Paul announces the our new creation life in Jesus in the following way…
‘I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning’ Eph 3.9 NIV.
This is about living life to the max. Creation - by which we mean the societies, culture and nations of the world - was meant to emerge through Adam. It did and has done. But it was marred and perverted by our separation from God and a knowledge of good and evil instead of a knowledge of God stemming from our life in God. God was not caught out. The fullness of creation would be realised in Jesus Christ, the Last Adam – the Son of Man and Son of God.
The genius seen in the fullness of time and the revelation of God’s secret plan, as Paul describes it, is the new culture and system of the world growing out of the tree/vine of Jesus Christ. His life becomes our life by the indwelling Spirit of sonship so that the earth becomes the habitation of the sons and daughters of God.
‘And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God’ 1 Cor 2.1 NIV. In another place, Paul assures us that the testimony about God is that Christ is our life.
The scheme is entirely holistic. It is the person of Jesus multiplied in humanity by the Spirit of Christ. Thus we have Paul’s teaching in Romans 8 on life in the Spirit. Paul’s gospel is unique in that it is more than a judicial acquittal. It is Christ in us but more than this. The gospel of the Kingdom is Christ our life.
“Christ our life” is not a romantic or poetic nicety concerning salvation. It is the core of the Kingdom, the essence of this age and the solution to religious humbug and stagnation is the fact that the New Man is incarnated in human beings.
Those coached in sin-consciousness and law can have difficulty understanding life in the Spirit. Their gospel, as distinct from that of Jesus and Paul, is a gospel in which the parts are greater than the whole; a gospel in which the parts are routinely mistaken for the whole because in opposition to Christ and Father’s plan they have remained in the letter that kills.
Sadly the whole is not always discerned as Christ our life because the law-centric, try-harder, ‘keeping close to Jesus’ gospel is no more than a variation on a life in Adam. This is a life in Adam with Jesus added to help folk do the knowledge of good and evil with more fervour and zeal. But in reality a life in God is one of deliberate rest as one agrees that Christ is our life. We agree that we are not. We understand that even so we are alive and re-birthed as life-giving spirits. Now spirit, soul and body are inhabited, infused and united in the life of God.
We are not imparting life because we have a Bible, a series of scriptures that we call a study. Life is in the word, not the letter. We impart life as sons joined to our Father in new covenant union that comes is ours apart from the law and in spite of it. Attached to the law and old covenant we are not competent to minister Kingdom life because we are not rooted in our Father - the source of spirit and life. All spirit and life flows from the trinity in which we are rooted in Christ and not the law or anything that is not Christ Himself. We are either competent to minister the Kingdom or we are not. Having a ministry of any kind is not a sign that we are channels of spirit and life. It us an evidence of God’s grace.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV.
Truth is never alive apart from God. Only when we are in God and joined to God is the truth of anything, moral or otherwise alive with spirit and life. This is why a person keeping Sabbath according to the law is a dead person walking while a non-Sabbath-keeper whose Sabbath is Jesus is ignited with rest, peace, spirit and life. A Sabbath-keeper experiences no true rest. But a non-Sabbath-keeper is always at rest in her Sabbath life who is Jesus Christ in them and with them. Spirit and life is the difference between the kingdom and well-intended religion.
It makes me sad when people cannot understand and receive their life in the Spirit, since this is no abstraction but a life in Christ manifesting through them. This is a life in spirit and truth, which is to say that it is lived in union with God as a son/daughter of God as a living manifestation of He and our Father. In Father we are alive and one with God. In the law we are dead men walking and smothered by ourselves. Do you know we can live in forgiveness yet remain dead in our spirit because we are participants in a hybrid gospel?
‘When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins’ Col 2.13 NIV.
With an old covenant mindset we may not be overt sinners but we are certainly not alive with Christ. God has circumcised our Adam and given us His life in Jesus. We need to live in the reality that is Christ and not a false and retarded gospel that undoes the cross and denies our life in the Spirit.
What does a living manifestation of our Father look like? It looks like the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain only its happening in you. But mostly without the startling manifestation of visible glory. The glory is still there however because it is the reality of Christ in you that imparts life to dead things and almost dead people. It also looks like what Jesus did on most days. One with the Father, He did what Father was doing, expressing His nature and His plans for that day and that season.
‘To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ Col 1.27 NIV.
Life in the Spirit of Christ is somewhat like the science fiction notion of teleportation. I’m talking about something like ‘Beam me up Scotty’ only about a dynamic that is more substantive. It is more real since the Spirit of Christ in us is the effect and reality of Christ come in our flesh. This is the substance of the gospel of the Kingdom and the reality that distinguishes the old from the new testament. There were miracles in the old order. But none where incarnated with the presence of God. Today the trinity is in residence in you and you have become the expression of the life of the triune God. Is that marvellous or what?!
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV.
In the law the Bible is the letter. In Christ it is the word. Bible reading on its own may not do us a lot of good. Not if we are reading through a knowledge of good and evil lens, through Mosaic law and ritual, sin consciousness or from an industrious works driven Christianity. The Bible must be read through the Jesus lens. When we live in Christ; when Christ the person is our life; when we are living in the incarnation and not an ideology or culture of religion, we think and speak from the spirit of wisdom and revelation. We multiply light and life because we speak spirit and life.
Living as sons we speak as sons of God out of our Father’s heart. Christ our life enables us to say with Jesus, ‘We and our Father are one.’ Teaching that comes from such a position is sharp and powerful separating Kingdom reality form mere religious motion and pious activity. This spirit always informs the best teaching since it is apostolic in the same way that Jesus was an apostle of His Father. J Baxter Kruger writes,
“In the first instance, the gospel is the news of what
has happened to the Son of God. He has become
human, and through living, through crucifixion,
resurrection and ascension, He - as man- dwells now
and forever inside the circle of the Triune life and glory
The second connection is between Jesus and us. In
sovereign grace, the Father implicated us and bound us
up with Jesus and what became of Him. Jesus Christ is
not merely another individual man. He is the Son of
God as man. He is the Man, the One in whom the
Father laid hold of you and me, cleansed us, accepted
us, and made us participants in the very life of the
Jesus is the vicarious man. In what became of
Him in incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension,
we have been recreated and ushered into the Father's
immediate fellowship and super-abounding life.
In the second instance, the gospel is the good news
of the decisive connection between Jesus Christ and us.
It is the news of our inclusion in Him and in His
justified, reconciled, and filled human existence with
There are folks who are not poor, but because of their early life and heritage they live in the present as if they are peasants on a survival regime. Are you living as a peasant or a king? Simply put, this means we need to stop pleading for more of what we think we need from God and fully immerse ourselves and live in the extravagant fullness that we already have. Christ is our life. Nothing can surpass that!