‘Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ Rom 7.24,25. There is a reason why we can hide in religion and the law, why we can hide from God in our self-made god-stuff. Our hiding in our compartment protects us from His ultra-life and the insecurity of our self-made nothingness. Hiding in the law with our token scraps of ‘righteousness’ we can - to limited degree - disguise the fact that we have little ‘real self’ and live mainly from a ‘false self’ that we have made through self-effort and a denominationally contrived ‘righteousness’. NON SELVES This does not make us wicked people. But it does leave us largely, non-persons with a patched-together self. Here is a self that is not flourishing in grace, but a self that we have given validity through ‘another gospel’ that as Paul warned has covered us in a curse of the kind that makes the non-existence of our real self-invisible to us. Law and its modern day sister, ‘religion’ disguises the possibility that there is a real self-available to us in the simplicity of Christ our life that is infinitely more alive and more spirited than what we have in the present. When we realise this we are ready to be born again. C S Lewis made the observation that we have no real substance until we are submerged in God. In another place he explains our rejection of life and true self-hood in these words, “What shocked Lewis, and weighed so heavily upon him, was not fear of punishment, but the sheer depth of the reality of the shining god—and the way that depth exposed his own pitiful unreality. It was an exposure similar to this that Adam and Eve feared. For the presence of the Lord meant the presence of the love and joy and fullness of God, which immediately and irrefutably exposed their own bankruptcy.” (1) PARTISAN GOSPELS Seizure on one element of the law, obsession with one sin to the neglect of myriad culture embedded ‘other sins’ such as greed and class entitlement or lying about climate change or a lazy living from religion to the neglect of an incarnated Jesus Life - is today’s equivalent of circumcision of the body but not of the heart. It's possible to spend our entire lives propagating what is mainly a charade – a charade because we have lost the meaning of our real selves because we have not been all that particular about the gospel we have embraced and because we prefer the relative identity we have in this half-life that remains stuck in the law or in institutionalism which makes us blind. Blind to the fact that what we actually live in is this body of death – a life in or Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil.
(1) Kruger, C. Baxter. Jesus and the Undoing of Adam . Perichoresis Press. Kindle Edition.