I witnessed a colleague take great offence once at the message of a speaker and ensuing responses because he correctly inferred that what was being said implied that he was not a son of God. Well he was, but being bound inside the old covenant as a matter of conviction, he was a son of the slave woman as Paul urged us not to be in Galatians. You might be surprised how many have not bothered with Paul’s advice even though it has been available to all in the Bible for hundreds of years since he wrote it in a bid to follow Jesus’ mission of setting captives free.
But what does Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son" Galatians 4.30 NIV. What is the inheritance spoken of here? It is life in the Spirit. Religion binds people. And disinherits them. A POLITICIAN It’s possible never to arouse opposition because we never speak the kind of truth that disturbs people’s souls or discomforts their assumptions, lazy thinking or sense of entitlement. Jesus and Paul spoke words of spirit and life because they were in God and not in the spirit of the knowledge of good and evil. Today this is the equivalent of being in the new covenant instead of the old - or more accurately being in religion instead of in the spirit of sonship.
What is religion? One definition could be when we live in the candle instead of living in the flame. Satan’s deceit shifted the human race from the flame to the abstraction of the knowledge of good and evil: Religion. Any supposed reform or ‘revelation’ that attempts to shift people out of The Spirit into The Law does the same. It’s The Fall revisited and reinstated. As Paul said,
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Gal 3.1-6 NIV.
With Paul ‘receiving the Spirit is much more than gaining the ability to be anointed and work miracles. For Paul and Jesus it is possessing the spirit and life of God with whom we have been made one. By in the spirit Paul means the opposite of in religion. He means joined and fellowshipping with the trinity.
One of the main features of religion is externality. Another is being bound. Yet another is separation from God in the very process of attempting to earn union with Him. There are excellent books written about this deceit in the spirit of wisdom and revelation. The teaching of separation as sound doctrine has been called The Great Darkness.
BODY OF DEATH
I saw a strange picture once of a man who had taken shelter inside the capacious carcass a dead horse. This was a parable of Paul’s ‘body of death’. We are like this man when we revert to revisionist teaching that denies the new covenant, adds a dob of law and attempts to make religion out of it. This can happen to nice people, sincere people, people who love Jesus and people who have painted the truck of their old covenant religion and its cargo, with a coat of new covenant paint. Getting the Holy Spirit becomes a damp squib should we remain tied to the body of death.
We are never bound in Christ because truth is a person who liberates and frees us into the infinite life of God that was ours before the fall and is ours again right now. Michael Kapler has some significant observations on the nature of the coma of religion.
“The waters are a bit murky when it comes to defining the actual meaning of the word “religion.” Language experts will differ, but many believe the English version of the word appears to stem from the Latin word religare, which means “to bind.” This can suggest “to place an obligation on” or possibly “a bond between humans and gods.” Since our English word was derived many centuries later, there is no clear word in the (Old Testament) Hebrew that translates into the word religion, and it would be rare to find in English Bibles. In the New Testament, there are just a few appearances of the word, even though the English translations don’t match clearly with the Greek language. Threskeia means “worship of the gods, as expressed in ritual acts” (Strong’s G2356). This is especially from an external and ceremonial practice, and can be applied in a very generic sense” (1)
If we have adopted a religious icon as a bond between ourselves and God we have adopted the culture of the knowledge of good and evil, the body of death and are touching on idolatry. In this age there is a bond. It’s Jesus Christ who is our surety and bond of belonging in the Holy Family.
We can live in religion and have a generic sense of God and a murky kind of discernment. Then again we can live in God Himself in the interwoveness that is ours with the trinity and participate in the apprehension of the word that is sharp and powerful to separate flesh from spirit. Now in oneness with God we can be that word because we are in God and we in person have become spirit and life.
“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
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee (Kindle Locations 276-282). Kindle Edition.