The Gospel of the Kingdom is inclusive. ‘Other Gospels’ are not. In his book, The Power of Right Believing, Joseph prince sets out the advantages of living in the truth as opposed to our existing in private perceptions of the right. Jesus came among us as The Truth to set us free from fables that people had adopted as truth – truth inferred from false knowledge - namely the knowledge of good and evil.
These distorted perceptions instigated by the father of lies, are the fruit of the tree of perverted knowledge. They manifest as agnostic verities and religious veils – veils that distort who God is, diminish what heaven has done for us and cripple our being. Nevertheless Jesus still lives to set captives free, which means setting us free from the illusions of the world and false gospels that purport to be the truth. This is why growth in Christ and an advance from glory to glory is so often the process of casting off the shells of a false gospel and the scales of the false self. We advance into the fullness of our glory as daughters and sons by casting off all that came from Adam and diving into the river of life and truth that is Christ our life.
Richard Rohr observes that the most common human plight is an addiction to our own ideas. This is why sincere people who have become fixated on a false premises spend their entire lives weaving a convoluted theology out of entities that can never mix: The law and the spirit. Unless we agree to be led by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit we will spend our lives in lesser versions of ourselves, in limited gospels with a limited Christ. We will come to the end of our days without realising that we have spent our entire lives living in and promoting a religious delusion.
Some adopt the fiction that their perspective on Christianity is a legitimate interpretation of the teaching of Jesus and the apostles. But even a casual examination of such teachings is enough to reveal that this culture is not just a variation. It is another gospel of the kind of which Paul warned,
‘I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Gal 2.21 NIV.
‘I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!’ Gal 1.6-8 NIV.
What is a curse. A curse to the spirit and the soul is what Roundup is to weeds. A curse deforms our being, robs us of the image of Christ and leeches us of spirit and life. But in Jesus we have life to the full. Jesus successfully accomplished the undoing of Adam. Take care that you do not succumb to a re-doing of Adam and to a perverted gospel that is actually no Gospel at all. Why? It undoes Christ in favour of Adam and Moses and in so doing undoes you. It leaves us in the thralls of the fall and the abstractions of good and evil. Yet it pretends to be the Kingdom of God.
MORE THAN JUGGLING WORDS
While the truth really does set us free, truth is more than the assent to propositions. Truth is union with God, which is what we have in the Christ of God and the gospel of the Kingdom. J Baxter Kruger writes, “The Christian God is interested in relationship with us, and not just relationship, but union, and not just union, but such a union that everything He is and has—all glory and fullness, all joy and beauty and unbridled life—is to be shared with us and to become as much ours as it is His. The plan from the beginning, in the Christian vision, is that God would give Himself to us, and nothing less, so that we could be filled to overflowing with the divine life.” (1)
The matter of union, has profound implications for what it means to belong to the Body of Christ. Not only does it mean that Christ is in us and we are in Him. It means that we are one with the womb and the hub of the universe – the persons of the trinity who are God. Being part of the Body means that we are knit with Christ and our being is one with the trinity. This does not mean that we are divine. It means that we are sons of God, rooted in our Father in similar manner to the way in which human sons are the expression of their father and mother. We are talking about a state of being and less about the act of believing.
In the law we are not one with God. In this realm of sin and death we are separated in our minds and have negated Christ side-lining Him so that for us He has ‘died for nothing.’
In Jesus, we are one with God and one with each other. We don’t belong to the body of Christ because we have found a scripture that says we are all ‘one loaf.’ We belong to the body because we are one with the being of God, having agreed that we have been received into the life of His Son. We are talking rootedness in the trinity, union with God and incarnation.
SONS OF GOD
Myk Habets uses the word ‘theosis’ in order to reveal the nature of our being in Christ and thus being in God. The word theosis informs us that when we come to Christ we become more human and different. But not just human. Its more than transformation. Theosis means that in Christ we become the expression of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This idea was common in the early church. It meant the incarnation realised in you. This is what Paul means when he talks of Christ our life. In Christ you become the expression of our Father, Holy Spirit and the Son. You are a son of God because your being is in God. The result is that God’s being is manifest by the Spirit as you.
Habets says "A major question of salvation is, how can we be holy, how can we be righteous, how can we be the expressions of God, who is light? Resurrection is Jesus’ answer. So, when does theosis happen? It happened in Christ Jesus for all of us – and then it’s repeated in actual persons, individuals, throughout the course of our Christian life.”
It happens as we abandon dualism and its separation from God. It happens because we agree that we and Father are one. It happens because we live in the reality that is Christ as our life. Habets continues, “We can’t become God. God purposed in Christ that we could have the next-best thing. We can be in Christ, who is God, and he calls us children, not slaves. We can participate. That’s why I find theosis not just convenient, but actually an appropriate term. It is shocking. That is revolutionary. That is hard to get our minds around. That’s too good to be true – and yet it is true.”
This should make us cautious in how we define membership in the Body of Christ. Because of the at-one-ment everyone belongs. So it’s ours by inheritance. In principle we do belong. But this belongingness is ours when we believe and embrace the state of being that is ours – our being rooted and drawing life from the trinity. Now it is ours in fact. Because we have the mind of Christ. It’s like chocolates under the tree at Christmas time. They are for you. They have your name on them. But they are not actually yours until you unwrap the box and eat the chocolates.
Jesus warned us of false christs and of tares. It’s not ok to believe what we like and say we belong. Tares are sons of the father of lies. Tares are separated by falsehood from the truth of their being in God. Tares are the perpetuation of the Adamic non-life and the original lie. You must do something more to be sons of God.
We don’t belong to the body of Christ because we have found a scripture that says we are all one loaf. We belong to the body because we are one with the being of God. One in our minds, one in our heart and our spirit. We are talking rootedness in the trinity, union with God and incarnation. Here we are one with God, one with ourselves and one with each other. The conundrum of the ‘one loaf proponent’ bound to the law, is that we talk of belonging but live in separation. Living in separation is not living in what one has: Union with the parent Rock.
‘Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn’ Isa 51.1 NIV.
Truth sets us free and error binds us in illusions. Anthony Buzzard observes,
“God is no longer dealing with mankind in the terms He authorized through Moses. If, with full sincerity and a desire to obey God, we approach Him on a basis which He does not prescribe for us under the New Covenant brought by Jesus, we are liable to inflict upon ourselves a terrible theological wound. Ignorance of the New Covenant is as divisive as it is destructive of spirituality. But such misunderstanding often parades as “Christian.” (2)