To see Jesus is to see yourself. As the Son of Man He is who you are and who you are becoming. Becoming by the Spirit of Sonship. The message in these pages is based on the assumption that Christ Himself is our life. This may seem strange, if like many we have absorbed the idea that Christ is about religion and religion is about doing good and not doing the bad. Then again we may have embraced a religion that is essentially performing for Christ. Our message is not that. It is that Christ’s life by the Spirit is our life and that His life in all of us is the new creation.
‘Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me’ John 6.57 NIV.
Gregory Boyd and others have observed that most Believers live in a Christianized version of the knowledge of good and evil rather than in the Christ. So dimmed is the importance of the incarnate Christ in most of us and so lost on us is the meaning of the Lord’s Table that many of us live in good conscience from a Christian performance orientation. For most, the Lord’s Table is about the cross, when in reality it is about His life becoming our life. The Lord’s Table is the sign of a greater reality: Incarnation - our Father, the Son and Holy Spirit in you.
Coming from religion we may well regard such assertions with suspicion. It seems to simple and too good to be true. But the gospel of the Kingdom is simple, profound and true because it is Christ writ large in you, in the church and the social structures of the world. If you have ever wondered why the progress of the Kingdom has appeared sluggish the answer is here. The kingdom has been impeded because we tend to live in His stuff rather than in Him.
According to Jesus, John and Paul the Kingdom is Christ in you, Christ your life and Christ the One (the logos) by whom all things hold together and have their true purpose and function. This is to say that the Son is Creation in Person as well as Redemption, resurrection and the upwelling of life for the physical, spiritual and social realms. He is the means by which all lesser things have spirit and life. It is in His person that the world finds resurrection and re-creation.
‘He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ Col 1.17 NIV.
The implication is that there is no life at all in any created thing; no life in things, beliefs, behaviors or philosophies. And certainly no life in the knowledge of good and evil. Even the good has no life unless it is done in God. All things are under Jesus’ feet and in all things He holds the supremacy. These lesser things come alive when they are a function of His being in and through us. When Christ is our life we discharge rivers of spirit and life.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV.
We were made to live in God. Thanks to the cross, the resurrection of Jesus, Pentecost and the life of the trinity incarnated in our being He has graciously positioned us in Himself and made us His habitation. The gospel of the Kingdom, as opposed to gospels of self-effort and try harder attitudes is one of rest, of agreeing with what God has done on our behalf, yet stepping positively into this as the reality. We are called to live the reality of Christ rather than living in the shadows of good works. The reality is Christ. Out of this reality comes the fruit and the authority of the Kingdom.
‘Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will lovethem, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.23 NIV. SIMPLE AND COMPREHENSIVE
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV. This glory is not only future. It is you in the present as a son or daughter of God.
Paul’s naming of Christ as our life should come as a great relief. It enables us to be done with religion and all that stuff attributed to Christ and live in Jesus Himself. All of us are better off to live in Jesus rather than in Christianity. Jacques Ellul observed that Jesus did not come to establish Christianity. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Gregory Boyd declared that the gospel of the Kingdom is not a Christianzed version of the knowledge of good and evil. It is Christ in you. Others like the Reverend Dr Gordon Moyes have noted that Christianity is not a religion. It is a person. In The Shack, the author has Jesus speak the amusing line, ‘I’m not a Christian.’ Of course He is not. He is “I AM.” He is HIMSELF.
It should not be surprising that it takes Jesus and our embrace of Him and a careful looking into His face to know who we are in order to be ourselves. We are sons and daughters of God who advance the Kingdom of Heaven. Not clones and ciphers.
Jesus did not come to promote institutionalism or religion. He presented Himself as life itself and the means of life to the full. There is never anything un-life about Jesus. All that is fun, fresh and satisfying has its source in Him.
Jesus names Himself Way, Truth and Life. He did not live from sin-consciousness. He lived from His Father and went about undoing all forms of oppression and death. He is resurrection personified. But not only is He the Son of Man and Son of God. To see Him is to see our Father. Jesus enables us to be cheerful about living and more. In Him life really can really be.. well.. about life. I have never met a religious person from whom life splashes in like water from over full buckets.
I have met folks who are alive, folks who do not appear to know God, but who have so much life and grace that it gets me thinking.
Have their hearts made a response to Him even though their heads do not know His name? Sure, I know that there is salvation in no other other Name. I would not write a blog on Christ our life if I though that generic good was sufficient or religious abstractions enough. I am saying that that there is life and power in His name. But there is nothing stale, stuffy of dormant about such life. I know also that Jesus’ salvation belongs to all; that He has reconciled the whole world to Himself, even if they do not know it and do not know who God is yet. The Spirit of Christ creatively uses every means to draw all people into Himself.
‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation’ 2 Cor 5.18 NIV.
Jesus is the resurrection and the new creation in person. By choosing Him as our life, we agree that He holds all things together in Himself. By receiving Him in the Spirit – this is the only way God can incarnate Himself in us - we are joined not only to God, but to the creation and the unfolding plan whereby the entire creation is brought together to be one in Christ.
‘And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth’ Eph 1.10 NLT.
There is nothing effete or weak about the person of Jesus. It is unfortunate that He is so often dulled by god talk, submerged in a dialogue about Christian values or hidden in the weekly melee of church. However there are places where His freshness, authority and power are in evidence. This occurs when we make a life from Him personally and eschew generic Christianity for the Person who is life Himself.
Jesus is I AM and so are you in Him. In Jesus you are who you are and expertly fitted to be yourself and write your chapter in the book of life. As Francois Du Toit asserts in his introduction to The Mirror Bible, in seeing Jesus, you see yourself!
People who are the expression of Christ in them are not usually religious. Thank God! They are free. They live in a wholesome non-conformity. They are uniquely themselves, often very creative, witty and funny. They are not perfect. Actually they are not better than others. But they do live in their inheritance as sons and daughters rather than being clones of religion. There is a flowering in their humanity that comes from the indwelling of the Son of Man. Jesus is not a stuffed shirt. Humour, good jokes, fun and laughter originated in our Father – who I am pleased to say - is not a male version of Queen Victoria. Father is amused. He delights in you and loves people. And since we are made in His image as man and woman we can appreciate that He has the qualities of a mother and a beautiful woman as well as those we look for in a Father. Christ your life website is an arm of Isaiah 61 Ministries.