This Christ is in you! Common Christianity may be thought of as things we do and do not do. For Jesus. Here there is a patch work of actions like a draft-board. We step on the white squares and leap over the black ones - if we can. This passes for the Christian life for many. ‘Christian life’ it may be but it is not the gospel of the Kingdom because it is not Christ our life. I can tell you what it is though. It’s the Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil. This is a life in Adam with a Jesus taint.
There is no life in either good things are bad things. Doing things or refraining from them does not make you more alive or ignite your soul with life. These things are just something you do - which is bad news if you have been raised as a legalist. Life is the property of relationship. We have spirit and life when we are in God. Not when we are performing some meritorious act.
If you are unfortunate enough to be contained in a culture of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is old covenant living, you may see Christianity as adherence to the a bunch of rules. Fundamentalists are likely to describe sin as the transgression of the law and righteousness as keeping the commandments of God. But it is not and if it were then there would have been no need for Jesus to come, the cross would be pointless and the outpouring of Holy Spirit would be nothing more than a novelty.
Righteousness is the person you are in Christ. Righteousness is you in the Spirit of Sonship.
Life is to be in union with God and righteousness is to be sons and daughters of God - quite different to the injunctions and prohibitions of religious works. The essence of sin is not the transgression of the law. Sin is living independently of God. Sin today is seeking life and righteousness in anything that is not Jesus - which means that if we are seeking righteousness by means of the law we have certainly defined ourselves as sinners.
Christ is our righteousness because righteousness is a person. Righteousness is relational. It is the function of our union with God. It is who we are in being joined to Him. ‘Righteousness’ is our being sons who are one with God. The mystery of Godliness is that we are 'sons.' The bane of self-effort is that we are workers and slaves, striving to obtain what we already have and reaching out to grasp what we already are: Sons and daughters of God.
There are commands in the new testament but they are not those of Moses. God’s command is to believe His Son. Jesus’ testimony is that He is our life. Let’s review what we have been saying.
We are not 'sons' because we are charitably minded, sincere church-goers or even 'good Christians.' We are sons because we are born again. But 'born again is not necessarily any of the aforementioned. It is not a life of bad deeds laid down and good deeds taken up. We are born again because our life in Adam is dead and the resurrected Jesus is now our life. We are alive and can see because God has done this without any effort on our part. But we do have a part. Our part is to believe.
This life in the Spirit of Christ is the essence of what Paul descries in Romans chapter 8. Christ lives in you and expresses Himself as you and as His church. Because Christ lives in us, we see as He sees, feel what He feels and do what He is doing. Our life is in Him and our moments are filled with His presence. This is not something we have worked up. It is something Father, Son and Holy Spirit have conspired together to achieve for our re-instatement as the sons and representatives of our Father in the earth.
But here’s the thing. To place the law or a system of Christian good works between us and Christ and look to Him to make them happen is to dull His effect in our being. It is He who is our righteousness and life. The person of Jesus lives directly in us and with us. God is incarnated in our being. It is not religion, good works or rules that are incarnated in us. It God Himself who is our life, wholeness and holiness.
Life in the Spirit is a mystery but a mystery that is revealed to be as real as you are. This mystery has been revealed in God's Son and is made plain in everyday life through His sons. The mystery revealed is Christ in you.
Greg Austin writes of the paradox and revelation inherent in this mystery.
'He cannot be approached, yet He bids man, invites him to draw near. He cannot be known, yet He sends His Spirit to testify of Him, to explain Him, to make Him known and to make Him plain. He cannot be seen, but He appears before us, with us, among us, as one of us, that we might know Him both in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of His sufferings.
He chooses to involve Himself with His creation, to provide them the position of "joint-heirs." Not priests of dull drudgery and labor, not priests who are detached, unrelated, but priests of family, of relationship, priests of the household of God. This is the true mystery, the complex made simple, the unsearchable revealed, opened to us, made clear and plain and understandable even "to the least of these." '
The devil will tell you, your need Christ’s righteousness. But your reply is I AM HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!
This is the gospel of Jesus, of the apostles and of the Kingdom. Divest yourself other gospels at the foot of the cross. Once you were blind. Now you see!