Some time back I made a mental note of the manner in which people I knew joined a new denomination. The common factor was ‘Bible studies.’ The trouble was that the gospel they became part of was not the gospel of the Kingdom. It was a different gospel; a gospel that prolonged the fall – supported by an unconnected jumble of scriptures. Any legitimate gospel must agree with the ‘apostles teaching.’
The lens we use to interpret the Bible makes a big difference to how we define the Kingdom of God. The Jesus is lens is the accurate lens that enables us to know the Kingdom as it is without distortion. Yet it is also something more than the Jesus Lens. We must put Jesus in the frame of the new covenant if we are to see Him as He is, know His gospel for what that is and see ourselves as we are as a result of the work of God on our behalf.
THE UNDOING OF ADAM
If we see salvation history an uninterrupted path with the addition 0f Jesus following the cross we will have missed the significance of what happened at the cross and how history has been radically different following the cross. The cross is the sign and the reality of the change from the Adam induced regime of the knowledge of good and evil to the Jesus instigated Kingdom of God that began at His death and was executed at His resurrection. The Kingdom of God has been unfolding ever since the Sunday morning that Jesus rose from the dead.
So the era of the knowledge of good and evil is dead and the era of the Kingdom of God is up and running. We call this era the age of the new covenant. In this age we are not trying to be Godly by doing good and avoiding the bad, with Jesus help – although many think we are. This is the age when Jesus is our life by the Spirit. He is in us and with us, as are the Spirit and our Father. In this age we are the manifestation of the trinity. As such we are the sons of God.
GOD ALIGNED MINDSET
We are now in God. An awareness of this determines our epistemology - how we define and organise knowledge. Living from our position in God and in the oneness that is ours in the new covenant aligns us with God’s way of seeing and OUR NEW WAY OF BEING. Being one with God there is no dualism. No sacred and secular. There is no dichotomy between the real and the ideal. God lives in us and we become the manifestation and the expression of the person of Jesus and the trinity. This has a name. Now we are THE SONS OF GOD. The big deal of this present age is that we and God are INTERWOVEN.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20
In the new covenant framework, life, love righteousness and joy become the expression of the fact that we have been placed in God. We are there in Spirit if not in our personal mindsets. Yet Jesus is drawing us and all things into Himself so that all that exists participates in Him and is ignited by His life. ‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20
This why Jesus said, ‘It matters not where you worship. The time has now come and is coming – following His resurrection – when people will worship in spirit and in truth. Why? They are one with God. God is in them and they are in Him. There is no separation between humans and God; no compartmentalised spaces and fragmented time. We and the Father are one. So monasteries are a piety but not a necessity. Jesus is our Sabbath and our life. The temple is no more and the church that Jesus builds without human hands is where people are. People are the temple of God. The holy land is neither in Israel or in Mecca.
‘Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within’ Zech 2.4,5 NIV.
GOD IS NOT RELIGIOUS
Jesus did not establish a religion where people do observances and all the things commonly understood to be religious. He established the kingdom of God, which is none other than the manifestation of Himself in people. We are kings and priests because we are sons.
The new creation is not people doing church. The new creation is people who are alive in the spirit and life of Jesus re-creating the earth. This creative power was not meant to be captured by a religious class. But it was meant to be led by people for whom Christ is life and in whom Jesus lives. The Kingdom of God is not a religion. It is Jesus manifest as people. By planting religion we are planting tares. By planting Jesus and planting people in Him we are growing sons and daughters of God.