'They took offence at Him.' Partly out of jealousy but mainly because their sense of entitlement could not stand up where He was. I’ve known a few Christians who have become Muslims and enjoyed the company of a ‘one-time atheist’ colleague who became a Buddhist. I have a relative who was a fundamentalist and has become an atheist. All of the above are good living people who have one thing in common. They believe ‘good living’ and ‘good works’ earn merit. There are very few people who are not religious in some way.
Goodness may earn merit but it does not make us Godly in more than a religious sense.
If religion is our life we will very likely take offence that there are people more Godly than ourselves. But it’s not because the latter are trying harder. They are trying less and are resting in the fact that Jesus Himself is expressing Himself as them. This life in the Spirit. It’s the life Jesus had from living in His Father the life we can have by living in Jesus.
Never fall for the fallacy that Christ our life is living in Christianity. The Kingdom is not religion. It’s Christ as you and Christ as us all.
Spiritual people annoy the religious. They are not slaves of the rules as could be seen in David who was a portent of Christ. David ate the temple bread that was only for the priests, thus showing that He was a king and a priest and prophetically illustrating that those who eat Jesus will live because of Him.
“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 NIV. The day we begin to live in this mode is the day we are born again and begin the path of maturation as the sons and daughters of God.
CHRIST COME IN THE FLESH
To eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood is to sustain oneself in the Spirit. Christ becomes us. This is the Lord’s Table, the incarnation, the new covenant and the new creation forming from the agency of those who live not from externalities but from the life of God interwoven into their being. Should we resent these kinds of people we are showing the same kind of attitude that the Jewish leaders showed to Jesus.
I have several friends who have departed their fundamentalist roots to make Christ alone their life. While not obsessed with earning merit they do have a larger vision: Which is that Jesus makes them alive and from His life, welling up in them they release life, love, grace and kindness. They are not absorbed in self and often make sacrifices for others. But they are not engaged in legitimating their humanity or earning salvation. They are not absorbed in constructing the false self because their real self is growing from the union of themselves and Jesus.
And get this. They did not unite themselves with Jesus by merit or discipline. They agreed with Jesus and accepted that He has received them into His life – into friendship with Him and into His relationship with the trinity. They are content in being themselves and multiplying the life of Christ who is in them. Their experience is that Christ in them makes them alive and empowers them to touch dead situations and dead souls with His resurrecting Spirit.
We become alive in our spirit and awake in our souls when we live in our inheritance of union with God: ‘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 NIV. We are not part of the Body because we cited a text that says we are. We are of His Body because He is our life and rites, behaviors and routines are not our life. We are not more part of Christ’s body because we have found a scripture that says we are than a married person has a real marriage who has not consummated their union sexually. It is not coincidence that sex produces real people. It is this kind of union with God that produces real fruit.
A Jesus life in the new covenant indwells us with spirit and life in the present and is the door to eternal life following the death of our body. The most pleasurable thing about Christ our life is the contentment this affords in the fellowship of the trinity and adventure of growing into one’s un-confected self. You can be you in spirit and in truth and bless people with life without betraying them into the shibboleths of religion. Michael Kepler writes,
“In my years of radio ministry, I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who had a sincere love of God, many who felt turned off by organized religion and preferred to stay away. My personal experience in talking with them is that the vast majority felt they were spiritually and emotionally bankrupt, always falling short of what they perceived was the Christian standard, afraid of being labelled as a hypocrite, or wanting to avoid those who really were. This can usually be traced back to the roots of teaching a Christian casserole of mixed covenant Scriptures, one that often lacks the message of God’s unconditional love.” (1)
Most of that which institutionalism teaches and which the churched absorb by osmosis is a mixture of old and new covenant ideas. It’s a soup of law and grace, of legalism and the illusion of freedom from it. The genuine gospel is simply Christ our life.
Believers are starting to realise, through enlightened apostolic teaching ( if its old covenant it’s not apostolic) that Jesus really is their life and that to see Jesus is to see themselves. He and not the law is the Mirror into which they can look to see who they are and who they are becoming. Jesus draws us into our real selves: The self that is our design and the self that it is our destiny to become.
“Do not allow current religious tradition to mold you into its pattern of reasoning. Like an inspired artist, give attention to the detail of God’s desire to find expression in you. Become acquainted with perfection. To accommodate yourself to the delight and good pleasure of him will transform your thoughts afresh from within.”
― François Du Toit, The Mirror Bible
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee (Kindle Locations 458-462). Kindle Edition.