Profoundly Simple

PROFOUNDLY

The Gospel of the Kingdom is the person of Jesus in His entirety. This gospel is His grace for us, His person multiplied in us and He Himself manifesting as us in the community of the church. Lesser gospels and counterfeit gospels are the gospel of salvation by church, try harder gospels and old covenant gospels with Jesus added – and masquerading as life.  There are also gospels that have never abandoned the law, never received the fullness of our at-one-ment with God or adopted the reality of Christ come in our flesh. Nevertheless they have gained a considerable following as a version of christianity that is a charade gospel without spirit and without life.

To ignore the incarnation is to annul life in the Spirit and opt for life in the flesh in its carnal sense. Here we are beholden if not to the torah, to a matrix of rules that we might call Christian living and what Christians believe they are called to do. There is no doubt that all of this comes under the heading of what Paul understood as ‘law’ when he declared that  ‘If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Unfortunately there are a lot attached to christianity for whom this is so – in which large numbers are involved in a Christless Christianity. Christians do ‘do things’ that are life-giving, but only when they are the branches of the vine and the expression of Jesus in them.

The growth of a large church or the existence of a denominational system is not of itself an evidence of the Kingdom of Heaven among us. There are churches that are repositories of passive consumers and bleating, dependent sheep. There are denominations that take a misguided pride in the size of their system. But they should not. A tumor or cancer is a system of perverse cells that sucks life from the host. This is an unfortunate metaphor of the kinds of system that are the working out of another gospel that is death rather than life.

Any ‘godliness’ that is rooted in the law, human effort, philosophy or religion will stunt those who are so rooted. Here we have driven our roots into what Paul calls the body of death. But  we are joined to the One who said, ‘This is My body given for you.’ Joined to Him we are one with God and one with spirit and life.

The Kingdom of God is as simple as it is profound. It is a Him. It is Christ in you, Christ manifest as the church and the church as the new creation.

BE A PERSON

With Christ as your life you are who you really are.

My solicitor, who helped steer me through the aftermath of our break-up, found my adherence to what I thought were verities self-defeating and frustrating. I could see that she thought, ‘Why don’t you just stop being a fundamentalist and be a person!’

More here.

Extravagant, Ultra, Radical .. Life

EXTRAVAGANT

I don’t like the anti-life stance of fundamentalism. I don’t like any culture that makes people less than they are. In a sense the dulling of life includes all religion since anything that is not Christ dulls our spirit, withers our soul and stultifies our being. As a small boy I was impatient with old minds that had already coagulated and solidified. Already they had put up walls against life. Paralyzed living from rusted on ideas never attracted me. Neither do rusted and stultified religions that are constricted by old covenant mind-sets. We are meant to love life, to have a holy passion for its animal energy and ecstatic flights. Be impatient with those who extol their freedom in the law. They confuse light with darkness and wisdom with folly.

Reject this humbug. See it as the nonsense it is.

Freedom is a property of persons, of spirit and life. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. But The Spirit is not in or with the law. He is in Himself and the sharing of this life with us. By creation, by the cross, by the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, we have been drawn into and baptized with life. We are the product, we are the habitation of the life-giving Spirit.

In Jesus you do not have to live in a square because you live in a life – a life giving Spirit. This is no excuse for sin or a round about rationalization for rebellion. It is life defined. When Christ is our life we are captive to freedom and wholeness. Spirit, soul and body come alive with the infinite life of heaven that is manifest in astonishing variety on earth. Isaiah 61 and Luke 4.18 promise freedom for the captives and restoration of dignity and honour. Here we are talking of the dignity of sons and daughters of God.

Separation from God brings about death. We are as much separated from God when we live in religion as we are when we live in selfishness and immorality. Religion is not a substitute for Christ and is not an expression of His person. He is the expression of His person and by the Spirit of Sonship He expressed Himself in you – if you are willing and not so stubborn as to prefer the law to life and Christ’s stuff to Him. In any case a life in His stuff is captivity to our stuff and our obsession with working harder, doing better and putting ourselves forward as worthy of His love. But we are already loved, already in Christ and because of this already in Father’s presence and heart. They have made us part of themselves without any help from us. Just believe. Simply agree with what they have done in making you one with themselves and you can be a person instead of a pain.

The futility of some traditions is that they offer you more life and give you less. They propose truth yet reveal a profound ignorance of the mystery revealed in Christ. Their supposed improvement on the gospel of the Kingdom and the apostles teaching actually robs of you of spirit and life and makes off with the treasure that was yours.

Sin is the attempt to find life in un-life and in anything less than Christ –  like the law or a performance orientation. Righteousness is subordinate to life but a product of it. Jesus presented no list. He presented Himself for our atonement and transformation. We are more than legally accounted right. We are one. This is the fuller meaning of at-one-ment. Our our inheritance, our possession is Christ. His grace is ours. His life is ours. He, Father and Spirit are incarnated in our being. Fullness, completeness, holiness and wholeness are found when we have the faith of a little child. When we agree that Jesus is our way, our life and our truth.

Authentic You!

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Christ is risen and the law is buried. So is religion and any other thing that would  make you a phantom of yourself. Because Jesus rose on Sunday morning you can be  yourself, live from yourself, be an authentic self and be the son/daughter of I AM. In Jesus you are who you are without artifice or striving. How so?

‘For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory’ Col 1.27 NIV.

The glory of God is that He is I AM. And so are you by Grace. Grace is the person of Jesus, His life for you and the mystery of the ages revealed and made manifest for you and in you. Grace is the God-head alive, loving you and active in you.

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive’ 1 Cor 15.23 NIV.

When Jesus died you died in him. Your selfish, self-centered, Adam life is dead. When Jesus rose so did you. Now you are alive in Him as a son of God. Courtesy of Jesus you are placed within the trinity. In the embrace of our Father you are marinated in his presence and nurtured by His joy – that the prodigal has been returned to his rightful place in Father’s heart. Today you and our Father are one just as Jesus and Father are one.

Today we have an unobstructed view of the one who is life and righteousness Himself. We see Him not through self-generated distortions of the knowledge of good and evil. We see Jesus through Jesus. We have His Spirit of wisdom and revelation that comes from Him so that we may see Him as He is.

‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ 2 Cor 3.18 NIV.

To behold Jesus is to see yourself. You may have been brought up in the belief that the law is the mirror in which we see ourselves, note our deficiencies and then attempt to bring ourselves up to scratch. Not so. We are not in the old testament today. Jesus was never a means of extending the old testament or making a new kind of veil. He is the lens, the mirror, the light and the life. All the fullness of God is found in Him and this fullness is for you!

‘But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me’ 1 Cor 15.10 NIV.

The fruits of the Spirit are the fruits of the Family of God in you. They have nothing to do with law because law has no fruit, other than hypocrisy, futility, bondage and death. But you are alive!

The grace of God is a life who lives in you to love you and conform you to Himself. You will never be a clone of another in Jesus. Neither will you be an irritatingly pious representative of religion. You will live a full and gracious life touching others with the love and grace of Jesus. You will be the life of our Father among those who know Him and those who do not. Right now Jesus is our Mirror. To see Him is to see our true self. We see who we are becoming and we see our real life – the One who is what we were intended to be, who is what we are reborn to be and the one who is the lover and transformer of our souls. Jesus is who we are and who we are becoming – the sons of God who  live in spirit and in truth.

The Dead are Alive!

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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.

New Covenant Joy

When Christ is your life!

Today I received news of an excellent new book on the new covenant. I write about the new covenant a lot – because I believe most Believers do not live in it and because it is the key to the kingdom of God realized through us. The new covenant is simply grace in action because Christ is our life. I’m talking about Jesus the Person as my life. Not only as my grace but as the expression of my true self through me. All of us came forth from the Son. We all have been redeemed by the Son, liberated from death to be alive in the sense that heaven is alive. This life is expressed by the person of Jesus in us. How cool!

I am often aghast  at the life of the church and its absorption in itself as though its activity is the presence of God. When Paul talks of Christ our life He does not mean that all the stuff we do with Christ as a back-up is our life. He means that Jesus in us is the expression of our true self and that His life flowing through us is the spirit-life that ignites ordinary things with the life of heaven.

The torpor and ineffectual witness of much of the church results from ignorance of the new covenant. The water of life that flows from some of His disciples flows because Jesus and not ‘his stuff’ is their life. The light and life of the world is found in the simple fact of Jesus Christ manifest as you. You are not God. But you are the next best thing. You are His daughter or His Son! This is a simple fact. The reality and not the shadow. No need for a new regime of effort and worksy discipline. Just agree and step into Him.

See ‘How New is the New Covenant?: Discovering the Implications of: Jesus is Lord.

Society and Economy

God sent His Son to be our life because He loves the world and the earth. I am often appalled that people deny climate change and attempt to attribute it to some cause other than the human race. Kind of like ‘The dog ate my homework ..’ Appalled too when Christian friends try to pass it off as a one world government conspiracy, a green fetish, a socialist fraud or a punishment God is doing to naughty humanity. Many of God’s ‘judgments’ are simply the result of living as if He is not real and punishing ourselves. It’s easy enough to talk church and live the world. Some of us talk second coming and live as though He is never coming. ‘Having a bob each way’ we call it. More.

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.