I was talking to a friend of long standing some years ago. He still had questions about his jettisoning of what he had found to be a religion of the law in the age of the Spirit. 'How come,' he wondered, 'that of all the commandments, the fourth is no longer binding, while the others remain applicable?'
This is a fair question. It would be indeed be a valid one if Christ lives to help us keep the laws of Moses and to empower us to make a 'good fist' of Adam's knowledge of good and evil regime. But He does not. The cross is the crossroad of existence. It is the line that divides our past life in Adam's fall to our present life in Christ's resurrection. Living from the law and retaining an old covenant mindset is a far more serious misunderstanding than such Believers think. This is the truth: Jesus Christ lives to BE OUR LIFE. This is the meaning of LIFE IN THE SPIRIT and it is what it means to be living in the achievements of the heavenly family today.
Christ manifesting in you by the Spirit is infinitely more effective than any of us trying to live to a program.
The Mosaic law belongs to the pre-cross era and was God's way of steering His people through their journey in fallen Adam. It was made in the knowledge that it did not work and made to pass away and be entirely replaced by Christ our life. We cannot live in the law and the Spirit and be the Kingdom of God any more than the pope can be a catholic and a protestant at the same time.
Jesus is not a way of helping us keep the law. This is certainly not what is meant by the words, 'Jesus transcends the law.' Neither does it mean that Moses laws are 'written in our hearts' and embedded there by supernatural skill. The one who wrote that could not have known that the trinity would come to live in human beings and impart themselves to us as our life. Jesus Himself is SO OUR LIFE that we are the expression of His person. In this age Christ does not empower and mediate abstractions into our being. He is the personal life and righteousness of our being. He is what Paul calls CHRIST OUR LIFE. Paul urged,
'Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory' Col 3. 2-4 NIV. When does this glory appear? It appears when you believe. Then the glory of Jesus and the glory of you becomes manifest in the power of the Spirit today.
It is vitally important that we live in the fullness of the gospel of the Kingdom and not some hybrid 'other gospel' that leaves us unhealed and betrayed out of our inheritance as sons of God.
Our inheritance in the new testament age, which began on Jesus' death and got launched at His resurrection is the incarnation. This is the fact of our indwelling by the trinity and the interwoveness of our being with that of God. Thus, as it was said of Jesus that in Him dwells the fullness of the God-Head bodily, now it may said of us - when we embrace it. We can either embrace the debris of the law or the fullness of Christ.
The new wineskin is not a generic description of salvation. It is the new covenant in spirit and in truth. This is why the old covenant cannot be patched, reconstituted or re-invented as a gospel or a denomination. Rubbing Holy Spirit oil into something that no longer exists makes no sense and it was not meant to. God gave us a dramatically different NEW AND LIVING WAY in the new covenant which is Christ our life. The new covenant is Jesus manifest as His people. The first Christians called it THE WAY. It is the new and living way.
FINALITY OF REMOVAL
The old covenant has been set aside to make way for the new. Commenting on this, Stephen Crosby writes, " There are different ways things can be "taken away" or "set aside." I can take myself away out of a room. I can take the garbage away. I can take a gun out of a hand of a baby and I can take my enemies away by removing them from the planet! All these things were taken away, but there is finality in the latter! This is the sense in which the Old Covenant has been "set aside" so the second can be established. This is not remodelling a room in the house. This is tearing the whole thing down so a new one can be built. In the sense that the house being torn down (set aside, is removed). (1)
Why so removed? Because Christ our life is better than attempting to extract life out of something that is dead and which Paul described as 'This body of death.' We have been gifted a new and better covenant in which we can live if we chose to take on our inheritance as mature sons and competent ministers of the Kingdom.
'He became a priest with an oath when God said to him: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: 'You are a priest forever.'" Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant' Heb 7. 21-22 NIV. This covenant benefits us. But was not made with us. This is an everlasting covenant made between the Father and the Son that secures your identity as a son of God forever.
Bolting Holy Spirit as a fixture onto what God no longer considers a valid way of relating to Him has very limited effectiveness. It can start well but does not finish well because Holy Spirit comes to advertise fullness in Christ – not to confirm us in ‘other gospels’. Doctrinally the truth of Jesus and His new and living way of achieving our union with Him is called the vicarious humanity of Christ. We would do well to familiarise ourselves with what this is because it is the teaching of Jesus and the apostles.
We need to examine our beliefs and get an accurate knowledge of our inheritance. Some of what we know as ‘god fearing’ religion is nonsense and quite a bit of it is veils and myths.
We can live in our inheritance or we can attempt to pump-up the bladder of our limited old covenant mindsets and our incomplete understanding of Jesus' cross and what it achieved. But should we keep in step with the Spirit we will understand that "The death of Jesus Christ was part of a seamless movement in which the Triune God laid hold of the human race and decisively and sovereignly altered its very existence, cleansing it of all alienation, quickening it with new life and lifting it up into union with the Father, Son, and Spirit. It is finished."
(1) Crosby, Stephen. How New is the New Covenant?: Discovering the Implications of: Jesus is Lord (Kindle Locations 1837-1841). Stephanos Ministries. Kindle Edition.