Warnings against hell are a ‘gospel’ of sorts. But not the gospel of the Kingdom. There are no such warnings in the ministry of Jesus who presented Himself as the Way and the life. But He did warn religionists against choosing death by preferring their religion and their law over Him.
God’s first priority is to draw people into His Belonging. Forgiveness for sin and liberation from its degradations are the result of our already achieved union with God. But behavior modification under the influence of fear and condemnation does not represent Christ.
‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.’
To live in the Spirit is to live in the mystery of Christ as you.
Christ’s gospel is so different to ‘common gospels’ that the inhabitants of the latter can scarcely recognise that what they have is not what Jesus gave them: Himself as their life. This is incarnation and life in the Spirit – the living way that is the Kingdom of God.
Jesus legacy is not moralism even if many Christians think it is - which is how Mr Trump managed to get the support of certain sectors of christianity – the kind of which Gregory Boyd describes as a Christianised version of the knowledge of good and evil.
Such moralism is biased and partisan having its focus on where others are perceived to be missing the mark and conveniently blind to our own indiscretions and national wickedness. It’s easy to focus on something as observable as sex and easy to ignore what is part of our lives and our culture: Self centredness and greed.
Jesus’ legacy never presented itself as ‘a faith.’ Jesus and the apostles presented His inheritance as Jesus Himself and as such, life without measure. Such life includes forgiveness for sin and power over its degradations. If life and righteousness are to be evaluated it is life that has the supremacy because it is life that overcomes degradation and death in all its forms. Life is a Person with a name - Jesus Christ. Life is also fellowship with God, as in companionship with the members of the trinity who live in us and with us.
Some like to make much of being a ‘habitation’ of God. This is something to agree with and live from. Not to earn. You already are incarnated with God and in Jesus you live in God’s presence as He does. Live in what you have and celebrate your inheritance in everyday life.
When we speak of mysticism we are referring to the mystery of the interwoveness of ourselves into God and God into us. This is incarnation in spirit and in truth and the substance of post cross living. It is prior to the gifts of the Spirit and the anointing and is the ground of the state of being we call ‘Spirit-filled.’ As indicated so far the Kingdom of God is neither of the law or of specific behaviours or moralism. The Kingdom is Christ manifest as you and as us.
“Moralism is the common substitute and counterfeit for mysticism in almost all religions. Moralism (as opposed to healthy morality) is our reliance on largely arbitrary purity codes, magic rituals, and “requirements” for our supposed enlightenment, “salvation,” or any form of superiority.
Every group and individual relies on moralism in its early stages. We look for something behavioural to externally do or not do rather than undergo a radical transformation of our very mind and heart. I guess that would be la grande mort, or too big a death. Mature religion is about change, not little changes. But little changes and adjustments here and there are so much easier.” (1)
Moralists have not been born again. We are not reborn until Christ is our life. This life is His Person and His Grace manifest as you. This is new covenant living in which you have left the old self behind to become a self who is a son/daughter of God.
The worst kind of moralism condemns sinners to hell. The more smug kind invests us with a sense of entitlement based on some not abandoned aspect of the law - while robbing us of spirit and life.
If you are as old as I, it’s time you left moralism behind, exited from religion and began the state of being Paul called, ‘Christ our life’.
You don’t have to be old to make this transition. Better late than never. Once you do, you will have been reborn in fact rather than in theory. You will discourse on the spirit of sonship from the position of being a son rather than as a diligent worker. Workers get to heaven but it is sons who bring heaven to earth.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self . SPCK. Kindle Edition.