THE TASK

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You can live a pedestrian life from a belief system of from a church. But you will transcend yourself when Christ is your life.

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LIVING IN THE REALITY

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Should we tamper with the gospel by diluting the Christ and adding the law we make it more complicated than it is – we make it another gospel that robs the kingdom of vitality because is is a gospel of the flesh. We get some hybrid concoction similar to the old testament mixture of God and Baal. ‘Law’ in Paul’s terms refers to all self-effort and all performance orientation. Spirit in the new testament means the Spirit of Christ, of Sonship and the incarnate life of God in His people.

A woman said to me once after I had preached, ‘You make it sound so simple.’ ‘That’s because it is,’ I replied. The gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom is simple and profound because Christ is all and in all.

Should you desire sharpness of insight and clarity of vision you will find it in Jesus Himself. But not in His stuff.

Anything that is not Christ serves itself. There is the gospel of the Kingdom and there is the faint gospel of myth and institutionalism. It makes it easier to make a pseudo-jesus out of churchism if we are tied to ‘try harderism,’ a touch of law and a garnish of old covenant but not grounded in the reality of Christ our life. When Christ and not shadows are our life we can discern between shadow and reality. We can discern shadow gospels for what they are and embrace the reality who is Christ.

‘These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ’  Col 2.17 NIV.

C Baxter Kruger writes, ‘The gospel [of the Kingdom] does not leave you staring into heaven wondering how you are going to make it like Jesus did. The gospel does not leave you now with yourself and with figuring out how your human existence is going to be convened, how you are going to gain victory over evil, how you are going to become a member of that new covenant fellowship that Jesus has with his Father. The gospel is the news that Jesus Christ has done it. The gospel is not an invitation. The gospel is a declaration of the truth. It declares to us that we have been recreated in Jesus, that we have been delivered from evil in Jesus Christ, that we have been given a new relationship with the Father in Jesus Christ. The gospel declares to us that in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God, we were taken down and cleansed of all alienation; we were refashioned, recreated, born again; and we were lifted up into the circle of life shared by the Father, Son and Spirit, and there and then included in the great dance of the Triune God. Because it was no ordinary man who died and rose again and ascended. It was the incarnate Son of God, the one in and through and by whom all things exist!’

From The Great Dance by C Baxter Kruger.

‘And [we] have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all’  Col 3.10-11 NIV.

One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all’  Eph 4.6 NIV.

INCARNATION

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The genius of the new testament age is not the cross or the Holy Spirit. The plan is Jesus in you and Jesus as you. This is the meaning of Christ your life, as Paul spoke it.

The vicarious humanity of Christ means that Jesus is everything you need and desire to be towards God and all that you desire to be as yourself. Christ is entirely you ‘Godwards’ and completely God to you and for you. Jesus is much more than a door and a way. He is the generous extravagance of your belonging in the heavenly family. Jesus is your belief in God. He is your faith. He is your belief in Himself and our Father. It is because of Him you are relieved of the pressure to keep close to Jesus. In yourself this is an impossibility. In Him it is a fact. Because Jesus is your life; because He lives in you and because the trinity resides in you, Jesus is always with you. He is utterly and entirely representative of you and the church.

So what is your task? It is to live in His life and not your own. It is to rest in Him. It is to accept who He is and what He has done for you. Just be yourself in Christ. Step consciously into where you already are – in Christ. To be a ‘living sacrifice’ is not to become a non-entity, a door mat for others or a miserable person who goes about submitting to the arrogant or ignorant. It is to find that our carnality is dissolved in Jesus and find our misconceptions about God drop away. It is also to become who we are and advance into our true identity and purpose. Hidden in Christ your genuine inner man and inner woman will shine.

If we are Christian and our spirit is dead we have a poor concept of ourselves and we give a poor witness since we do not represent life to the full. A crippled spirit results from the attempt to live in a diminished Christ, a lesser gospel and old covenant mind-sets. The fullness of healing is found when we receive the fullness of Christ our our life.

Being a living sacrifice means abandoning yourself to Christ and allowing Him to totally be your life. This takes a bit of work if we have been raised in legalism or its cousin, churchianity. Jesus advocated Himself as life itself. Not only eternal life but the infinite life untouched by any form of un-life. His person in us does more than drive out sin. Jesus is not sin oriented. He is life oriented, which means that He fills you with spirit and life. Lack of spirit is the sign of a wounded and dying person. Many people are alive in body but dead in spirit. Spirit here is not some emotional category, although spirit does effect our emotions. Your spirit is the essential you. The Sandfords have written an excellent book entitled, Healing the Wounded Spirit.

‘And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you’ Rom 8.11 NIV.