NO MISSING LINKS
Christ our life is exactly what is says it is - The Spirit of Christ manifest as our person and as the church He builds without hands. Just as The Word, Jesus Christ was made flesh, so we become the word of Christ come in our flesh. Paul called us ‘a letter from God’.
DON’T EMASCULATE YOURSELVES
The incarnation is the touchstone of sound doctrine. Most heresies come down to an attempt to castrate the incarnation.
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV.
NOT A RELIGION
If we have been led to believe that Christ helps us live His Religion we have missed the point. He did not leave us a ‘religion’ to do. He gave us Himself to be our life. This is life in the Spirit – a state of being that is not ‘life with the gifts’ which is not life in the Spirit at all.
Life in the Spirit is not the gifts bolted on to the law.
Christ our life is the witness of the new testament and the re-envisioning of the old testament. Our post cross living is the expression of Christ as us and more.
It is the trinity in us.
We are graced with Grace in His Person to experience this grace is His life to the full as in spirit. His is the life that covers our sins and overcomes our sins and addiction to unbelief and self-effort in religion.
The common view of Godliness is ‘being a good person.’ Not quite. It’s living in union with God, which is living in what you already have. Here you will do better than ‘being good.’ You will become fully human and fully alive. You will be a son/daughter of God in spirit and in truth.
THE CHRISTIAN TEDIUM
Much Christian effort can take the form of our attempt to be ‘Christlike’ and our effort to be worthy of Christ experienced as an industrious effort to be rid of sin so that there is no barrier between us and our much needed intimacy with Jesus. It’s sincere and misguided.
The weakness in this is that we have once again become our own Saviour and have fallen back into the delusion of an existence in the knowledge of good and evil. Here we may not live from the law, although some do. We might just be trying to live by manufacturing ‘goods’ and excising ourselves of the ‘bads.’
MORE THAN A CHRISTIAN LIFE
Indoctrinated legalists can find this suggestion quite threatening since the effort of ‘attempting to be Christlike’ has become their ‘christian life.’ God in Christ has given us more than a ‘Christian Life.’ He has given us Himself to be us.
Some of melancholy disposition construct a christianity out of their attempt to crucify their flesh and are only liberated from it by their death. They get to heaven where Jesus says to them, ‘You made it much harder than it was.’
VERY MERE CHRISTIANITY
Garry Deddo observes a pattern in our The attempt to be Christlike Christianity. “Our non-ontological [read fundamentalist] relationship with Christ must then be reduced to psychological dimensions (we have warm feelings and strong emotional sympathy for one another), and the Christian life constitutes maintaining the right psychological state of mind towards Christ and his towards us. Or, relationship to Christ can be reduced to the moral “union” of two independent wills willing the same thing. We aim at somehow figuring out “what Jesus would do” [self-generated legalism] so that we can will what he wills, and by imitation, do what he would have done, where he here with us. [The truth is He is woven into our being] The Christian life is then about keeping our wills in line with his will by willing that alignment.” (1) This is the product of a law mindset in which a ‘law’ is separate from God and separated from us.
NO NEED FOR VAIN REPETITION
One of the symptoms of an assumed separation are prayers that ask Jesus to ‘be with us’, with George and Joan in Africa and with Mrs Smedley on the school trip. Since Jesus is in us and with us it would be more productive to ask Jesus to do specific things. This of course implies our believing in a real Jesus who is active by the Spirit in our affairs. A religious and impotent Jesus is a false christ.
VINE AND BRANCHES
There is no law. There is a trinity who is God. This relationship of trinitarian oneness (perichoresis) is God in union with you. It’s the pattern of the universe and the template that has been deployed as the incarnation to secure our oneness with God. It’s the substance of the atonement, the nature of God and the truth of what it means to belong in the Body of Christ.
Salvation is more than forgiveness and freedom from sin. Salvation means union with God. This is the law of the spirit of life expressed by Jesus in John 14.20 and Paul in Galatians 2.20,21.
MAY THEY BE ONE AS WE ARE ONE
This implies trinitarian oneness. It has been achieved. Obedience is living in it. 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 lives to bring all people and the earth into oneness with Himself.
‘And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth’ Eph 1.10 NLT.
The right time is the now and the not yet. This is the now of the at-one-ment and the mission of the new covenant Believer – to live in the incarnation and to bring all things under Christ’s feet.
HE'S NEVER UNCLOSE
Another branch of self-effort and new testament legalism is ‘Keeping close to Jesus.’ The fact is, however, that Jesus is with us and in us and that we have been given union with God. The result is that we know in our spirit what God knows and are motivated by what motivates Jesus when we live in the oneness that is ours.
It is our living in this oneness that liberates us from bizarre doctrines and ‘other gospels’ – a condition in which many who live in the gifts but not the union of the new covenant are burdened.
FACES OF SEPARATION
Legalism has many faces. It is subtle and deceptive and based always on some imagined separation from God which is the same insinuation than began The Fall – that we are not enough; that we must add something of our own.
But in Christ we are more than enough and are one substance with the Christ of God.
(1) Princeton Theological Review, Volume XIV, No. 2, Fall 2008, Issue 39