Jesus is a personal Christ. Yet He is also the cosmic Christ. Keep this in mind as we proceed.
In the Beginning we came forth from Christ. At the new creation we have come forth from Him again, born anew in the new Adam that is Jesus Himself. That which is commonly called the new creation is new only in that it is a second start. It is not new to the mind of God. This was planed for in the thinking of the trinity before our time began. Our new birth into the Spirit of Sonship is no afterthought. It is the working out of God’s original plan to be sharers and multipliers of His life!
‘I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ Col 1.26,27 NIV. In yesterday’s post we spoke of Christ manifesting as us. Our life is a journey into the fullness that is Christ. Paul speaks of positively grasping this life. Yet our embrace of our Christ life with fear and trembling is not a work. This is the paradox of our Kingdom life. Our work is to resist the impetus of the flesh to ‘do the stuff’ and to just ‘be’ in Christ. This rest is Christ our life. Our work is a rest. Be vigilant in allowing yourself to live in the vicarious humanity of Jesus.
Yesterday I mentioned that Dr Gordon Moyes had alerted me to the truth that Christianity is not a religion but the person of Jesus. I recognised that this was true as the spirit had already pushed me in this direction. If we resolve to live in Jesus, know His ways, press into His accomplishments and know God through Him, we will live in an atmosphere of revelation. You don’t have to a holy Joe to do this. It’s the normal Christian life - to be enveloped by the Spirit of Christ and mentored in His infinite life. His mentoring of us, although in the Spirit, is as real as was His counsel to the disciples. In this way we can know things before we know them, so to speak. So that when an apostolic teacher comes along and articulates some new or lost aspect of our inheritance, we absorb it quickly and with understanding. We know it in the Spirit and it transitions into our minds because Holy Spirit has already prepared the soil to receive the seed.
If Christ is our life personally He is our life collectively as the church. It is for this reason that each of us needs to be living in Christ and not in some religious or secular substitute . The church that is the collective total of each of us when we are personally the manifest presence of Jesus is Jesus revealed and multiplied. This is His Kingdom come, His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. The fullness of Jesus is manifest in the totality of His people - but we need to be individually living in His new covenant provision of Himself as our life. Fullness in the church does not come from individuals half-empty in Christ.
‘He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit’ Titus 3.5 NIV. We are the manifest presence of Christ whether or not there are any overt manifestations of the Spirit. The latter are to be encouraged. Not quenched. But we have a human life lived with our wives, family and workmates that is the habitation of God. We are incarnated as humans by the Son of man and linked to the supernatural realm of heaven. There are times when we may heal the sick and raise the dead literally. Generally speaking, however we will be incarnated with heaven’s life where we are in our daily labours. This will be manifest in an alignment with who God is who He has made us to be. It will be seen in grace, a life-giving spirit, a surfeit of imagination and vision. There’s no need to hide in conservativism when Christ is our life because we are part of the infinite unfolding of God. We are one with Him and He is in us and with us.
‘He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you’ John 14.17 NIV. The nature of the world system at present is overwhelmingly Adamic. Capitalism, based on self-interest is innately parasitic. Other systems are oppressive and some are malevolent. Grace and truth in a society is the effect of the quiet influence of Jesus through His people and even the effect of His Spirit on those who are not Believers.
The penetration of the new creation Kingdom of Christ our life is modest. Even so it has been and is a leaven that refines and softens the bestial nature of life according to the regime of the survival of the fittest - a department in the regime of the law of sin and death. The world lives in the knowledge of good and evil. It defines both to suit the interests of those who have the most power and advantage. But we live according to the Christ of grace and truth. Despite appearances the Bible declares that the Rock that came from heaven is expanding relentlessly and will eventually fill the entire earth. Just make sure it is not us who are inhibiting it.
In John and Paul it is clear that the creation has its being, it’s nature and purpose in the person of God. John speaks of logos and Paul of the fact that in Christ the whole creation holds together. When Christ is our life there is more than holiness coursing through us. We are part of the new creation process in which Jesus brings all things together in Himself. God is concerned with more than not sinning and morality. He is life and His passion is life. It is His life that drives out sin and death and replaces it with infinite and eternal life. There are no barriers, no compartments to this kind of life. It just keeps on unfolding and manifesting in new and exciting ways.
‘He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ Col 1.17 NIV. Christ manifests Himself in us and together we are His church. But more than this we are the agents of the new creation and the new creation itself. The Son, in partnership with Father and Holy Spirit created the earth. Our task as sons of the new creation is to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. Just as we are the manifest presence of Christ, so we are the active agents of His new creation life. His Spirit in us, His person come in the flesh of us all is the enlarging new creation that fills the entire earth.
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV. Living in the old covenant or a mixture of old and new holds back the new creation. It is choosing the flesh over spirit and life. This is none other than the outworking of Tolkien’s parable of refusing to throw the One Ring into the fires of Mt Doom. Jesus has already done this. But it is up to us to agree and align ourselves with what has been accomplished on our behalf. Either Christ is our life or we are.
Christ our life is the agent and the assurance of the expanding Kingdom among us. Jesus came in the flesh. Today He is a life-giving Spirit. We are graced with bodies of flesh. Yet Jesus, Father and Holy Spirit have come in our flesh to link heaven and earth through us. Our best days are ahead! We are authorised to be fruitful and multiply God incarnated people. Our destiny is to replenish the earth as sons who are priests and Kings of the Christ who lives in and among us. But it is He who is our life; He who is the resurrection and He is the new creation ever expanding through His people.