Moving into the new covenant in our mindset is not just a position. It is what the trinity accomplished for us and where God has led. We have been led out of Adam’s life and the deception of the tree into our Christ life and the tree of life. The rise and fall of human beings, their liberty or continued stagnation depends on what narrative we believe. It always has. This is why Jesus bids is REALISE that we are woven into God as whole persons and no longer separated and fragmented beings defined by the law.
But the liberty of the new covenant is not just liberation of soul and spirit. It multiplies liberty in social relations. Dr Stephen Crosby writes, “Contrary to many stereotypes today, real, New Covenant-based Christianity is the best thing that ever happened to women compared to the attitudes in Judaism and the pagans of their day. That is one of the many reasons that most early converts to Christianity were women and children. The real gospel undoes male hegemony.”
Moving from the old covenant to the new means installing mental software that allows us to see in a new way. It’s the change from Adam’s glasses to Jesus as our lens. Our Adamic lens is innately dualistic, limiting us to ‘either or' thinking. It attempts to divide phenomena into right and wrong because its source the dichotomising nature of good and evil.
USE AND LIMITATION
Nevertheless dualism is very relevant in many areas. It helps you walk across the road without getting run over and get your flight to Los Angeles instead of getting on the flight to San Francisco. But dualism cannot process union with God or explain spirituality. Which is why fundamentalism, although a variety of religion is fundamentally non-Godly. We may offer dualistic attempts at promoting life in the Spirit. But such attempts invariably make spirit less than the sum of the parts, reducing that which cannot be contained in words to codification, formulae and taxonomy. It’s a mistake to speak of spiritual gifts in terms of method and formulae. The gifts are a function of God and a function of us – but most of all a function of our new covenant union with God. Jesus has the Spirit without limit because He and His Father were one. He was never insulated from this union by the law or religion.
WE AND OUR FATHER ARE ONE
The new covenant embeds us in a state of being – the state of being one with God. We are in this state of belonging because we agree that we are and that we have followed Jesus direction namely, ‘You will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. We are one with God because we live in this realisation. Not one with Him because we have found a proof text that we utilise to persuade ourselves that we are one with Jesus even though we have ‘another gospel’ that is based on law and separation.
The law contains us in dualism. The law is a sub-set of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The law has us attempting to be Godly independent of God. The law has us trying to be like God so that we will be accepted by God. But God in Christ puts us in Himself so that we will become what we are: Sons and daughters of God.
In a law bound epistemology it’s easy to claim to be non-sectarian, yet be bound throughout our life in the mindset of our sect. Despite what we say, we view the world from a them and us lens. We strain out all views that threaten to demolish our self-defining notions and develop fictions to hold these notions in place. This confines us to our false self and we do not get to be the real self that we are as a son/daughter of God. Dualism contains us in what we already believe. It sieves out all contrary information that comes to us - leaving us in the prison of false assumptions and crooked ideas from which Jesus has already set us free.
Thus the impetus to retain icons in the new testament age that we have defined as ‘sacred’ or practises that we imagine mediate to us the presence of God or the presence of us to God. Mainly however we cling to them because we think they confer a special identity over and above that which is ours as sons and daughters of God. But Jesus urges quite plainly that union with God is ours because God in Christ has made it so – and that to live in this inheritance we should realise the truth: The truth that that ‘I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. What needs to be added to that?
Leander Keck recognizes the force of habit and patterns of thought with which we have been brain washed. “Theologically, the demand for “circumcision” can take many forms, even today. It appears whenever one thinks along these lines: “Faith in Christ is fine as far as it goes, but your relation to God is not really right and your salvation not adequate unless…” It does not matter how the sentence is completed. Whenever such fine print is introduced to qualify trust/faith, there is “circumcision,” and Paul’s defence of the adequacy of trust/faith can come into its own again. The Galatian situation is never far; in fact, it is all too familiar.”
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV.
We are all addicted to our way of thinking. Addicted to what we learned up to the age of seven and the mold that we and others confirmed ourselves into by the age of twenty. But Jesus is an open door to truth, freedom and life without limit. The issue is, ‘Will we follow Him or follow the rationalisations that give us the illusion of following Him?’
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? Luke 14.26-28 NIV.
What is the cost? It is your willingness to abandon all of your ideas that do not agree with God’s ideas and follow Jesus into your union with God.