BETTER THAN WE THINK
Many Believers assume they are living in grace. What we really live in is a kind of ongoing contract in which we tell ourselves that we are doing Christian Things to attain intimacy with God. But the fact is, we already have intimacy and have had it since Jesus cried on the cross. ‘It is finished!’ What is finished? Separation between us and God.
There’s a perverse aspect inherent in religion that make people kill life (as religionists did to Jesus) as well as resent it. As in being put out and offended when told that our eternal life - our fellowship with God is a gift; that it is ours and we belong and that God has woven Himself into our being. So that our ‘distinctives’ have no merit and are in fact a futile addition to grace and ‘another gospel.’ Paul was right when in the letter to the Philippians he called these things rubbish.
Sometimes we are affronted because grace annihilates entitlement and ‘contract’. We cling to the notion of entitlement and contract acquired as a result of our own additions. We have this gift in jars of clay – Christ in us , Christ as us. Christ has come in our flesh – so that Jesus becomes us. Richard Rohr writes,
“Those of us who claim to believe in God more often than not deny that “we are already his children” (1 John 3:1) and create arbitrary hoops to jump through—at which few fully succeed if they are honest. So my moral self, which is always in flux, becomes the measure, and we have again lost any Absolute Measure. It seems the False Self would rather have very few “wins” than let God win with everybody. This is my sad conclusion after a life time of working in many churches on many continents, and it is summed up in an often murdered text by most preachers and translators: “I am calling all of you, but so few of you allow yourselves to be chosen” (Matthew 22:14). (1)
A moral self will never be the true self and not only because the morality cannot be maintained or attained. In the quest to make a godly self we will either persist with the pursuit because we are too afraid not too or make a righteousness so small that even cat could lie on it as a mat.
LAYERS OF INSULATION
Should we live from the law and religion we may exist as groups but not attain community in any depth. This is because a law based life develops layers of religion between the self and God. In the law we cannot know our true selves because we cannot know God in this self-insulated position. The Father knows the son and the son knows the Father. With Jesus as our life this ‘knowing’ is ours. This is our intimacy with God, our communion and community with each other.
Righteousness, life, Godliness and community are a person and all summed up in the person of Jesus Christ who is the Door to our fellowship with the trinity. The self and genuine community is only ever real when Jesus is our life and we are only Godly when we are Him and the trinity is in us. With Jesus as our life we are us. We are Paul, John, Ingrid, Steve and Cynthia and in being so are sons and daughters of God.
‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self . SPCK. Kindle Edition.