The crux of the advancing Kingdom is Jesus come in the flesh. Jesus manifests in us individually and collectively as the church when we have chosen to live in the Spirit of Sonship. The latter is the genuine and lasting soil of Holy Spirit and His gifts.
Many years ago I was invited to write a piece for the church paper. I chose to write of the ‘busy-busy activity’ of many that was held to be ‘Christian’ but which had little of Christ and was chiefly about ‘doing Christianity.’ This is the paradox of living from institutionalism rather than living from Christ our life. The Christian life is not actually a Christian life. It is Jesus manifest as you! Big difference.
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
This scripture is a statement of the new covenant, the incarnation and an explanation of the our life in the Spirit and His gifts. But back to my church article. Our pastor, a good man and a friend, worried to me that it might ‘discourage activity’ in the church. He was coming from the position that there needs to be ‘ a lot happening’ in many places if a pastor is deemed to be ‘successful. A regime of works - even if they are dead - will please administrators from whom life has long ago departed. I have wondered if people know that any collective effort done to earn points with God expands the Kingdom of God not one inch. Why? It has no spirit and life.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
But there is no life in anything when Christ is not our life. No life in anything done out of obligation and no spirit and life in anything that is a result of the flesh. But the Spirit of Christ acting through us is another thing altogether.
Pastor Bonface Odihambo writes,
‘What is impossible to achieve under the law is possible under
grace. Help your congregation to understand God's grace. It will
save you much trouble in forcing them to do things. God's grace
will teach them to offer their lives to God. There is no power which
is stronger than love.
Hate is not [as] powerful as love - preach God's unconditional love and none can resist this. [Paul wrote] "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I
am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;
but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the
grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor 15:10).
Paul recognized God's grace in his life and His person incarnated. Grace laboured through him. The law drives us from God but grace draws us to Him. We cannot continue
under the law when grace is here, the life of God Himself has been
poured out to us.
How can we continue under a tutor when sonship and inheritance has come, when freedom is here? Jesus says “come to me all who labour and heavy laden and I will give them rest.” (Matt 11:28) He is not addressing the so called sinners but
those who have been heavily laden by the demands of the law. Let
us enter His rest apart from the law.
Those who are obsessed with keeping the law [cannot explain] why we have to
choose some section of the law and ignore others? The law was one unit. You have to keep it all or discard it all. To keep one and leave ten out you, have broken it all. [To dispense with the law but keep one commandment is to contain yourself entirely in the law]
If anyone is passionate about the law he should keep it all and even come up with his own temple. Let's walk in this liberty Christ has set us free and enjoy the life of God.” End of quotation.