‘Whoever has ears, let them hear.’ New covenant living is the difference between circling the Mulberry Bush and advancing the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “I am the vine. You are the branches. Joined to me you will produce much fruit.” This is about as close to an expression of the new covenant as we can get – us joined to Him, His life as ours, our life as the expression of His life.
VINE AND BRANCHES
There is more in this statement than meets the eye. Jesus is both the vine and the root that joins us to the trinity. He is fully God and a member of the Godhead. The Holy Family is the womb of the universe, the womb from which we sprang and the SUSTAINER OF ALL LIFE. The notion of the Earth Mother, so common in primitive societies comes originally from this truth – the truth that all of us are sons and daughters of God; that we were conceived in the womb of the trinity, that we ourselves are fertile and potent in creativity and life as genuine sons of God. Should we be blessed enough to believe this truth we can produce fruit that lasts simply by being ourselves as sons and daughters in God. Who is God? Jesus Christ is the human face of God.
JESUS IS GOD
‘The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven’ Heb 1.3 NIV.
In Christ we are in God. Our already established union with God is critical for our release of spirit and life. This is what Jesus had in spades and what you have simply by agreeing that Jesus has achieved you sonship for you in spirit and in truth.
Yet it’s not a feat of piety. It is a resting and believing in the fact that we have been placed in God, in fellowship with the personages of the trinity and received as what we are: The Sons and daughters of God. We will be more fruitful by seeing ourselves as sons that we can ever be by defining ourselves as ‘commandment keepers.’
FRUIT AND THE INCARNATION
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, YOU WILL BEAR MUCH FRUIT; apart from me you can do nothing’ John 15.5 NIV. ‘Much fruit’ is not necessarily us having a ministry or an overseas mission. ‘Much fruit’ is when we are imparters of spirit and life because we are one with our Father.
‘Much fruit’ has been described as the fruits of the Spirit. And so they are. But these fruits are not only restricted to relationships. They involve ALL THAT IS since Jesus is the logos, the meaning and purpose of the universe from whom all life springs both physical, biological and social. The creation we live in is both novel and diverse because it is a reflection of the Creator. We possess these characteristics as daughters and sons. Being who we are in full creativity is both whole and holy and brings glory to God. This is the much fruit of the Kingdom as opposed to the fruit of clericalism.
There is no separation in the Kingdom of God. No sacred and secular. By the ‘at- one -ment’ Father abolished false dichotomies and made unified our living. All things are under Christ’s feet and all things have been drawn into Himself to be bathed in His spirit and life. The monasticism of the middle ages was fundamentally unsound on these grounds. Jesus made the two one. But people have insisted in making the one two. This is an undoing of the cross and a denial of the new creation.
We do not become holy by withdrawing from the world. We impart wholeness and holiness to all of the world as we embrace the incarnation that already is and multiply new creation life to our surroundings. Any form of monasticism today is as misguided as it was in the past. The mystery and power of the new creation is Christ in you.
FRUITS THE EFFECT – NOT THE PREREQUISITE
Fruits of the Spirit are not things you do to be accepted by God. They are not a variety of new testament law or a new form of legalism – though one might think that if we have not left law and old covenant behind. Since God cut the law off by the cross it’s time many of us did the same.
‘Fruits’ are the expression of Jesus in you. His life as our life is the new Genesis – the new creation evolving not from pond-scums and liver-warts but from the power of Christ in you.
Isaiah tells of our exalted being in Jesus where we become trees of life planted in the garden of God. We are planted where we are. This is where we bear fruit. Not necessarily in Tonga or Fiji but in Ringwood or Wahroonga or in the office or on the shop floor.
‘They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour’ Isa 61.3 NIV.
GLORY TO GLORY
The oft repeated saying at funerals sells us short, ‘Dust to dust as and ashes to ashes.’ We did not begin in dust and we will not end in ashes. Our destiny is beauty for ashes. Why? Human beings began in God. Holy Family enjoyed themselves so much they wanted to share their fun. So they brought forth us! You came from the womb of God. Because of the cross, Jesus’ resurrection and new creation power you are already in God and heading for even more joy eternally.
Because the trinity insisted in realising their plan, they made a living way in which we begin in God, live in God and end in God – with an ending that is not the ending but the end of the beginning! This LIVING WAY is Jesus from first to last. You don’t even have to ‘keep close to Jesus.’ Jesus is with you and in you. Embrace what He has given you. Embrace the Presence within you. Embrace the real you that you are as daughters and sons of God!
The parable of the Sower is related to the notion of oaks of righteousness and the planting of Yourself in God. Jesus is the seed in whom you are. In Jesus you are a seed sown into the soil of the trinity. Rooted here you grow into the fullness of yourself in grace and righteousness. You will always be fruitful as yourself – never as a clone of someone else or as a spectre reared in the prison house of the law. We are sons to the extent that we are in Father. Not sons to the degree we are in substitutes for His person. He has made a way. This way is you in Him and Him and you. That’s it. Just agree and step into it every day!
‘Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear’ MATT 13.8,9 NIV.