THE REAL AND THE SHADOW OF THE REAL
It’s possible to present a blurry, muffled gospel and fill a religious space from an old covenant mindset or a mixture of the old and the new. In this mode we can manage a theological address with a few grace given droplets of spirit and life. But the tenor of our effort no matter how theological its clothing is ‘something and nothing.’
There are increasingly powerful declarations of the real gospel declared by apostolic representatives of Jesus. I’m aware that the word apostle has been hollowed out by inflation over the last twenty years. Yet there are apostolic people who are representatives of Jesus in the real sense. They are competent to minister the Kingdom. Competent in that they declare His Gospel rather than some theologically constructed derivation of their own. They do so because they live in the Spirit and are able to share the wisdom and revelation of Christ.
The real gospel is profoundly simple and simply profound in its intensity and expanse. J Baxter Kruger writes, ‘The real gospel as I have come to call it is rather different from the news that was handed to me in my youth. Listen to the end of Jesus’s prayer moments before he went to the cross. “Father, I have made Your name known to them, and I will make it known, in order that the love with which You love Me may be in them, and I in them”’ (John 17:26).
Along with the real Christ comes the real gospel and the real Body of Christ. It is this Body – the non-mummified kind that is joined to Jesus and not insulated from Him by some other entity - that is spirit and life. This is the real solution to the worlds self-confident chaos and inner alienation. It’s also the solution to an existence in the coma of religion.
The scripture above declares that we now possess the relationship with Father that the Son has and that the love Father has for the Son is the love Father has for us.
Here we have the embrace of ourselves and the world in the love and the fellowship of God. This scripture has everything to do with our state of being – as in “In Him we live, move and have our being. It prophecies the soon coming atonement, the at-one-ment of ourselves and God and the incarnation – of God in us and ourselves in God and the manifestation of the Spirit of Sonship in all who believe. In being made one with God we are not being made one with an abstraction like the law or an ideology or a lesser christ on which regulations and Christian values are hung. We are drawn into the fellowship of the trinity where we are one in the unity and diversity of the three personed God.
It’s obvious from what Jesus did and who He is that this is much more than a position statement or some plank in some fundamentalist grid. Of course, it is fundamental in that it is the ground of our being – the ground of our being sons and daughters and the soil of our being the church and the new creation. This is the ground of being fully human and fully alive; of our being capable and competent to minster the Kingdom in the terms of new covenant authenticity and fertility.
It is this living fertility and inherent potency, derived from our embraced union with God that is the real life in the Spirit. Real life in the Spirit is the result of our rootedness in Father, which makes us sons in spirit and in truth. Life in the Spirit is the effect of union with the divine persons. This flow of life is personal, alive and spirit. This is why new covenant union with God makes us competent to minister the kingdom and never a rootedness in the abstraction of law or the fog of religion. The latter insulates us from His life and eliminates entirely and genuine living in the Spirit.
‘So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit’ 1 Cor 15.45 NIV.
The core of new testament life is the incarnation – Christ in us. Paradoxically life in the Spirit is the result of Christ come in our flesh. This is to say that the person of Jesus and more - the entire trinity lives in your body so that as a human being with a body you are also a life-giving Spirit in the manner of Jesus Christ. We live in the Spirit when we live in our new covenant provision of being interwoven with the being of God. John describes this when he wrote the words of Jesus,
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14,20. We can realise this and live in it now.
As such we become sons in spirit and in truth with an apostolic witness. We are alive with spirit and life because we live in the Spirit. We are not joined to a body of death and nor are we insulated from union with God by an untimely attachment to the law of immersed in the miasma of religion. We are in Christ. He is our life and we have what is His. We and our Father are one. We are alive in the Spirit of Christ.
You can read all of Baxter’s post here.