If there is a spiritual gift that is more important than any other it is the gift of spiritual discernment. It distinguishes between Kingdom and flesh and between bogus utterances and genuine revelation from Holy Spirit. Such discernment depends not on some personal attainment but on our living in new covenant union with Father. Jesus knew what was in people’s hearts because being one with Father He was privy to the truth that is God and the truth or otherwise that is man. ‘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 NIV. HIS KINGDOM In this age we can live in God and He in us. Union with God distinguishes that which God has ordained from mere religion. ‘Religion’ is always some version of the knowledge of good and evil with a Jesus gloss. It’s the ruse of this age. This is what Christianity as religion is - the slicing up of activity into our definitions of good and evil on the basis of a presumption that we speak for God. It’s a vain exercise of course. It results in arbitrary definitions of sin and righteousness and the kind of folly that elected the debased Mr Trump in order that some other perceived ‘good’ may come. The role played by evangelicals in America in the election of this character challenged person, would prompt us to asked if those who voted for him understand the kind of Kingdom Jesus established - that it is the Kingdom of His life. Not a kingdom of competing moralities or politics or a kingdom where we do evil that good may come. ‘Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing’ 1 Kings 18.21 NIV. In The Lord of the Rings, the power of the ‘one ring’ is identical to the power of the one tree. The Kingdom Jesus began is neither a religion or a sophisticated, Christ sanctified matrix of the knowledge of good and evil. It is a total break with Adam and Moses. It is our life in God and God’s life in us. Unless we can come to terms with the truth that the Kingdom of God is the fullness of the trinity incarnated and manifest in us we will have missed what was accomplished at the cross. We will be extending the regime of the ring and the orcs beyond their time - until we embrace the casting in of the ring to the fires that occured at the cross. ANOTHER GOSPEL Some of us unwittingly live in a situation from which the Spirit has departed. We have a version of God and ourselves that grows a kind of theology that is of the head and of the will. It gathers to itself prohibitions and admonitions. It cites values and precepts, progresses the listener through a series of scriptures and anecdotes that isolate the wrong and uphold the right. It comes to a conclusion often called the message. In this message principles of good living are paraded while items of wickedness are identified and trounced. The conclusion of this message is that we should all try harder by acts of determination and discipline. That we should adhere to these behaviors as our life. This is the norm for what many of us know as ‘Christianity’ but it is not what Jesus began as the Kingdom of God. ‘In the Kingdom Jesus began we do not live from Christian values. He lives Himself in us.’ Exercises in behavior modification and dissertations on the virtue of good over evil may pass for truth where communities are embalmed in a contemporary and subtle legalism. But they are not the province of genuine righteousness or of wisdom and revelation. Sure they may contain a hotchpotch of contemporary church fads or yet another rehash of the old covenant with Jesus Clothes. Such addresses may contain fragments of religious wisdom. But one thing they do not present is a revelation from Jesus Christ. I have never heard a law captured person speak as a mouthpiece of the revelation of Jesus. But I have heard many non-theologically trained, ordinary folk share their walk with God and release a revelation from Jesus in the process. ‘Live from the law and release diluted death. Live Jesus as your life and multiply life without measure.’ 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 NIV. Spirit and life is what we multiply in Jesus. Sophisticated death is what we exude in Adam. Jesus always spoke words of spirit and life because He and His Father were one. He lived in what has come to be called the Spirit of Sonship. He was a son in spirit and tin truth. Unlike Adam there was no separation between Jesus and our Father. Today we have Jesus’ union with Father as our own. This is our inheritance and we need to make this our possession if we are to irrigate paddocks with the life of God - rather than sow tares of religion as if they are wheat. Law based Christian culture is air without oxygen and clouds without rain. Let’s not kid ourselves that under pluralism and a liberal outlook we have leave to retain what God has abandoned, shuffling along with these mold-ridden bags of religion as if we have something new and precious. It is old, discredited and poisonous. It has been radically outmoded by Christ for us, as us and in us. Christ our life, is THE WAY in which the qualities of the trinity and their life together are manifested AS US in our sonship. ‘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 NIV. UNSPIRITUAL THEOLOGY Life in the Spirit is what it says it is: Life in the Spirit of sonship in an atmosphere of revelation from the Spirit of Truth. You are no longer in Adam’s body of death but literally in Christ’s Spirit of Life. So don’t suffocate yourself with the stale air of the old covenant by living in a room with a corpse and presuming to teach your recalcitrant way, your unspiritual theology, as the way of life. Karl Barth writes, ‘Unspiritual theology, whether it works its woe in the pulpit or from the rostrum, on the printed page or in "discussions" among old or young theologians, would be one of the most terrible of all terrible occurrences on this earthly vale. It would be so bad as to be without comparison with the works of even the worst political journalist or the most wretched novels or films. Theology becomes unspiritual when it lets itself be enticed or evicted from the freshly flowing air of the Spirit of the Lord, in which it alone can prosper. The Spirit departs when theology enters rooms whose stagnant air automatically prevents it from being and doing what it can, may, and must be and do.’ (Karl Barth. Evangelical Theology: An Introduction (Kindle Locations 653-657. Kindle Edition). The law suffocates the effect of Christ. Religion hollows out what could have been Christ in you had you not embraced this substitute. The law opposes the reality of Christ come in our flesh to live in our being and offers up it strictures as an egocentric replacement for life Himself. Law offers an old and stagnant way of separation from God and the disillusionment of Adam in place of the new creation life of Christ multiplied as His people. This is pleasing to the Father of Lies. But an affront to our Father of Truth and His Son. Don’t crucify the son of God again. Embrace Jesus and His life and His resurrection will flourish as you.