Whether we want to or not the planting of our being in the law, will make us concrete thinkers who find it hard to understand what it means to be alive in the spirit – although we may think we do. I have encountered people who operate to some extent in spiritual gifts but who do not live and act in the Spirit. We are not in the Spirit if we are tied to the law just as you are not in the surf if you are standing on the beach.
We are not in the Spirit because when our ‘self’ remains contained in the old law and old covenant with separated Adam. We are in the categories of the knowledge of good and evil. Here we are insulated and separated from God in our minds and in our self-created ‘reality.’ We are insulated from God’s Spirit because we have chosen to remain in separated Adam. But this reality is a false one because it denies the real gains of the cross: Union with God. Paul described it this way –
PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT
‘The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit’ 1 Cor 2.14 NIV. The person without the Spirit will insist that Christ our life is without substance while the law our life has substance. So he or she will stick to their icons and in doing so asphyxiate their union with God. They are not cut-off from union with God. Grace has a way. But they have the kind of union with God that a man in an iron lung has with air.
MARRIAGE AND THE BRIDE
There’s a difference between being with one’s spouse by correspondence and being together in the marriage bed. Degrees of union. We can live as separated persons in a house and still have a marriage of sorts. Similarly we can belong to the Body of Christ and live in semi-separation from God – because we are in something other than Christ.
The scripture above is not about the larger topic of salvation. It is about the core of post cross living – the union of Christ with us; the joining of the self to God and the weaving of the self and all who are willing into fellowship of the trinity. The person who is not born into new covenant living cannot see the Kingdom of God, cannot see God or His issues clearly. Such a Believer has limited spiritual discernment and lives in the illusion that they are in the Spirit because they have exhibited some gifts of the Spirit.
IT’S NOT THE GIFTS
Life in the Spirit is union with God; a union in which we and Father are one; a union in which we are interwoven into the trinity and the trinity is interwoven into us. This replaces the law – every aspect of it, and makes God’s life our life. The issue of life is not the law and the keeping of it. The issue is your inheritance of union with God and your embrace of this union.
LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
Life in the Spirit is the result of the atonement and incarnation. Life in the Spirit follows the cross and Pentecost. There were miracles in the old testament and specific anointings but never any life in the Spirit. This had to await the cross, the atonement and the consequent incarnation. This is life in the Spirit correctly defined. As such it is the ground of Kingdom life and the source of the gifts of the Spirit. Life in the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit are different entities. The latter, for proper functioning, depends on the former. Richard Rohr writes,
EVERYDAY NEW LIFE
“Once you know you are sharing in the force field of resurrection, you can always draw on it, live within it, and move out from it. The pressed clay or "dust" of Adam has then become the immortal diamond that is Christ. The breathing into Adam (Genesis 2:7) has become the breathing out of Jesus (John 20:22), and you are now sharing the breath of the one Spirit. The incarnation has become resurrection in you.”
Paul talks of our being drawn into the One Spirit, which is the quality described above as an interwoveness of being. The Greek word for this is perichoresis. It’s original application is to the trinity and their quality of being one yet separate as themselves. In Jesus this state of being applies to us in that we are one with God and interwoven into the trinity yet more full ourselves as a result.*
TREE OF LIFE OR NOT
The difference between the new covenant and the old is the difference between a living tree and a dead tree. The latter takes up space, has a certain presence but is not alive – except for the termites and beetles that live in the dead wood. In the Spirit you are incarnated with the new Adam who is the resurrected Christ and the resurrected you. You are never a dead man talking. You are now an agent of new creation life. Your self is alive because of God; you are growing into your glory as a son and you are leaving your false and discarded self behind as a husk. To remain attached to the law is to be outside of Christ and not part of the new creation - because we are not born again.
We create our own reality. Satan knew this and suggested an alternative narrative that Adam adopted and changed the world for the worse. What we believe – namely our mindset determines the reality in which we live. We are either living in our inheritance of the One Spirit or we living in an inheritance of captivity to mistaken ideas. But it is from such deformed concepts that Jesus came to set the captives free.
We are either advancing in this freedom or dormant in our inherited religious concepts, walking in circles and advocating a form of godliness without spirit and life.
We are not at liberty to invent our own theology and come up with our own gospel and remain spiritually alive. Karl Barth noted with good reason, ‘In the Church of Jesus Christ there can and should be no non-theologians.’ * This is why the law is passé and irrelevant and the life of God in us – Christ our life is everything.