Of the ‘other gospels’ that vitiate the life of Christ in the church today, the two offenders are:
1 Living the old covenant in the new covenant age. 2 Accommodation to a form of godliness without power. The latter is sapped by cessationsm and the former is without spirit and life.
Number one is deformity the topic of this post. Grace is the property and essence of the new covenant. Not the old.
In od covenant renderings of the new ‘grace’ can be proffered to enable us to cope with the law. But such grace retains us in it. Grace is a life and specifically the life of Jesus as your life. Grace is not the means of us doing better in the law. Grace is the one who is our life - the one who is the complete and radical change from the old and dead way to the new and alive way of Jesus expressed in all as the Kingdom of Heaven emerging on earth
There is this half-gospel about in which it is held that Jesus does his part in covering our inability to keep the law while providing some impetus for us to do better at keeping its precepts. This is not the gospel of the Kingdom and it is the kind of ‘other gospel’ the apostle Paul fought to deny. This is why he taught that life in mixture and substitutes for the person of Jesus is not just trash. It is faeces!
In this half-gospel - adhered to by many - it is assumed that the law remains in place to keep us alert and up to the mark. Not so. I had a spirited horse when I was a boy. But now and again the use of a small stick added impetus to his gait. Some see the law like that - a stick to employ where the spirit falls short. But the Spirit does not fall short and is available without limit should we live from Christ our life rather than in mixture.
Such a half-gospel is not the Gospel of the Kingdom. It is a gospel where the old covenant is grafted to the new to form a kind of hybrid. It does not end the Adam in us or impart the Christ to us. A smidgeon of law denies all of Christ. This is why we need to be alert and embrace our great salvation in fear and trembling. Not because it this salvation is onerous but because it is so huge, so free and so effective. It is so amazing that we can be easily talked out of it on the religious grounds that it us too good to be true. Such revisionism seriously impedes the new creation advance of the Kingdom.
The new creation grows out of the person of Jesus in us. He is the resurrection in person in our being and the undoing of all that is Adam and the regime of sin and death.
Jesus in our being is personally and in the church the resurrection and life of the world. Should we embrace grace but remain affixed to the law and the forms of religious effort designed to secure acceptance with God, we annul the new covenant and extinguish the Kingdom of God’s Son. This should be enough to indicate the origins of this kind of bad doctrine with its cunningly devised fables.
Grace is far more than the acquittal of sins. Grace is Jesus. Grace is a life that is not yours living in you as your possession and inheritance. You are lived-in by the Spirit of Christ and you actually become the habitation of the trinity. In Father, you are marinated in Sonship and nurtured as a unique daughter or son. It is these unique daughters and sons living as one as the church who initiate the Kingdom of God through the release of their individuality and overflow of spirit and life.
This new covenant life is both new in time and new as something entirely distinct - a radical departure from the old covenant knowledge of good and evil/law based regime called the law of sin and death. Christ in you as your life is the law of the spirit of life alive in your being and in the church.
There is no place for the law in the new covenant age - not even one jot or one tittle because all has been fulfilled in Christ. He did not fulfill the law to produce some new version of it. His fulfillment is seen in the multiplication of Himself in you and the church.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. ‘Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!’ 2 Cor 3-11 NIV.
Jesus is more than the fulfilment of a bunch of rules. He is the re-establishment of your life in God. He is the complete undoing of all that is feeble, deficient and dead. He is the undoing of death and the Harbinger of infinite life. He is the river of life that comes from the throne of God. He is life itself coursing through your being. It’s either all of Him or nothing. You cannot have two masters. To live from a performance regime; to cling to one fragment of law is to embrace all of it - which quenches the Spirit and dulls you as a Believer. You have one Husband who is Christ and one identity as a son/daughter of God. You have one life that is dead in the law and alive in Jesus your life.