If Christ is our life, then life, personality and agency will be our mode of living. We will be agents of the new creation because we are not the contained by dead reformers or past prophets. We have the resurrection in person and more – we have the Spirit of Creation alive in our being. To live in the Spirit is to live in life. Here we are always current and always spirit and life. In the Kingdom something is not true because you can support it with a bunch of texts - which is to say that it is not true because it is true. It is true because it is alive. Alive with the life of God and an expression of His being in you.
A PERSON, NOT A RELIGION
If we are the inmates of a law-mindset, the exponents of a belief system or even attempting an imitation of Christ, there will be a deficit in our being. To live in the Spirit is to shine in the flesh. Why? Because the Spirit of Jesus manifests as Bob and Margaret. This is the promise and the reality of the new testament age – Christ come in us to manifest Himself in our being, so that we are larger than we are and more human than we would have been in retrograde modes of being such as law and old covenant.
SPIRIT AND TRUTH
Living from religion, we will tend to ascribe sacredness to various elements of our ‘religious house.’ In religion we commonly ascribe sacredness to rites and practises that have no life-giving capacity. Jesus released us from these postures and behaviours and replaced them with His life in us. When the Samaritan woman asked Jesus where the proper place to worship was Jesus said,
‘A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth’ John 4.23,24 NIV. This scripture is not about the need to be filled with Holy Spirit. It is about Christ come in our flesh in order that we may be alive and true because God is in us and we are in God. Spirit and truth means we have the verisimilitude of Christ.
Spirit and truth is synonymous with Christ our life. Jesus has become humanity and represents humanity to God and to ourselves in every way. Christ our life is the new and living way that ended separation and replaced it with incarnation. Here we are sons, not notionally, but in spirit and in truth. We have become the agents of the new creation. This is our inheritance. But not if we are living from an old creation mindset.
Richard Rohr gives a helpful gloss on spirit and truth, its source in God and its importance to our essence as humans.
“We are never an object to God. God cannot but love God’s image in us. So a fully Christian theology and philosophy of the human person must say that human personhood originates in the divine Logos, the eternal Christ, as imitations and reflections of God’s relationship to Godself. We are constituted by the same relationship that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!” (1) This is worship in spirit and truth.
If we do not enter this door – the door that is Christ - the harvest of the cross is lost on us. Our treasure remains in the field. We are saved but are like a person in wheel chair who thinks he is crippled when he can actually walk. We remain hitched to externalities that become opiates of people who are captured in a haze of forms of godliness and pious routine. Don’t be the person who buried his talent in the ground.
THE WAY THINGS ARE
It’s easy to make religion out of ‘the way things are.’ But religion does not make us close to God. It trades in separation and makes a thing of overcoming it. But you are already one.
Religion’s conceit is that it becomes a substitute for God while pretending to be on His side and ours. It’s part of the deception that caused the fall and its purpose is to maintain the fall in the age of the resurrection. A key strategy in maintain the lie is seen in the ploy of getting us to accommodate ourselves to THE WAY THINGS ARE. ‘The way things are’ is the realm of the blind man and the spiritually insensitive woman. The New and Living way – an abrupt departure from religion - is the way of life unto life and seeing unto seeing. Richard Rohr writes,
"The way things are" must somehow be interrupted. The system must be deconstructed. That is the job of the prophet. The prophet leads us out of normalcy, dismisses it, debunks it. [Many of us] don't want Christ to deconstruct the system. We only want the King who blesses the status quo. Indeed, most religion is "legitimating religion." It is invoked for social control and public order. It tells us it's okay to live in toxic and unjust environments - just as long as you have a personal relationship with Jesus inside of the sick system.”
SPIRITUAL CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL
We can be so in love with our system, so addicted to an identity we think it gives us, that we live to prop-up the status quo. Like adding Holy Spirit to old covenant religion. But Jesus will not fix what He has already done away with, made passé and entirely replaced with the multiplication of Himself in people.
By Jesus’ ministry, the cross and the outpouring of Holy Spirit, God has undone Adam’s work and instituted the living way that was planned for, before time began. This is the way in which we would be in God and God would be in us. In this WAY heaven and earth would be joined and the new creation, Kingdom of God would advance through priests and Kings who are sons and daughters of God in spirit and in truth.
Accommodating ourselves to a sick system will make us blind followers of the blind. If we do have the capacity to see, but chose not to because we have made an idol out of an identity and a community that we think gives us status, we will lose the capacity to see and become blind leaders of the blind and an impediment to those who can see. The principle of Kingdom life is this: ‘Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them’ Matt 13.12 NIV.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation (Kindle Locations 1300-1303). SPCK. Kindle Edition.