LIVING FROM A CHRISTIAN GOSPEL
‘Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God’ Hebrews 6.1 NIV. As Believers we can live in the fullness of Christ’s life or hobble along in the law in this body of death. Jesus has made us sons not zombies.
As a product of the Reformation, New Covenant Theology has become a central aspect of the reformed tradition. To live in the new covenant is to live in Christ our life. Reformed theology, the fruit of the Reformation is the new covenant certified and declared to The Church.
New Covenant means that Christ is our life, yet we are not. Yet in Him we are more alive than Adam and John the Baptist because of our union with God in the Christ of God. The new covenant means that Adam is undone and that we are included in the Family of God. We are sons and daughters who are live in God’s spirit and life. Old covenant lived in the post cross age is not Christ’s Gospel and barely Christianity. One can belong to the Body of Christ yet subscribe to a delinquent gospel. To live in the old covenant is to deny the essence of Christianity.
NATURE OF THE KINGDOM OF JESUS
To see Jesus is to see yourself. As the Son of Man, He is who you are and who you are becoming. Becoming by the Spirit of Sonship. The message in these pages assumes that Christ Himself is our life. This may seem strange, if like many we have absorbed the idea that Christ is about religion and religion is about doing good and not doing the bad. Then again we may have embraced a religion that is essentially performing for Christ. Our Christianity is a patchwork of things we do and don’t do. Our message is not that. It is that Christ’s life by the Spirit is our life and that His life in all of us is the new creation.
‘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.
In my youth a lecturer dismissed radical grace as ‘new covenant theology.’ I was not appalled at the time because I knew no better. The new covenant is the fruit of the cross. It is what God has done in Christ and who we are in Christ – the sons of God. Contained in the law we are not sons in fullness and limp along as dis-inherited sons unable only faintly representing the Kingdom Jesus began.
‘But what does Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son’ Gal 4.30 NIV.
Gregory Boyd and others have observed that many Believers live in a Christianized version of the knowledge of good and evil rather than in the Christ. This undoes the Easter Message and substantially negates Christ.
‘If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’
Gal 2.21 NIV.
REALITY IS CHRIST OUR LIFE
So dimmed is the importance of the risen, incarnate Christ in many Believers and so lost is the meaning of the Lord’s Table that many of us live in good conscience from a Christian performance orientation. For many, the Lord’s Table is about the cross, when in reality it is about His life becoming our life.
You are one substance with Christ. As the bread becomes you so Christ has become you. Live in what the eucharist represents and you will be a Christian in the tradition of Paul and the Church Fathers.
The Lord’s Table is the sign of a greater reality: Incarnation - our Father, the Son and Holy Spirit in you, including you in themselves and transfusing you with their life.
Coming from religion we may well regard such assertions with suspicion, since all religion is based on some degree of earning belonging with God.
It seems too simple and too good to be true. But reality is that you are included, and you belong since the cross.
NEW CREATION CHRIST-LIFE
The Kingdom is simple, profound and true because it is Christ writ large in you, in the church and the social structures of the world.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV.
We were made to live in God. Thanks to the cross, the resurrection of Jesus, Pentecost and the life of the trinity incarnated in our being He has graciously positioned us in Himself and made us His habitation. The gospel of the Kingdom, as opposed to gospels of self-effort and try harder attitudes is PEACE. It is one of rest, of agreeing with what God has done on our behalf, yet, stepping positively into the incarnation is the reality of you in Christ.
‘Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.23 NIV.