My daughter is an apprentice pastor with Christian Union. I am a web pastor with passion for all to have life to the full in the person of a personal Jesus who is their life. My daughter was telling me the other day, ‘I tell them it is Jesus – not His stuff..’ So do I. Unless we are the expression of His Spirit in us we are dead men and women walking. Fact is, quite a lot of Christians are embarrassed by Jesus talk.
‘So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit’ 1 Cor 15.45 NIV. We are alive when this life-giving Spirit is our life.
The James Bond movie, Spectre begins with the statement, ‘The Dead Are Alive.’ The tragedy about certain swathes of Christianity is that the potentially alive are dead. Not of course dead in the natural but dead in spirit and in truth. Dead because ‘the stuff’ rather than Christ Himself is their life. The striking thing about the sons of God is that they are alive in their spirit – not wooden or mechanical but alive in the resurrected Jesus who has delivered them from the tree of death. Spirit and life are always found together, as is the law, sin and death.
‘And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death’ Rom 8.2 NLT.
Christianity is a person. It never was a religion. He is incarnated in you – or meant to be. The church Jesus builds is the expression of Himself in those who take His name. This is Christ come in the flesh. Anything less than this is just a crowd of dead people. Ask Him. Say, ‘Jesus, manifest yourself in me!’
‘In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind’ John 1.4 NIV.
‘But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke’ Acts 6.10 NIV.
Many years ago I was speaking to a friend. He was a good man. He loved Jesus and was intent on honoring him in his daily life. He liked to button hole non-believers so that he could ‘tell them what he believed.’ But what he believed was not the gospel of the Kingdom. It was just a bunch of beliefs. What would I say to him today? I would say, ‘Give up that stuff. Just become a person – a person who is who he is because the Person of Jesus is your life.
The words ‘The dead know not anything’ are apt. They know neither who they are or what they can become. They have not entered their inheritance as ‘sons’ even though it has been theirs since the resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Spirit. Side-tracked by religion and robbed of spirit and life they have immersed themselves in what they have been delivered from – the deathly hallows of religion.
All Believers are sons of God, whether they know this or not. Jesus has made the denizens of non-life, the sons of the slave woman both alive and free by becoming their life. But they must embrace this life. They need to live in the Christ of God and in what He has achieved for them – life in His Spirit of continually upwelling life.
‘He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit’ Titus 3.5 NIV.
The obvious thing about the dead is that they do not know they are dead. Similarly in the spiritual realm if we are spiritually dead we may not know that we are a spiritual corpse. Paul describes the non-life that characterizes old covenant religion as ‘this body of death.’ He declares that Jesus has delivered us from it.
There is no us and God in the new testament. But there is us in God and God in us today. There is no life or righteousness that is external to God and never was. The righteousness of God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Today, since we have been joined to God and placed as family in the trinity, this life and this righteousness is us. It is us as the sons of God. Since Christ is our life we are filled with His Spirit and life – we are the manifestation of Him.
We are streams of life in the desert, when Christ is our life. The vicarious ministry of Christ means that He Himself is our relationship with God in every way. There is nothing remaining for us to make up here. Jesus is not the means to the end of some righteous state outside ourselves. He is our state of union with God. So lets leave of the talk of ‘Keeping close to Jesus.’ If this is the pre-requisite for a life in God, then all of us are done for. Because our ‘keeping close’ is so spasmodic.’ The implication of these words is that we must ‘keep close’ in order to be righteous and alive. But righteous and alive is Jesus. He is our life vicariously and our life because He has incarnated Himself in our being. You are alive because Christ is your life.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV.