As a young man I attended a church in which the pastor stressed the importance of living from Biblical and Christian principle. I suspected there was something wrong with this assumption then and I am certain of it now. Sure many would not raise an eyebrow at this since it is all they know. Christianity it may be but it is not the Kingdom.
Living from Christ is not living from new testament principles or even Jesus’ teachings. It is living from Him. This is why it is called life in the Spirit. It is the Spirit of Jesus who lives in us, graces us and becomes us. Not that we are deities. Yet we are sons. We are the expression of our Father and of Jesus.
Sons and daughters of God live from Christ. Not from a belief system or a bunch of ethics. They live not from just one encounter with Him but a life that is Him. This is not some weird thing for a spiritual elite. It is the normalcy of Christ come in our flesh - by the Spirit.
This is the incarnation of life Himself and His resultant righteousness in you. But it’s much more than turning us all into ‘do gooders.’ This is the spirit-life of God igniting our lives. Don’t sell yourself short or short change the world by living from Christianity or churchianity. The Kingdom is not religion. It is the person of Jesus in you!
Today the Kingdom person who is in Christ lives neither from the law, an ethical system or a belief system. Christ is their life. Sure, many live in this old covenant mode of being that is a throw-back to the knowledge of good and evil with a Christian tint. But it is not the gospel of the Kingdom or the teaching of the apostles. Christ your life is the Kingdom expressed in you. Make sure you are in Jesus and not in well accepted snake oil.
Sons and daughters of God live from Christ their life. They and Father are one and they do this in the presence of Holy Spirit. Kingdom people live in the embrace of the trinity. The new and living way is totally new, alive and absolutely disconnected from the past mode of law and temple. There is not even one nano-particle of law in our life in the Spirit of Christ. Christ is all and in all.
The only connection with the past is by way of the law being a school master to lead us to Christ. Christ is here to draw us into Himself - never to take us back to the law or help us keep the law. If we remain in the law we are not in God, not in the trinity’s embrace and not in the Spirit of Sonship. Here we will never rise above religion and will purvey torpor in the name of God. In the new covenant, Christ the person is our life and our righteousness. More than any construction of law could ever be, He is a spirit and He is life. In Him we are transfigured as He was on the mountain.
Writing perceptively on this topic, Dr Stephen Crosby observes,
“To claim that Torah refers only to the ethical teachings of Moses is simply not true. Torah is the Jewish word used deﬁnitionally for law. When Paul uses it, he uses it inclusively of the entire Mosaic system as well as Roman or pagan systems of belief based on living by principles rather than out of the life of Christ.”
It is clear that Paul believes living by anything not Christ falls into the category of law and of refuse. This is the dung Paul speaks of. So why are some of us eating this and claiming to eat Christ?
This ‘dung’ statement implies that we as persons have no right to add to Christ or take away from Him. None are authorized to add any religious rule, rite, Sabbath or mode of living such as sacred garments, holy times or foods and attribute transforming qualities to anything that is not the person of Jesus. Universalizing some practice, observance or discipline makes us dung beetles rather than sons of God.
‘What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ’ Phil 3.8 NIV.
Crosby continues, “The Greek word nomos, translated as law in the NT, is a valid term to refer to either Torah in its totality, Torah in any part, or Roman/ Greek laws and ethics. When Paul writes in Romans 10:4 that Christ is the end of the law (all of it!) to all who believe, he had Torah in mind, but not just Torah. Even in the Old Covenant economy, living by “principles” was cursed!” It is cursed because it is lifeless and it leeches our life of that vibrancy that could have been ours in Christ. The result of living in the things mentioned above is that it we live in the illusion that we are alive when we are really dead men squawking.
I once heard a speaker talk on the importance of the communion wine. But he exposed his weak understanding of the reality of Christ our life by asserting that communion wine must be red! Reject lifelessness in ‘god-clothes.’ Turn off when people attribute magical powers to shadows. For example, a scholarly writer attempting to pump up the utility and life-giving powers of the seventh day Sabbath described it as “Divine rest for human restlessness.” Really?
‘So what is Jesus for?’ we might ask?
Jesus Himself is divine rest for human restlessness. He is our life, our Sabbath and our peace. Beware of substitutions for the peace and rest of Jesus that are really anti-christ posing as godliness. Sabbath-keeping can leave us uptight and fretful, grasping at the peace and rest that is already ours. One of the greatest ploys of the Enemy is to get Believers to obsess over things that are already their possession and inheritance.
Crosby writes, “At the incarnation, in all of Israel, there were only two people who were remotely in tune with what God was doing: Anna and Simeon. Everyone else, all the Torah observers, all the priesthood, all the Levites, all the Pharisees, those who had been devoted to the most scrupulous observance of Torah, could not see, nor understand, nor believe, nor receive what God was doing in the earth. As a people, “Torah observant” Israel failed and Jewish Restoration-ists [and others trapped in the law and deviant gospels] would have us go back to that which did not even work for them as supposed ﬁdelity to Scripture and God’s true ways?!”
The law blinds us to spirit and light. I have observed that there are two classes of Believer whose discernment is ultra-poor. These are the saints who are striving to obtain self-worth through their work and those who are attempting to win favour with God by keeping the law. Old covenant, law-attached Believers, separated from Christ, are the least discerning folks in the body of Christ. This binds them to religion, robs them of spirit and life and makes them dead men talking as well as dead men walking. If we are not totally and exclusively in Christ we are not in new covenant union with God. We are with confused Adam and blurry sighted Eve on the wrong side of the cross. Here we are dithering about in the name of godliness as sons of the slave woman. But we have a life in Christ. A life in Christ our life that is simple, profound and spectacular in its authority over death and all his works. We are rivers of spirit and life.
‘You are of Christ, and Christ is of God’1 Cor 3,23 NIV.