Life in the Spirit, along with the gifts is the effect of the accomplishment of the three personed God on our behalf. Dallas Willard calls this The Divine Conspiracy - the plan whereby the original plan of the trinity to share their life with humans is guaranteed in Jesus. Jesus as our life, our union and the ever-open way to God has been expertly explained in the doctrine of the vicarious humanity of Jesus.
The plan to make a creation presided over and enjoyed by sons and daughters of God was birthed in the trinity. Sharing for God is the product of our union with God. It is intimately connected with the logic of God’s Fatherhood and our sonship. The restoration and expansion of this union is the spirit of sonship that ignites the new those filled with the Spirit of Christ leading to the rise of the new creation.
It is necessary to understand this groundwork, this foundation as the soil of our new testament life because all that we can call our spiritual life flows from it - not just our righteousness but the very life of God in all its fullness. The life of God is never just the opposite of pain and sorrow. His life is original life. It is life itself. It is the life to the full and without limit that is ours when we received Jesus the person He is: Christ our life.
In a manner of speaking each of us is a tree of life once we have received our born again status in Jesus. In Him we are replanted in our Father so that our roots go down deep into the being of God. Think of the being of God as the trinity - the family that is God. We bear fruit unto life itself and we move the Kingdom forward with the gifts of the Spirit that are the results of the rootedness of our being in God. When Paul says, ‘I die daily’ He is saying that he lives spirit and life by denying Adam and asserting Christ.
The charismata, spiritual gifts and what is called ‘receiving the Holy Spirit,’ is not a thing in itself. It has no life separated from the Fatherhood of God and our rootedness in Him. The gifts of the spirit are the inheritance of sons who live from the person of God, never from the law, from religious abstractions or in any element of life that may be deemed beneficial. There is no inherent life in anything that is not Jesus.
Holy Spirit is not an ‘it’ or a doctrine. ‘Holy Spirit is a person is, the lover of communion and the Master of Communication.’ Holy Spirit’s part in the Divine Conspiracy is to reveal the fullness of Christ; to uphold and explain His vicarious humanity and keep before us the truth of His achievements for all.
As the Spirit of truth He works to ensure that we have an accurately exquisite knowledge of the gospel of the Kingdom as represented by Jesus and taught by Paul and John. He is not called the Spirit of Truth for nothing. He liberates people into the liberty of Christ by alerting us to error and revealing the radical truth of the reality that is in all respects, comprehensively and utterly Christ.
Holy Spirit subverts error, false doctrine and continually draws God’s people back to the Gospel of Jesus and Paul; to the gospel that Paul called ‘My Gospel’ because this gospel was totally divorced from the law. The law from which as a result of his teaching he Paul was in chains Himself. And the law that justified His chaining up and murdering of those who believed the simple gospel of the Kingdom. Paul warned that any deviation from the gospel of the Kingdom as represented by Jesus and taught by Himself must be rejected, even if announced by an angel or a prophet.
‘As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse!’ Gal 1.9 NIV.
Holy Spirit seeks to draw all of us into the simplicity of Christ our life, to repent of and cast off additions and subtractions to the apostles teaching and head steadfastly into the fullness of Christ that is found in a daily baptism in His person. The baptism of Holy Spirit is first and foremost the baptism into the life of Jesus and with this the immersion of the roots of our soul into the depths of Father’s person and being.
‘Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness’ Col 2.7 NLT.
A church of sons based in the Fatherhood of God will not compartmentalise the Spirit and His gifts. Neither will it continue in the Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil and make a religion of moralism. This is not the Kingdom. This Kingdom is Christ writ large. Those who have received the King and live His Kingdom do not compartmentalise that is always universal.
‘Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth’ Dan 2.35 NIV.
Holy Spirit and the gifts cannot be built on the old covenant and the law. A law-based culture cannot sustain the Kingdom of God. Should we remain in the law in the age of the Spirit we will quench the Spirit, deny our rootedness in Father and cut off the Source not only of the gifts but the source of the deep unity and love that flows from the trinity into the church that is the manifestation of Jesus as His people.
Let’s be clear. Life in the Spirit cannot be sustained on an old covenant basis. Because we are not rooted in Him. We are joined to an abstraction. None will flourish who remain connected to the law. Spirit and life is Jesus come into our being. This is the life of the trinity and the life our heaven flowing into us in the persons of the trinity all doing their various version of being God and being life in itself. They are revivifying their daughters and sons into the full joy, jollity and adventure of who they are as sons of God.