AN OVERFLOWING GLASS
We can be nice people and have many of the characteristics of Jesus, yet have far less of His fullness than He has on offer. Like running on four cylinders when we have eight. We can be living good lives, as many do in many religions, yet be accessing mere degrees of what is available in Jesus and His Living Way. This is why religion is not the Kingdom and spirit and life is. The latter is the life of God in us not only as a spirit but as the trinity. I believe the effect of Godliness is to be a gracious and loving person. Living in grace – which is to live in Jesus Christ – we can each enjoy peace and joy while being transformed by His life within.
Recently I wrote that we may not be godly simply because we adhere to five notional moralities and abstain from thirty six. Not only does this leave many virtues unaccounted for but those we chose are probably the result of personal bias and partiality towards ourselves. The incapacity of the letter to provide wholeness is why the Ten Commandments are insufficient for holiness and only a shadow of the Real. In any case one could ‘keep’ the ‘ten’ and still be a shambles of a person. This is why legalists are often the most unhealed and unwhole of the Christian Community.
You might think what I am about to say contradicts what has been said so far, but it does not. I have seen people from non-Christian religions witness the grace of Jesus - quite unaware of what they are doing - while under attack by Christian bigots. God is a spirit and will manifest in those who sincerely seek Him.
Nevertheless, Jesus, Paul and John are definite about the truth of Jesus as the way and the gospel of the Kingdom is what they preached. So we need to keep our focus as well as avoid polluted streams. We can modify behavior somewhat by adherence to rites and externalities but we cannot transform ourselves through them. Nor is there any at-one-ment in them. There is no more life-giving efficacy in a routine of rites than there is in washing in the Ganges. It’s the power of an infinite and person life in us that make the difference.
The Lord’s Table is a case in point. We have been made one with God by His body and His blood. By using these signs we remind ourselves of this fact and deciare their truth for our lives. It’s not the rite that delivers life. The life is in the reality of His life as ours that already exists. Those who eat Jesus in everyday life, will live because of Him.
PURPOSE OF THE CROSS
The Lord’s Table is not about us wringing our hands about the crucifixion. It’s about agreeing with God that His Son is our life in every possible way. While the principles of the new covenant appear nowhere in a list, flashes of its essence are revealed in scriptures throughout the new testament.
Like this one: ‘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 Christ’s definition of Godliness. ‘That day’ for us will be the day we depart the husk of religion and begin to live in the fullness of God’s life as our life. There is nothing more simple than this but nothing so often side-lined, dodged, rationalised away and opposed by the religious spirit. As Joshua said before the adventure of the Promised Land, ‘Hey! Choose this day who you are going to serve!’