If we are passionate about life, about living it to the full; about living as a victor rather than a victim; as one who benefits and grows from adverse circumstances and who lives as a son rather than a sinner or religious worker, we must do better than living in religion, than living in a generic god or even living from a Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil. We must order our hearts to live in the person of Jesus - to live Christ as our life.
‘For you died, and your life is now 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. It might be said that we should live in God-consciousness. But our God is neither generic or religious. He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. Who God is, is who Jesus is. What God has done has been done in Jesus Christ. Eternal life is lived in the moment and into the future in Christ. Jesus explained that eternal life was knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. The testimony of Jesus, the disciples and of Paul is that God is known in knowing Jesus. Jesus said, ‘To see me is to see the Father.’
Jesus reveals Himself. He is present in the Spirit to mentor us as to the nature of Himself and the fullness of what He has accomplished for us. ‘He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son does not have life.’ To ‘have the Son’ is to possess our inheritance. This is to live as sons of God in spirit and in truth. It is to have Jesus as He is and it is to possess the completeness of what He has done. Who God is and what He has done is found in Jesus and the new covenant.
The thief comes to kill and destroy. He is a robber by nature and a liar. He lives to undo spirit and smother life and he does much of this through lies. If he can bring Believers to the view that God is less than He is - less loving, less gracious and pretty much austere and presiding over a performance regime, he can diminish us and hinder the Kingdom. He has been successful in neutralising thousands by persuading them to retain their position in the law and the old covenant, or by subtly to strive to find life in religion, which is to say in Christianity itself. But there is no life, no witness as sons in any thing that is not Christ Himself. Christ is our life and nothing that is not Christ - even His stuff - is not alive.
The doctrine that Christ is entirely our life in all things pertaining to God, ourselves, each other and the new creation is called the vicarious humanity of Jesus.
A major veil in which Believers can live and struggle like flies in a web is ‘sin consciousness.’ People live in sin consciousness when they live from the law or the more subtle version of legalism arising from old covenant mindsets and with it the attempt to ‘live the christian life.’ Living the Christian life is you. But Christ as our life is Him for us and Him as us. This is what Leanne Payne calls incarnation reality.
It is significant - no more than significant - it is the basic gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus is life and that His life is our life. He had little to say about victory over sin. Jesus’ message was that He is life. ‘I come to give you life to the full,’ He declared. The full life is infinite life. It is life without limit and it is our life because He lives in us and releases this spirit-life into our being. He, the Father and Holy Spirit have come in our flesh. They have come to certify our belonging in God, to enfold us unconditionally in their love and impart their life to us as individuals and the church. This is why the truth is that now we are the sons of God. Not alienated and separated sons, but sons and daughters for whom we and our Father are one.
Marin Luther was supposed to have said, ‘Sin boldly.’ We should not see him as advocating a life of perfidy and rebellion. His meaning was that in God we are in grace. In Jesus who is grace personified we can be ourselves. We are securely in a love that will never cease and which can always be relied on. Our sins, as ugly as they are and as oft repeated as they are, can never again be seen as our life. Never.
The absolute security of our place in God ensures that we can face our sin and present ourselves to Jesus to allow Him to deal with our depravity. Reality is Christ in more ways than one. The religious Christian does not realise the extent of his depravity or the extent of her potential in Christ. They just live in shadows.
Our status has changed from sinner to saint or reconciled son. We still sin but we have a new life for us and in us. Our life in Jesus is more likely to produce grace rather than perfection. Contrary to religious thought, Jesus is with you even in your sin. He is not there to facilitate it. He is there because He has made you His own and has gained the right to fellowship with sinners. He has already entered into the abyss of human wickedness where humans murdered to the Life who had come to give them life on the cross. Jesus enters where sin reigns in order to bring life, love and transformation to the needy.
Christ is our life. His life as ours is a present fact under the vicarious humanity of Jesus. It is also a growing accomplishment as His presence in us and our fellowship in Him drives out the self life of Adam and drives out things that are sinful and dead. The bottom line here is never our performance or the extent that we hope we have come up to the mark. It is the performance and accomplishment of Jesus. In Him our right to nurture in the heart of our Father is guaranteed and secure. This is why we should concentrate on a ‘Jesus life’ rather than a ‘I must stop sinning’ life. The former enables us to live in freedom, good humour, joy and as witnesses to the presence of our Father in our life. We can live as sons in Jesus consciousness. But this is beyond us in sin consciousness.
Francois Du Toit writes, “We celebrate an innocence that pre-dates Adam’s fall! We have allowed an illegitimate sin-consciousness to prevail in our theologies and worship! The prodigal son’s Father had no reference or remembrance of past sins; imagine how that would spoil the party!” (Note on 2 Tim 1:3 The Mirror)