CHRIST AS YOU 2
Paul begins his letter to Titus by declaring that he is a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. We can read into this that he is an apostle of God because he is a slave of Jesus Christ. The beauty of being Christ’s slave is that one is both alive and free. In being crucified with Christ we are alive to ourselves and our real identity and purpose as sons and daughters of God. In his letter to the Philippians Paul salutes the Believers with the appellation, ‘slaves of Christ Jesus.’
AN EMISSARY OF THE TRINITY
Paul represented the Kingdom of God because he was a genuine apostle. Christ really was his life as he asserted in Galatians. He had allowed himself to be put to death in Christ but was truly alive because Christ lived in him. Thus Paul, in the uniqueness of his personality, was the manifestation of Jesus to those whose lives he touched. The word ‘apostle' was a secular term before it gained its ecclesiastical connotation. It meant to go forth on behalf of an authority empowered with his insignia. You did not have to be a holy man to be an apostle. But to be an apostle of the Father Jesus must be our life.
Thus notions of ‘my ministry,’ ‘my teachings’ or ‘my church’ need to SEEN FOR THAT THEY ARE: Something less than the manifestation of Christ AS YOU. They suggest an importance that does not belong to us, open us to pride and run the risk of cutting people off what could have been a source of life. Thus Paul urges, ‘May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation--the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ--for this will bring much glory and praise to God’ Phil 1.11 NLT.
One cannot be a minister of the old covenant and be an apostle - unless its an apostle of death. Genuine apostles minister from the vicarious humanity of Jesus and live from it.
It’s a convenient rationalization to imagine that loyalty to a church is loyalty to God. Jesus gave up His life to fulfil Father’s plan of re-uniting the sons of God with their Father. Neither Jesus or Paul had a dependency on institutions. Paul as a genuine apostle was dead to himself and alive in Christ. As such he multiplied the person and life of Jesus who by living and reigning in Believers by His Spirit formed the church built without human hands. The genuine apostle is joined by the heart to the Father. The genuine church is grown from this union. The Body of Christ is those joined by in their spirit to Jesus, the trinity and to each other. These are the one loaf who are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.
Christ our life is not us living a ‘Christian Life.’ In the incarnation, it is us as an expression of Jesus.
Paul was not living out a new belief system. He lived out the person of Jesus. ‘[So] that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain’ Phil 1.20-21 NLT.