There are good people who think that a fix for the Christian Church is to be found in bolting Holy Spirit like a super-charger onto an old covenant engine. To use another metaphor, this is no more effective than putting a saddle on a dog and treating it as a horse. A stockman cannot make a horse out of a dog and we cannot make the Kingdom of God out of the old covenant. Some of us need to be more honest with ourselves than we are. We may need to embrace Christ totally as our life rather than making do with a diluted measure of Him that enables us to rationalise our stubborn promotion of our received ideas and religious identity.
DOING WHAT JESUS IS DOING
The church must be aligned with Christ’s gospel of the Kingdom before there is any joy in Holy Spirit as a pick-me-up or a solution to a decaying body.
‘For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.3,4 NIV. The question is, have we ‘died’ or are do we remain participants in this body of death?
Attempts have been made to revive Christianity with the anointing of Holy Spirit and with charismatic usages. This begins well but goes nowhere. That which begins with hope bleeds out and goes dormant while those who put their faith in this method walk about in circles going over old ground and looking for new solutions to the problem of living in the separation of the letter and the law. But they could be living in their union with God.
‘But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him’ 1 Cor 6.17 NLT. Jesus calls us to live in what we have – in the Spirit of One.
FATHER IS THE GARDENER
We have this life is the trinity in us and us in the trinity. It is our possession. The atonement/incarnation is the soil. The garden is life in the Spirit of Christ and the fruit is the Kingdom of God. There is a manifest presence in the world that is more spiritual manifestations. The manifestation of the trinity where you are is you. Just as Jesus was the living word of God so are you – you as a son/daughter are Christ come in the flesh.
The addition of Holy Spirit to and old covenant mindset cannot morph into the Kingdom of God because Holy Spirit has no root. In the new covenant age Holy Spirit and the gifts grow from our union with God achieved by the finished work of Jesus and the complete and all sufficient at-one-ment of Christ. Kingdom fruitfulness comes from rootedness in the soil of the trinity. Nothing of value can come from having roots in the abstraction of the law, performance, church growth theory or institutionalism. What counts is being born again into Jesus radical spirit life that manifests in our flesh.
A theological friend once gazed on my quite extensive library of Christian books. I sensed that he thought that knowledge and much reading empowered by writing. It helps. But his discernment was off-target. Any words of spirit and life that come from my ‘pen’ is the result from an undiluted commitment to Jesus and the Spirit of revelation. Who we are, what we say and the spirit-life our ministry depends on that in which we are rooted.
From where are you born? You are born from the womb of the trinity – the hub of all life. Rooted here as sons and daughter we can do better than theologise and present arguably good theology. We can be the expression of the wisdom and revelation of God.
Richard Rohr writes, “One has to let go of the usual logical thought patterns and move to a broader, more contemplative mind to solve the riddles. Their function is to get them beyond their certitudes and ego-securities, to return them to a childlike openness, so that they can be taught again and let go of their present comfort zone. This is exactly what Jesus is saying in chapter 9 of John’s Gospel. “Because you say, ‘we see,’ you are blind.” Religion has lost sight of Jesus’ message here. It has not tended to create seekers or searchers, has not tended to create honest humble people who trust that God is always beyond them. We aren’t focused on the great mystery. Rather religion has tended to create people who think they have God in their pockets, people with quick, easy, glib answers. That’s why so much of the West is understandably abandoning religion. People know the great mystery cannot be that simple and facile. If the great mystery is indeed the Great Mystery, it will lead us into paradox, into darkness, and into journeys that never cease. That is what prayer is about.” (1)
It’s also what the Kingdom of kings and priests is all about.
Jesus did not come to make a ‘Christ’ out of the church. The church Jesus builds is the manifestation of Himself as His people. Jesus is the church. Our role is to agree and permit Jesus to be who He is in us and as us. Know this: The old covenant is irrelevant to the new creation and an obstacle to it.
‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ 2 Cor 5.17.
Jesus came to be our life and through us to build the new creation. We can ignore this if we choose and go on planting churches as if they are the Connector between humanity and God. But we will not bring heaven to earth in our lifetime or touch many with His spirit and life. Christ in us is the hope and the reality of glory both now and forever. Christ our life is our spirit and life as individuals and as the unfolding advance of the new creation Kingdom of God. This is the inheritance of the sons of the free woman.
‘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 On the day that we realise and embrace this, the Kingdom of God will take off and began manifesting at warp speed in our domains of authority. You can do to because it already is.