The Everlasting Gospel is Jesus. Never a declaration of good and evil. As evil as some ideologies and regimes are; as degrading as sin is and as debilitating as humanism is to the fabric of society, the promotion of values, even Christian values is not the the Gospel of the Kingdom: Jesus is. The Gospel of the Kingdom is that in Jesus you and the Father are one. His aim is to manifest Himself through humanity.
A gospel of condemnation does nothing for the sinner or religious ideologue. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, but there is forgiveness, love and resurrection. Our ability to redeem is proportional to the extent that we have been redeemed. The extent to which the glory of Christ is seen in our faces and demeanor is sourced in the extent to which Jesus and not 'Christianity' is our life. The degree to which we model a credible example of our Father depends on the extent to which we are actually sons. The extent to which we are really sons rather than card-board cut outs, is the extent to which we and Father are one. Actually we are one no matter what. The key to a Godly life of snship is living in what we already have.
OLD AND NEW
In the old creation we perform. In the new creation we rest. But are much more fruitful. An 'effect' is not necessarily alive, unless it multiplies the spirit-life of Jesus. The gospel of the Kingdom is about real people remade in the image of Jesus. In this kingdom, truth is not found in definitions, positions or stances. Truth is people. This is why the word was made flesh. It is why Christ lives in you. It is why the glory of Christ is revealed to all when He and not religion is our life. This is the meaning of Christ come in the flesh - the real Jesus in real people who are new creation beings because Christ is not only in their life. HE IS THEIR LIFE.
Christ's church is the extension of His being in Believers. This is the real meaning of The Body in contrast to a religious construct. When we live in God's Son we live in the love of the Father and are ravished and nurtured by His love. The fierce fire of His presence drives out carnality and replaces it with His Spirit. Because He is in us and we are in Him we are filled with His love and we become love. There is no other way than this new and living way to gain the power to love each other and the unlovely. Christ in us, is us in the Father. Here we are imbued with His Spirit of Sonship. This is how love grows in the church and how real, rather than notional community expands. The new creation grows out of the heart of the Father into you because this is your dwelling place. The life, love, sense of identity and purpose gained in His heart equips you to represent God as He is - the God who is love.
We don't try harder as new creation people. We rest more. Many Christians are steeped in Try Harderism, a version of legalism that comes from an old covenant mentality that can occur when church is our life rather than Christ being our life. Old covenant mentalities can be associated with institutionalism which is the father of the letter that kills. Then again this mind-set can exist because large masses of people have never been taught the new covenant. Generations of Believers have assumed that promoting grace but living in performance is how it is. Why? Because two few people understand that our life in Adam was put to death at the cross and our life in Jesus began when Jesus stepped out of the tomb on Sunday morning. We owe it to ourselves to explore and live Galatians 2.20 and apply it in terms of Paul's statement that Christ is our life. An excellent book on new covenant living is The Power of Right Believing.
AUTHORITY NOT AS THE LEGALISTS
Jesus resting in His Father had more power of the storm than the striving disciples. Legalism is more than the attempt to live out of Moses and adhere to a bunch of religious behaviors. It's a deeply ingrained pre-Jesus attitude about ourselves and God and how to be in relationship with Him. Stephen Crosby put the spotlight on this in His Blog entitled, Overcoming Legalism and Performance Based Religion. Charismatic legalisms may involve the acquisitions of supposed 'keys.' Others develop a taxonomy and methodology of the Holy Spirit and His gifts while others talk of going to the 'next level' as a result of some understanding or personal spiritual achievement. 'Next level' talk is common in some circles. Dr Crosby writes,
'Legalism is more than external rule observance or non-observance. It is a system of thought, an approach to life and life’s God. It is the belief that one’s personal character and holiness grants special and intimate access to God’s presence and blessings, thereby establishing oneself as superior to other believers. The legalist says, “My acceptance and advance in God is contingent upon, or improved by, my behavior.” Good behavior earns me more of God’s favor, which in turn impels me to higher levels of spiritual life—“the next level.” God’s love is conditioned on the legalist’s performance.'
Jesus insisted, 'Only believe!' Blind guides will not inherit the earth. But the humble will. The issue before us as the church today is this: Will we live in God or will we live in ourselves? Will we live in a Christianized version of the knowledge of good and evil or will Christ Himself be our life? Will we live in the new covenant or the old? Will we continue to pass off the old creation as the new or will be live in obedience to Christ? The answers we give will determine whether we build on sand or on the rock and whether the glory of heaven is revealed through us to a desperate world or whether we pass off religion as the Kingdom of God.