In some ways we have a split personality. There is part of us that hungers for more of God. This is the true self. There is another part of us that it is repelled by God out of self-dislike and fear. Since the cross this better part of you has the upper hand. In Christ’s resurrection it triumphs in you and is the real you. You can have more of God and enjoy being more of you without being selfish and by being more Godly.
Some years ago in a book entitled, ‘God’s Trademarks, I read an insightful remark by a Godly teacher. He had observed that we can go to church and hide in the routines of religion in order to hide from God – in other words in our continuation of the naked Adam and Eve hiding from God in their nudity as a result of the fall.
BUT THE FALL IS INDONE.
We have been given union with God – a union that does not depend on religion but is all ‘encounter.’ It’s more than an occasional encounter. It’s a life in which we and Father are one because we are one with Christ who has undone the separation caused by Adam and clothed us in His Person.
In Jesus we have exchanged Adamic discomfort about God for Jesus love and union with His Father. His ‘I and the Father are one’ is yours.
Believers can cling to their religion like the hoarder clings to his clutter. The entire life and culture of some families is about ‘hanging on to their stuff.’ It makes them fearful, narrow and visionless.
Some hide in religion because they know nothing else, others because it gives them a sense of entitlement to God. Still others because they are stubborn and cannot be taught. As in the realm of current politics there are nice people with decrepit and crippling ideas. But there are also nice people who live from distorted gospels which produce distorted people and a crippled church.
The spread of Trumpism around the world is the spread of selfishness and short-sightedness. It’s not going to end well. As the Lord of the Rings reveals it turns people into orcs.
The Fellowship of the Ring is the fellowship of the cross and Christ our life.
JESUS DECLARES THE WAY
Jesus announced Himself as the way, the truth and the life. He was not announcing Christianity. He was announcing Himself as our life in Himself. Paul emphasised the Kingdom as Christ in us and Christ our life and went so far as to describe amendments and variations to this as what it actually is: Rubbish and dung.
The extent to which our religion is dung us the degree to which it is our doctrine instead of the gospel of Jesus and the apostles. There are gospels that are the fruit of the word of truth rightly interpreted. There are gospels that are slight distortions of the truth and there are gospels that negate the cross and place people back in Adam and the fall with a ‘Jesus gloss’.
CHRIST AS YOU
Paul summarises what it means to live in our inheritance of life in the Spirit as follows. ‘He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit’ Titus 3.5 NIV. So it’s not about our living as a human doing in behaviors or culture. It’s not even a religion. It’s Christ as us – which can be distressing to religious professionals who might like to look to their needs for a career. As an Astute Catholic remarked on the sending of to jail of Cardinal Pell. ‘We can do it ourselves. We don’t need them’. People do need teachers sent from God. They do need the fivefold gifts – but these are not the province of institutions or church empires. They belong to the Godly.
How do people become Godly and how do they received the life that is theirs in Him? By believing in the gospel of Jesus and the apostles.
The basis of this gospel is the undoing of our Adamic life and the recreation of the self in the Christ life which is the fellowship of Jesus, of the trinity and of heaven. So we can be done with a religion that consists largely of hiding and mainly of self-made garments - garments that insulate us from the healing life and Spirit of God.
“Sitting at the right hand of God the Father almighty is the exact opposite of hiding in the bushes in the Garden of Eden. It is the exact opposite of Israel running from God, of religion. The ascension preaches to us that here in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, the Fall of Adam and Eve has been undone, Adamic existence has been thoroughly converted to God, fundamentally reordered into right relationship with God.” (1)
(1) Kruger, C. Baxter. Jesus and the Undoing of Adam. Perichoresis Press. Kindle Edition.