We competently minister the Kingdom of God from new covenant premises. This brings about the spirit and life that Jesus commended and which distinguishes His communion from communities of mere religion.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV. The letter that kills is both the Ten Commandments and the religious penchant to live from religion. Any contrivance whether formulaic or implied suffocates the spirit of life. But a simple stepping into Christ our life fills us with an unfolding resurrection from the dead. Now our entire life can be filled with the continuing adventure of the shunting off of death and all things dead as the life of Resurrection in us displaces all torpors with life to the full.
LIVING SEPARATION WHEN WE ARE NOT SEPARATED
The most crippling effect on individual Christians and the church is the practice of living the old covenant in the new covenant age. This is living Adam, when we can be living Jesus and living Moses when the spirit of sonship is ours. Worse, however is the fact that many are living from a mindset of separation when God has given us union with Himself in Jesus. In the old covenant ministry as indicated by the temple – God was near but separate. Today God is in you and with you. As sons/daughters we are the expression of His person.
‘But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises’ Heb 8.6 NIV. What promises? ‘You will never be orphans. I will be in you and with you. Obey My teaching and we will make our home in you.’
PERSONS NOT ABSTRACTIONS
Here’s the thing. Life grows from life, persons from persons, sons and daughters of God from God’s Son, sons nurtured by God in our Father, sons infused with God by Holy Spirit. We and Father are one just as Jesus and His Father were one. What is His is ours. He has taken our lives into Himself and has infused our being with the Family of Heaven.
‘But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code’ Rom 7.6 NIV. How do we live in the Spirit rather than a code? We allow Jesus to be our life.
We have been liberated from a dead, law-bound-disfigured spirit and a foetid, cadaverous soul. Here the funeral saying. ‘Dust to dust and ashes to ashes’ is not on the mark. You did not come out of the ground and you are not going back to it. You came from the womb of the trinity and you are already back in this Fellowship, heading daily into the riches of increased companionship in Christ and progressing in your life-journey towards eternal fellowship with God. That’s if we are living in our new covenant privileges of Christ in us and us in the trinity. This is the Source of infinite spirit and life.
‘By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear’ Heb 8.3 NIV. Well it was meant to disappear. Cunningly devised fables and doctrines of demons have hindered and impeded its demise. But you are children of light, not of darkness.
I wondered recently why a group was holding another conference on spiritual gifts when they had covered that topic, maybe fifteen years ago. The life of God is not found in the gifts or the charismata. It’s found in our union with Father. This union is what sustains and multiplies the Spirit without limit. When the anointing is embraced as a thing in itself it always leeks. It’s not joined to the Source. Rooted in our new covenant union with Father the Spirit in us multiplies exponentially. Contained in an old covenant mindset it declines and becomes dormant. The result: We find ourselves going round and round in circles in a religious routine, revisiting what we did fifteen years ago and striving to revive something we thought we once had. The gifts are not things that are activated. They are the natural result of our union with Father. They flow naturally and continuously because we and Father are one.
ADAM, MOSES AND JESUS
Living in an old covenant mindset of separation ‘glory to glory’ is a pretty phrase. Alive in the incarnation it is the reality that is Christ in us.
Adam’s choice separated us from God. Separated we were but not abandoned or rejected. Before the foundation of the earth the fall had been foreseen and worked, not only into our salvation but into the complete realisation of our sonship in our Father. Thus in the fullness of time this plan was revealed – Christ come among us in Nazareth. Then following Pentecost Christ came to be in us.
The law as given to Moses was a schoolmaster to lead to Christ. It was a strategy given in the age of separation to assist the Jews to relate to God as much as possible during the reign of the knowledge of good and evil, known also as the law of sin and death. But like the placenta on a new born babe the feast, Sabbaths and the laws dissolved once the reality appeared. They became defunct when Jesus cried ‘It is finished.’ The new covenant began when Jesus died. Your life in God began when Jesus rose. The life in the trinity in you began at Pentecost when the Living Christ was poured out by the Spirit to live in the people of God. This is the new covenant reality. This reality is Christ’s life as your life.
It’s not so much that you must invite Jesus into your life. The fact is that He has already included you in His! So live from this peek.
Jesus came as God with us, God not only lived and taught the gospel of His Kingdom. By the cross the at-one-ment of God and His people was achieved in one mighty blow against sin and separation. Guilt was expiated and man was again fully ONE WITH GOD – but in increased measure through the person of Jesus who united our humanity with divinity in Himself. We are not divine but we are the sons of God!
God is close to believers and unbelievers. He is much closer than both think. The whole world has already been reconciled to God. He invites all to embrace Him. Jesus lives in those who receive Him in spirit and truth. He reveals God to them and shares with them the intimacy that exists between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You are never alone even when you are alone. You are always in the company of the Holy Family. Jesus has made you holy as God is holy because His life is your life.
When Jesus began to teach and preach he began to set the captives free. He introduced His Kingdom with signs and healing. But the new covenant did not begin with Jesus’ ministry. It began with His death and was certified by His resurrection. Our new covenant life was completed at Pentecost when the Spirit was poured out and God came to live in His people.
The big deal of the new covenant is age is CHRIST COME IN YOUR FLESH. This means He and the Spirit and our Father actually live in you, revealing themselves to you and imparting themselves to you in the Spirit to your body, soul and spirit. This is the law of the Spirit of Life, which is a function of Christ’s resurrection and His presence around you, in you personally and in those who have embraced Him as their God. There is an ‘electricity’ of spirit and life around us when we are living Jesus that can be diminished, muffled, even extinguished when we live from the law and subvert His gospel to make it the law come in our flesh. Don’t adopt retro-gospels. Don’t crucify the Christ anew. Let Him be your life, your fellowship with God and the source of living water that will gush from you in extravagant abundance.