Grace is life-giving and grace is Jesus. Grace is all about drawing us into the fullness of God. Grace reveals to us who God is, who we are in God and the terms of our inheritance in God’s achievements for us - accurately. Grace does not leave us in a half-life, death or outside our inheritance. Grace constantly seeks to reveal who we are in Christ. This is why people like Joseph Prince write books like The Power of Right Believing. In the story of the talents one of the workers has not invested any of the capital. He dug a hole and put the treasure in and covered it up again. He hid this treasure - an inheritance - that he could have invested but did not. When asked why he had not even attempted to bank it and earn interest, his excuse was that he thought his benefactor was ‘a hard man reaping where he did not sow.’ THE HARD MAN AND THE MAN HARD OF HEARING I believe this passage is about Believers who don't believe. This is the Unbelieving Believer as some are called. It’s about those who ignore their new covenant wealth and elect to remain in the religiosity to which they are accustomed. Notice that the money is in the ground, entirely inert and unproductive. It produces nothing for the Kingdom of God. But it does propagate religion - an activity that lacks spirit and life and which advances the Kingdom not one nanometer. To propagate the Kingdom of God around us we need to be sons of God living in our inheritance of spirit and life. But Paul tells us in Galatians that we do not possess our inheritance if we have remained children of Hagar. The words ‘Hard Man’ indicate a dubious view of Jesus and the thought that He could not possibly be enough without some help from us. “Reaping where He did not sow” suggests unbelief in His ability to create new life out of His grace, Spirit and innate powers of regeneration. So the Hard Man Guy says, “I’ll stick to my own way, if you don't mind. Dead and unproductive as it is, it’s well regarded among the prison inmates here. I get extra nods and rations from the guards by doing the law, so I’ll stick with this and see what happens.’ The Hard Man Guy is in slavery to a Hard Religion that is hard because it’s a perversion of the gospel of Jesus. What happens is that we live as slaves not sons, in the flesh not in the Spirit. We lack the spirit and life that is the only element that advances the Kingdom of God. Like mules we are alive in our dead flesh but not alive in Kingdom spirit and life. TRUST Michael Kapler writes in Clash of the Covenants, “It is seemingly difficult for people to trust in grace (God) alone. Yet it is He alone who is our life, our accountability, our guide and teacher. We can now bear His fruit as the Spirit produces it through us, apart from law. If you mix law with grace, it may look good from a distance, but you'll just end up back at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, where abiding in thou shall not will produce nothing but imitation, plastic (dead) fruit.” In old covenant mode we can enter the pulpit and speaks words of death for forty minutes even though what we teach is correct. But it is dead because it is without spirit and life. In new covenant mode we and Father are one. In old covenant mode we are not - not in our minds. But we need the mind of Christ. Old covenant positioning is the most subtle and deadening ploy the Enemy has released against the church.
VINE AND BRANCHES The new covenant is Jesus. He is God and joins us to God and to heaven. This union with God, the reality of sonship is the soil of the gifts of the Spirit and the anointing. The two combine to produce the Kingdom of God. Jesus the vine roots us in the fellowship of God. His life as the Son of Man produces the fruit of the Spirit and the power of the anointing in sons and daughters rooted in Christ. He is the vine. We are the branches and the fruit. But there will be no Kingdom fruit of any kind if we are not living in what is ours - our union with God. We can define ourselves out of this union by living in the law. We define ourselves in by agreeing that Christ is our life and allowing Him to be so. Totally. In old covenant mode the gifts of the Spirit may flower momentarily due to grace. But they cannot be sustained in old covenant rocks - which is separation from God. When we live in the Spirit we are the sons of God. When we live in the law we are not - not sons in spirit and truth but alienated sons outside our inheritance whom Paul calls workers and slaves. We can define ourselves as we wish and live in the mindset of our choice. But slaves do not advance the Kingdom of God. Sons do that.