The letter kills but the Spirit gives life, Paul wrote. The scripture is filled with words. Each word uniquely composed of letters and words arranged in such a way that we glean some meaning from the text we study. When we read the words we merely see a framework of something. The words aren’t the thing itself. They render us with a sensation of being on the outside peeking in. Words are simply a framework we attempt to climb. But, the framework isn’t meant for climbing, so we repeatedly fall down.
When we have hit the ground a sufficient number of times we begin to wonder whether perhaps there is something beyond, or within the framework, in other words; that we aren’t to climb to the top. On the inside Jesus is calling out: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” We begin to hear His voice, at first dimly but it becomes more and more exigent, and we sense that we are about to cross a threshold where no climbing is necessary.
One day the Spirit pushes us through and we are suddenly faced with another reality. We even find that Jesus wasn’t on the inside. He was on the outside. When we opened the door and let Him in the words we before perceived as outside us, are now us. They are an integral part of our being. We are the words. They are letters written on hearts of flesh. Before we let Him in the words pulled and pushed us. They tried to control and dictate our lives. Many a time when we failed to follow their commands we had that metallic taste of loss in our mouth, and it tasted like death.
Enchanted by the words, since we believed they were the final thing, we even exerted their powers on others. We tried to control our world with words. The letters didn’t just kill us, we used them to kill others as well. They are a lethal weapon in the wrong hands. In the right hands those letters kill that ingrained resolution which states that we can do it. The Spirit sometimes uses letters to purify, to turn metal into gold, to renew minds.
As Christ is formed in us we behold with increasingly clarity that we are the words. We are above and beyond the written words in a realm so utterly beautiful that words fail to describe it. The written words were just the door in. We are now the master of the words and they have to obey our commands, that is, they are expressed in a spontaneous living that is not defined by words because life is expressed by the Spirit within who is restrained by nothing except love.
Everything is reversed compared to Adam. Initially he defined the words when he named all the animals and all living creatures. Figuratively speaking we appreciate that he was the words, he lived the words, he gave them meaning beyond themselves. After the fall he was separated from the word, and the words defined his life and him. That is our starting point; always defined by words. Then we cross the river and we give the words meaning and definition by our being since they are us.