A friend sent me a text message yesterday. In it were the words, ‘Thomas Merton was a modern day mystic - one who had an experiential knowing of God.’ I replied to my friend, ‘Mystics experience God as your message notes. The flip side of this is that God is not experienced in any depth by legalists or fundamentalists. This union that is ours is not a bunch of definitions. It’s a state of being - a state of being one with God. A gift already ours.
There’s great benefit in being part of God’s narrative rather than being in one someone has made up. Make sure you are living from Christ’s book and not a work of fiction.
It is ours. It is our reality. The sacrament of the Lord’s Table means that we are spiritually alive because we are eating Christ. The point of this celebration is not that we receive Jesus by doing that rite. The point is that this is our life – the life that we are living each day because it is our post cross inheritance. Jesus emphasised that ‘doing’ without being does not impart life. We do not impart spirit and life because we are busy. We are channels of spirit and light because Christ is our life and there is a flow of eternal life moving between ourselves and the trinity.
No one would drink the milk carton and think they had drunk the milk. But people do this all the time with religion. Religion is the husk. The kernel is the trinity in you. We can live a life-time in religion and not realise that we have lived in the shadow instead 0f the reality. Since the cross and Pentecost religion has been passé because all that belongs to Adam - separation from God, the non-life that separation entails, attempted righteousness through externalities and the striving for the union with God that is already ours (religion) - has been a vanity. We are one with God and Jesus would have us live in this secure union in order to honour His sacrifice, participate in His life and advance the Kingdom beyond stalemate.
‘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.
SEPARATION – THE GREAT DARKNESS
All sin results from separation from God. When separation and the attempt to attain union becomes religion, we have the subtle witchcraft that undermines Godliness. Satan created separation at the fall. He maintains it through separationist, old-covenant culture and an addiction to religion. Why are blind-folks addicted to religion. This is where they are getting their sense of security, their identity and status. They are trapped in the toils of the most subtle idol.
But you have Christ’s eyes. You have a new life, a new covenant a renewed union with God that exceeds that enjoyed by Adam and Eve before the fall. Our being is interwoven with the trinity. Jesus has drawn us into the life of the heavenly Family. Jesus has defined obedience as believing in Him and His gospel with the result that the trinity make their home in us. We don’t live in the knowledge of good and evil today with our little sacred and secular compartments, God-places and not God-places, holy days and secular days. Jesus has drawn and is drawing all people and all things, including times and places into Himself. Don’t be a laggard extending what he has undone at the cross. Kriston Couchey writes,
DECEIT OF RELIGION
Satan is not worried if we engage in good works, missionary ventures and charitable exercise. As long as we are not joined to the core – God woven into us and us into God – he is satisfied to have us absorbed in the peripheral. If our life is religion we will imagine ourselves to be absorbed in reality and the real substance of holiness. In actual fact we are absorbed in the insubstantial. Absorbed in that which has no eternal validity and which Jesus described as the flesh that accomplishes nothing for the Kingdom. What counts, Jesus said is spirit and life. Spirit and life is what we have in oneness with God. It’s what we do not have when living in the separation of the law.
“Religion is about a God who is separate and must be petitioned from afar to receive favour. Jesus Christ is all about our Father in Christ reconciling men to Himself, not reconciling Himself to men. Scripture is clear that in Christ the Father was not holding men's sin against them. Rather He came to deliver from sin and its consequences. So we could be free to know Him. Religion is about a God who must be sought out there somewhere. Jesus Christ is about a Father who has come and made his abode in and with us. Religion is about seeking to enter a temple where God resides. Jesus Christ is about being a temple where those joined to Him are one Spirit with Him.”
ALIVE IN GOD You are one spirit with God. You are in God irrespective of the day or the place or the activity. The fullness of God dwells in you. Jesus has made you one with God, one with yourself, one with humanity and one with the cosmos. Jesus draws all that is, into Himself. You have the identity of son/daughter of God in Jesus alone. For some of us repentance means abandoning our self-made religious identity at the cross, stepping out of the humbug that we call ‘our faith’ and walking in a straight line in the alpha and omega of Jesus instead of circling the mulberry bush of our religion. For some, repenting will mean repenting of our religion.