This post is about the new and living way. Paul urges us to ‘work out or salvation with fear and trembling.’ Since Paul is the apostle of the free Spirit this cannot be about works or law - and it isn’t. Here he hints at the fact that our salvation is so radical, so far beyond normal expectation and so wonderful as to not be readily received by the religious mind. The latter can, in the mode of practicality and false piety, too easily cast its extravagant generosity off glibly as, ‘You are a hard man’ in favour of the naturalistic mindset of Abraham’s attempt to achieve the promise with the slave woman.
The old and dead way is that you attempt to bring yourself into alignment with rules and abstractions. The new and living way is that Christ Himself becomes your righteousness, your life and the true representation of who you are.
Life in the Spirit is not life in the gifts. Neither is it Holy Spirit welded on to the law and old covenant. Life in the Spirit is not our Adamic or Mosaic life - or our Torah life with Jesus’ assistance. It is Christ’s life as our life.
Jesus is not mediated through the law or Christian values. He mediates Himself. The vicarious ministry of Jesus for us and in us is total. Jesus is totally you and unconditionally in place of humanity in the entirety of our relationship to God, ourselves and each other. This is the vicarious humanity of Christ and it is all encompassing and absolute. So let’s not annul it by attempting to do a few links of the arrangement ourselves! The weakness of this method is addressed below.
When we urge each other to ‘keep close to Jesus’ we are denying this vicarious ministry and placing the onus of a relationship with God on ourselves. But we are no more able to consistently stay in intimacy with Jesus than we are with Father or Holy Spirit. Neither do we have the power to do good things because we have seen how loving God is - so now we would not do anything to offend Him. The fact is we would and we do. No good thing exists of itself. All things like love, patience, grace and obedience - the gifts of the Spirit are functions and expressions of Jesus’ Person. Thus we are well advised to ask Him to release Himself into our being.
Christ our life means that He is the motivation, the means and the grace that forms any of heavens life manifest in us. The essence of the Gospel of the Kingdom is Christ come in our flesh.
Francois Du Toit, translator of The Mirror writes explains the difference between living in Jesus and living in the law plus Jesus.
“[This is a] very important verse (so often translated and understood wrongly!) In 2 Cor 10:4 and 5 Paul says in the Greek, that we arrest every thought at spear point. This is important to notice. It is the power in the sharpness of the spear that arrests the thought. In the previous verse Paul says, "We have weapons that demolish strongholds!" A stronghold is typically a mindset and a thought pattern. Now if a single thought can activate and engage a complete thought pattern, (almost like opening a complete document on your computer with a single click) then if that thought can be arrested, the thought pattern is de-activated!
Here is the good news: Paul did not say like (unfortunately) most translations do, “We must make thoughts obedient to Christ! The Greek says we arrest every thought at spear point BY THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST. BIG [HUGE] DIFFERENCE!
Our own obedience couldn't save us under Moses. Neither can it save us under Christ.
It’s the revelation of the obedience of Christ that gives authority to the weapon that we employ to put every thought contrary to us, under arrest! See Rom 5:19
If we can invent technology that can be an effective anti-virus shield to work even while we sleep, then let’s not underestimate the powerful and effective weapon God has given us in our ability to understand the full implication and benefit we have in the obedience of Christ!”