There is an industrious good works syndrome that is devoid of the spirit and life of the Kingdom of God. I found this note on Facebook recently. Curiously I had just written a piece in my blog on why the doing of good deeds may be ‘seen as Christianity’ but is not necessarily spirituality or the Kingdom. Here’s the quote,
‘Some people would rather debate doctrine or beliefs or tradition or interpretation than actually do what Jesus said. It’s not rocket science. Just go and do it. Practice loving a difficult person or try forgiving someone. Give away some money. Tell someone thank you. Encourage a friend. Bless an enemy. Say ‘Im sorry.’ Worship God. You already know more than yo need to know.’ These are all good things. But so is right belief. Right belief is what Jesus was and taught - being one with Father and doing things that reveal Him. Jesus called this ‘I will be with you and in you.’ Paul called it simply ‘Christ your life.’ But many Believers live a separated, old covenant lives, striving to receive the union they already have and attempting to minister without power from on high because they are not Spirit-filled but rather good intentions and dead-works filled.
There is a power in right belief that can never be found in works and ‘doing’ rather than being. Being what? A son/daughter of God.
Some people may prefer talk than walk. But the Kingdom is not talk or walk. It is you as a son. What the world saw in Jesus has now come in you. There is no dichotomy in the life Jesus began among us. We are more than doers. We are Jesus multiplied. It’s His spirit and life flowing through us to enrich and ignite the people and things in our world that is the Kingdom of God. If you are living out Romans 8 all you touch will be ignited with the Spirit of God.
Any work of the flesh has no potency whatsoever, to advance the Kingdom of God. It is a work of the flesh if done from a sense of obligation, duty or as a means of gaining approval with God. You are already approved and positioned in the fellowship of the trinity. So live in the spirit of sonship and release life.
The spirit and life that is the Kingdom of God is never found in more diligent Bible study or more zealous good works. This life is Christ in us. It is Jesus Himself who has set us free from the law of sin and death (good works) and ignited us with Himself - the law of the Spirit of Life or spirit (Rom 8.2). Theology is not the Kingdom either. However good works are not an excuse for captivity to bad teaching or our persistence in self-justification, self-effort and attempts to win favour with God. If we are caught in a pattern of paying Jesus back for what He has done we have missed what He has done for us and are wallowing in the life of Adam.
But Christ our life is always brimming with spirit and life. With the Spirit of Christ in us - with Christ come in our flesh - we are never a human doing. Nor are we engaged in a new kind of law and a more extensive and subtle kind of works - the attempt to do all the kinds of things Jesus did. The New Testament is not another book of the law. There is no law other than Christ manifest in us.
Unless we are alive in the Spirit all the works contained in the quote above are lifeless with no power to advance the Kingdom of God. Why? Because the Kingdom of God, God’s new creation is not a kingdom of activity. It is a state of being producing a fountain of life. Firstly the state of being one with Christ. Secondly the state of having the trinity live in our person. Thirdly the state of being a son. Fourthly the state of being one with Father and doing only doing what Father is doing. Fifthly being a channel of spirit and life because in Jesus we are joined to the power hub of the universe. This is what multiplies the Kingdom of life.
The things in the list above have the potential to be dead works or the life of God. Dead works if we are following a Christian to do list. The life of God if we are one with Father, alive in the Spirit as in Romans eight and anointed by Holy Spirit as were Jesus and the disciples.
As it stands the list in the quote above is a program of the flesh. It has the appearance of sound religion but is lacking in wisdom, revelation and the spirit life of God. Wholesale devotion to such things would not advance the Kingdom one jot. Because the Kingdom of God is not a program of good deeds. It is Christ our life - which is a new dimension - a dimension that is the flow of the life of heaven through us into situations of need. Jesus does not bless such agendas with fruitfulness. They seldom come to fruition and die a natural death.
It is the adoption of such programs, such gospels, as if they are the Kingdom of God that inhibits the Kingdom of God’s son. People contained in them live in a fog and confusion is their name. They stifle the new creation leaving themselves in forms of godliness without power.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
Good works as such accomplish nothing as Jesus asserted, adding that only the Spirit gives life. In union with God and in the Spirit everything we do is energised with spirit and life. This spirit and life flows from the trinity, through us into the place of need. It lasts forever because it is eternal life.
Such a gospel is not what Jesus taught and is actually a tare. Jesus did not initiate a programme of good works. He did not plant good works. But he did plant sons of God. Father did not send us a to do list. He sent His Son to multiply sons. He promoted Himself as the new and living way in which we are united with God. Now who we are and what we do is the fruit of His vine. So a bit of good theology and sound doctrine would not go astray with the gentleman who wrote this piece.
Sadly this piece does not represent the doctrine of the Kingdom. But it is a ‘Do-gooder’ gospel’ that is a counterfeit of the real. It appears practical yet is a form of godliness without power and results in the endless circling the mulberry bush by those who cannot see and will not learn. With the Spirit of Christ manifesting in us we are the manifest presence of Jesus and we will do what he means us to do in the unique mode that is ourselves. Every son/daughter lives in Kingdom fruitfulness. Every worker produces dead works.
Francois Du Toit insight is much closer to the mark, ‘Your life gives language to God's thought. Agape is God's only agenda!’ Our living is the expression of Christ in us. Notice though that this is Christ’s life as ours. Not some performance regime. One is spirit and life. The other is merely activity. Don’t be influenced by the talk of blind leaders of the blind. They are poor in spiritual discernment and do not flourish in Kingdom fruitfulness.
The Kingdom is not ‘a practice.’ Neither is it a program. It is Christ’s life in you and manifesting as you. Most Christians do not know more than they need to know. Quite the contrary. Many live in poor theology and false doctrine. Sure they know some myths - like the myth promoted in the note. Many have a ‘try harder,’ work harder gospel imposed on them by those who know neither the gospel of the Kingdom of the keys to spirit and life.
Far from knowing enough theology many Believers do not know the Kingdom. Busy as some are they oppose life in the Spirit because they are hooked on life in the flesh. They ‘know’ a bunch of Christian principles as constructs and concepts, but do not know them as Christ our life. In this sense they really do not know these things already. They live in a drought of sound doctrine and gravitate to a new testament version of the (law) and the letter that kills. While their deeds are not evil they lack spirit and life and have no effect on the Kingdom other than to impede its advance.
For those who live in the spirit of wisdom and revelation there is no dichotomy between knowing and doing. This is because they live in being. They are sons and daughters who live in grace, truth and fruitfulness for God. There is nothing complex or abstruse about the new and living way. It is simply Christ our life and doing what Jesus means us personally to be doing releasing rivers of living water.