
Jesus declared Himself the way, the truth and the life. This declaration superseded the law and was the harbinger of God come to live in humans, transfiguring them with the incarnation - the indwelling of God. Believers today are privileged to live in a holistic arrangement where they themselves are the manifest presence of Father as His sons and daughters.
The most startling and impressive expression of incarnational reality made by Paul, apart from Christ in you is His use of the phrase, ‘Christ your life.’ This is an identical formulation of the truth he spoke in the Areopagus: ‘In Him we live, move and have our being.’ This was always true in theory concerning the sons of God. But in Jesus and Holy Spirit it become the reality of new testament life. The passage below not only portends our life in heaven but heaven’s life in us on a day by day basis. Right now you can be a worshiper in spirit and in truth because you are a son in spirit and in truth.
‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.2,4 NIV.
The glory of God is less about shining and speaking in a thundery voice and all about being Himself as He is. Jesus revealed the glory of our Father and is the glory of our Father. Your glory is to be exactly who you are; to be who you were made to be and live out the dreams placed in your heart by our Father. This is how we appear with Him in glory today. Individually and in the community of the saints we are revealed as the sons and daughters of God. The Enemy cannot withstand this glory which is why he will produce any myth or false doctrine that denudes it of strength.
‘And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it’ Matt 16.18 NIV.
God was incarnated in Jesus, Mary’s son. Today Jesus is incarnated in you. This is the essence of our life today, the new covenant and the vicarious humanity of Jesus. They are all expressions of the same thing - the fact that God in three persons comes to live in human beings just as His fullness was found in the person of Jesus Christ.
‘So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness’ Col 2.6-10 NIV.
There is apostolic ministry that comes from our union with Father and religious ministry that comes from ourselves, the law and our assumptions. Francois Du Toit, author of The Mirror Bible, speaks of these realities in a recent post on Facebook. If we can let this grip us and live in it we will actually be reborn as kings and priests and complete the new creation that inaugurates the new earth.
‘When I first began to discover the dimensions of God's redeeming love demonstrated in Christ I realized that this is what the gospel is all about! Nothing else I have ever learnt or heard in the typical evangelical theology could ignite a greater passion for God and a more genuine love for people than this! I was a young pastor in the early eighties when the Holy Spirit took me to 2 Cor 5:16.
I have read through the Bible many times by then but never saw this scripture before!
"From now on therefore, I no longer know anyone from a human point of view!"
I remember reading it over and over and just weeping with a revelation that flooded my whole being! How could we have missed this for so long, I cried! Suddenly verse 17, which by then was a favorite scripture of mine, made new sense!
Paul never wrote “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creature!” Instead he began the sentence with “Therefore!” If we discover what the therefore is therefore it changes the “If” from being a condition to being a glorious conclusion! From a question mark to an exclamation mark!! Heeha! Good news cannot get any better than that!
My ministry immediately transformed, people began to respond to the gospel like I have never witnessed before! So to now have people warn me about including too many in the good news, it’s too late! If the gospel we preach does not begin with the fact that every person on the planet is equally valued and included in Christ, well then our good news is just not good enough!
The danger was never to exaggerate the gospel, but always to underestimate it! Something happened to mankind in Christ which is by far superior to what happened to mankind in Adam! And it happened without our permission!
While we were still dead in our sins and trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together with Christ and seated us (fallen humanity) again together with Christ!!!! Nothing could elevate us more than that!
Truth is already true long before anyone but God believes it! We wouldn’t have anything worthwhile believing if it wasn’t true to begin with!
Belief doesn’t make a mathematical equation true! Discovering the truth certainly makes it true for you! This is why we urgently and passionately proclaim the gospel!
Many are living in blindfold mode and suffering the judgment of the DIY tree while Jesus already brought that judgment to an end! "When I am lifted up on the cross, I will draw all judgment unto me! Behold the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world!
I always say that the best test to true teaching is to see how the fruit of it fulfils the whole law! We knew how impossible it was to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and all our minds and all our strength, never mind loving our neighbour as we loved ourselves! The guilt and duty-driven law of willpower could never do it!
This gospel ignites romance with our Maker like nothing else does! And equal to that, not inferior to that, we find ourselves passionate about people! There is no alternative gospel!
I am convinced that this message pioneers a global shift from traditional thinking that distracted from the essence of the gospel for centuries! Religion feels most uncomfortable with a message that frees people to find God closer than their next breath! He is more Emmanuel than what religion realises!’