The New Testament age is The Age of the Spirit. The Spirit is not some vague entity but the Spirit is the representative of Jesus and our Father. And of course Holy Spirit. ‘The Spirit’ refers both to the trinity and our state of being as participants in their life. It’s a state of indwelling, companionship and ‘being.’ Also of authority and discernment.
THE ESSENCE OF THE CORE
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV. This passage is less about occult spirits and more about the spirit of religion as compared to the Spirit of God. It shows us how to distinguish between the ‘flesh/law come in the flesh’ and Jesus come to express Himself in us as the church. It’s not without warning either.
‘Every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world’ 1 John 4.3 NIV. Any spirit who makes Jesus subordinate to the law or an agent of the law or who manufactures a Jesus plus religion Jesus or lessens what God did for us in Jesus - does not acknowledge Jesus as He is. Acknowledging Jesus as He is means knowing Him as our life. This is the age when Jesus is in us and with us - as is the trinity. It is the age when we are in them. Because Christ is your life, you are one with Jesus and in the heavenly realms one with the Holy Family. Christ has not only come in our flesh. Our being is one with the trinity. In Christ we and our Father are one. Because of the arrangement described here, heaven is released into your daily affairs. This is life in the Spirit.
Outlined above is a description of our life in God. We share in God’s life, in His heart, His intentions and His love. Not to live in the Spirit is to separate ourselves from this inheritance. This is why Paul warns in Galatians that the children of Hagar and Sinai cannot live in their inheritance no matter who hard they strive. What is this inheritance? It is union with God. How did we get it. It’s a free gift. In Adam we were all dead. In Jesus we are all alive. So let’s live in what is.
In the law we deny ourselves union with God. This, keep in mind, is the union we already possess. The law obstructs God’s spirit and life, we do not see as God see’s so our discernment is poor. And we seldom if ever speak in the spirit of wisdom and revelation. We live in a degraded state of being far below our position as sons, kings and priests. God gave us new covenant union to overcome the atrophy and disabilities of our crippled lives in separated Adam. Live in the position He has placed you!
In the old covenant humanity lived in separation from God. Humans were loved by God, counselled by God and related to by God through the law and the prophets. But all of this was lived out in separation. Since Pentecost God relates to us through His Son. God is His Son. And you are a son of God.
‘Jesus answered: “Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father”?’ John 14.9 NIV.
‘The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word’ Heb 1.3 NIV.
There’s a doctrine that summarises our life in Jesus and our fellowship with the trinity. Paul calls this Christ our life. Exponents of the gospel of the Kingdom call it the vicarious humanity of Jesus. It means this: Christ’s life is your life as regards fellowship and communion with the trinity. He is your life concerning intimacy with Himself, our Father and the Spirit. We are one with the heavenly realm by the One Spirit. You are never separated from God. The spirit of Jesus is in you and with you - woven into the fabric of your being. Before the cross it could not be said that ‘In Him we live, move and have our being.’ In the age of the law and the prophets we lived in separation. In the age of Christ come in our flesh we live in union. God is for us as our Father, in Holy Spirit and in Jesus.
CHRIST IS ALL
Christ is our life as regards life and righteousness. We live in His grace. We are graced by His life. Graced not just to be with Him but graced to be as He is. God’s command in this age is to believe His Son. Christ’s testimony is that He Himself is our life and our righteousness. As a result we become the righteousness of God in Christ. Not as abstractions. Not as compilations of good deeds, but as sons and daughters of God. Your identity as a being is not abstainer from beer and doer of missionary work. It is Sue Bennet, daughter of God.
The Bible is useful for instruction in righteousness. Jesus in you is righteousness and more - the righteousness that is you. The Bible is not a compilation of values and principles that we seize onto and then attempt to achieve them by will power. Nether is the life of Jesus something that we read about and then attempt to copy. The new testament is not a more subtle kind of law. The message of the new testament is that Christ is your life and that the Trinitarian Family is in you. This is a message of radical grace and radical living by the Spirit because Christ really does manifest as you!
‘Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.23 NIV. Jesus is saying that Father loves us as He loves His Son.
In the Spirit, which is to be in Christ and one with Father, we and Father are one. In union with God we do what Father is doing and know what He means us to know because we are one with Him by the One Spirit. In addition we have the Spirit without limit because we are living in the spirit of sonship that Jesus lived in. There is no separation in Christ Jesus.
‘For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit’ John 3.34 NIV. Because Christ is our life, His relationship with Father is our life. As Jesus was sent so are we. In Christ we are in Father and Father and we are one. The infinite life of the trinity is in as just as it was in Jesus.
‘I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy’ Lev 11.44 NIV.
This injunction was impossible to achieve under the old covenant. But Jesus, son of God and Son of Man has consecrated us. We are made holy by He who is whole and holy. We possess His grace and our inheritance is His life as ours. We are holy by grace and Holy because God’s life is our life.
I once read a book called ‘The God Chasers.’ I liked it because I wanted more of God and I didn’t’ know any better – didn’t know that He was already in us and with is and that this is the basic reality that belongs to all. This is the ground of our fruitfulness and of the gifts of the Spirit.
We are not in pursuit of a righteousness that is separate from us. We are not independent of Jesus and disciplining ourselves to ‘keep close to Him.’ We have the mind of Christ because we are one with Him. As a result we need not seek to know the truth about any issue through gossip or conversations of the flesh. We need not adopt religious postures. No need to obsess over holy times or holy places. We are holy. We touch ordinary things with His spirit-life and make them holy.
We need not strive to effect change through acts of will power, politicking and manipulation. Having the mind of Christ we have His discernment and we join what Father is doing - rather than praying that He will bless the programs we began independently of Him. The mustard seed, which is Christ in you, Christ in us all cannot help but grow. The flesh accomplishes nothing for the Kingdom that Jesus began. But the Spirit is everything. Christ is all and in all!