THE TRUE CHRIST
Living by a selection of moral precepts does not make us a good person. Neither does the fact that people enjoyed a conference we ran, mean that the theology taught there was entirely of God. Christ in us makes us a good person as He manifests His being by the Spirit into our flesh. With the Spirit of Jesus manifest as us we are able to live graciously as a human being and son of God. There's nothing moralising about the fruits of the Spirit. They are simply Christ's life manifesting as yours.
We can attend a conference and leave with a warm religious glow - unaware that some of what we heard was a serious distortion of Christ's gospel. Fortunately Jesus is always present where we seek to know Him so that nothing we do towards this end is a waste of time. But teaching a mixture of the old covenant and the new is pollution whether we like to name it as such or not. Grace and truth is always better than grace and cunningly devised fables. The former is life to the full. The latter in iniquity and decay.
'There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death' Prov 14. 12 NIV.
The touchstone of authenticity is not what we do or believe. It is what Jesus does and what He believes about Himself and us. 'Truth' for us in not living in our version of the facts. It's living in His gospel of the Kingdom. This is the apostle's doctrine and the new covenant. We teach much about the new covenant because it is the effect of the cross and the surety of a harvest of sons and daughters of God. The new covenant is the accomplishment of God for us and the only authentic reality for the new testament age.
Holy Spirit and the gifts bolted on to the old covenant and the law is not the heritage Jesus left us. He left us union with God, the interwoveness of our being with the trinity and life in the Spirit that is a function of this union.
ONE RING TO BIND THEM ALL
Muslims hope to build a better society by adopting principles of good living. Legalists hope to be worthy of God by adopting a selection of good works - works that cast them in a good light and usually blind them to more subtle and extensive concepts of righteousness. As noted recently in one of these posts, making a bond with God or with 'the gods' is the common factor in distorted religion, both pagan and Christian. This why Christ is our righteousness and our life and not some obsession of evangelicals anxious to restore Moses or set up a temple in Israel.
All of these observances are externalities and are no more able to transform our nature than living from the knowledge of good and evil or from the law itself. Jesus came as the solution because that sort of stuff doesn't work and because the incarnation of Himself in our being does. In Christ all of us will not have exactly the same concepts of righteousness but we will all be expressions 0f the person of Jesus.
Jesus does not live to help us keep the law or implement a Christian Agenda. He lives to be our life. Our part is to agree to be the manifestation of Him.
It's not Christianity as religion that is the solution to the world's chaos. The cure is not found in externalities - even with religion supercharged by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the solution and the solution set out by Paul and John and other new testament writers. Any post apostolic additions or adaptations of the apostles teaching did not come from God. Such teaching is illegitimate and a snare. Michael Kapler observes,
"Over the years, I've seen many people hurt by Christian religion. These are victims who walk away from the institutional church dazed and confused, feeling the need to get out, not wanting anything to do with it any more. It's not so much that these people are angry with God; more than likely they think God is angry with them (he isn't). Most people who leave the church institution are perceived as walking away from the Lord, but truth be told, they may just be departing from the wrong message." (1)
THE WRONG MESSAGE
Sometimes large swathes of the church can be attached to the wrong message as Gregory Boyd notes in his observation that many Christians are living from a Christianised version of the knowledge of good and evil. This is unfortunate because this outlook is a subtle and widespread effect of the anti-christ spirit - where so called Christian teaching is adopted that circumvents the doctrine of Jesus and the apostles. When Jesus warned of false christs and by implication, false gospels, He was doing so to preserve our inheritance and ensure the expansion of the Kingdom.
The Lord of the Rings books are a parable of truth that was never fully grasped and a carnality that was never fully renounced. It's not good enough to subsist in a situation where everyone is having a nice time, despite the fact that we may be living in a serious perversion of the truth and what Paul called 'Another Gospel.' It produces orcs and the rise of carnality that can only be eliminated by the pure in heart who form a fellowship of the ring: Of the new covenant in which Christ alone is our life and we abandon the flesh as our method and cast our carnal selves into Jesus and His cross. This is what shatters the Kingdoms of this world and establishes the ring of the sons and daughters of men in the person of Jesus Christ.
‘Christ our life means that in Him we have died to us and that in Him we have risen to our true selves as sons of God.
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee (Kindle Locations 286-289). Kindle Edition.