Some Christian Communities are tied to the law because law, is the core of their doctrine and culture. Others are embedded in a more diffuse ‘soup’ of law, not doctrinally but a religious culture of the knowledge of good and evil with a Christian face. Both negate the cross in varying degrees which means that both dim the spirit of sonship in varying degrees in exchange for the letter and a culture of the letter that kills.
Anything not Jesus dulls and degrades our being as sons.
The Living Word is a Person and alive. Words are not life. They are not alive. Jesus is resurrected, alive and in you. His life has become your life. All we have to do is rest in His Reality.
If the foundation of our being and culture is the law our epistemology will be law impregnated and we will place great stock in definitions and positions. – But we will not be joined to God in our being in a holistic way. This is because the essence of the gospel is incarnation – the union of God’s being with your being.
Legalism allows people to claim that they belong to the one loaf when they are really living in separation mindset. The reason: They are in separation in the law, they have created their own loaf and their private gospel. In this frame it is possible to be attached to ‘another gospel’ that is no gospel at all and maintain that we belong to the body of Christ – even though we have a different christ and a non-gospel. The anomaly here is that God has placed them in the loaf – but they are not in it in spirit and in truth because they have created ‘another gospel.’
Non-gospels typically make the at-one-ment of little effect and retain their communities of belief in the old covenant and bits of the law. This captures them in a mindset of separation from God. As children of the letter, they see no anomaly in Paul’s warning that the letter kills. They are unable to live in the Spirit even if some of them have a few gifts of the Spirit.
As has been repeatedly declared in these posts one cannot be alive if the core of one’s life is dead. One cannot be a living person in spiritual terms if one’s heart is dead because the laws of Moses and assorted Christian precepts have been written on one’s heart.
LIFE NOT AN ABSTRACTION
Life comes from persons, which is why life flows to us from the trinity in which we have been immersed since the cross and Pentecost. Spirit and life – the essence of Kingdom vitality – flow from the life hub of the universe which is the Family of God.
Not only have we been established (rooted) with them as members of this family but our being and God’s being have been interwoven in intricate relationship. They live in our heart and our heart is in them. This is your inheritance, the state of your being and your status as son/daughter in the new covenant relationship of interwoveness with God.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20. This is our inheritance when we realise and embrace and possess it. Not if we don’t.
John Paul Young writes, “Relationship has always been the wild card, the court jester who appears in the midst of our human agenda and our hallucinations of independent self-sufficiency, revealing by any means that the emperor is naked. When you even skim the edges of relationship, you submit to mystery and lose control. Marriage would be so much easier if there wasn’t another person involved, but then it would be meaningless, too. Relationships are entwined, entrenched, elusive, messy, enabling, enrapturing, maddening, exhilarating, frustrating, exposing, and too beautiful for words.” (1)
But this is what we are called to in God. It is already ours. Don’t allow yourself to be robbed of it by vain personal beliefs or by misguided teaching.
CHRISTS WAY IS THE WAY
There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. But there is cause and effect and reaping what you sow. This is a universal fact.
We are not entitled to just ‘any theology.’ Any theology that is old covenant is not only passé, it is a refusal to deny our life in Adam and embrace our life in Jesus. Throughout the ages prophets and leaders have uttered ‘calls.’ They invite us to forsake lies and embrace the truth of God so that we can know Him as He is and become who we are.
Live in a lie and the lie will consume if not kill us. Sin is its own judgement, its own punishment and some think that hell is what self-deluded people have created on earth.
Jesus presented Himself as the revelation of God - the way the truth and the life. It is why Paul devoted Himself to explaining the life-giving qualities of the new and living way as compared to the old way of sin and death. Yet people of sound mind attach themselves to bad theology just as people who one might have hoped were sensible people, speak in support of venal and incompetent world leaders. As sincere and pleasant as they may be, old covenant ministers are not ministers of spirit and life. They are not malicious or evil. They are just not competent as messengers of the Kingdom of Life.
IT’S NOT A CONTRACT
John Paul Young writes, “Bad theology is like pornography—the imagination of a real relationship without the risk of one. It tends to be transactional and propositional rather than relational and mysterious. You don’t have to trust Person, or care for Person. It becomes an exercise in self-gratification that ultimately dehumanizes the self and the community of humanity in order to avoid the painful processes of humbling and trusting. Bad theology is not a victimless crime. It dehumanizes God and turns the wonder and the messy mystery of intimate relationship into a centrefold to be used and discarded.” (2)
Transactional and propositional talk is the essence of the letter. Spirit and truth is Christ our life. It is Christ in us and Christ as us.
The deceit of the knowledge of good and evil is subtle. Immersion in a law culture will have us talking a ‘propositional loaf’ when we are absent from the loaf in spirit and in truth. This is why we can talk Holy Spirit and the anointing and still be unwittingly devoid of spirit and life.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation (Kindle Locations 290-294). SPCK. Kindle Edition. (2) Rohr, Richard. Ibid. Locations 298-302..