All of us must begin in the law. It’s God’s school in teaching us that we are incapable of Godliness in our own selves. Keep in mind that the original lie is that humans can become ‘more godly’ by taking things into their own hands. True the religious person can create a fiction that he can keep the law by reducing it to one or two items – denominational icons that give a false identity and a bogus security.
THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS RELIGION FOR A HAT
But this no more makes us Godly than wearing the prime minister’s hat makes you the prime minister. Keep in mind also that sin is not self-existent. Sin is the result of living independently of God. Righteousness on the other hand is a life that is in union with God.
Many Believers live in such a parody of the Kingdom Jesus began that accurate descriptions of it are hard for them to comprehend. Their misshapen religion is based on bargaining with God – They have this contract, ‘I’ll do this so that you God will do that.’ But Jesus specifically kicked money changing out of the temple – figuratively with His whip of cords and practically with His death and resurrection. You have a life in you now that is called life in the Spirit.
CHRIST IN YOU
‘But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago’ Rom 3.21 NIV.
What is this way? It is the new and living way (in contrast to the old and dead way) of the law and old covenant. The old covenant equates to separation from God, law and self-effort. The new covenant is Christ our life – which means the incarnated Jesus is imbuing our person with His Spirit. Jeff Turner explains it this way,
“The Law and its prescribed sacrifices bred a dependence upon God alone for salvation, for through them man became painfully aware of the fact that he could not save himself. The Law strengthened his consciousness of sin, but offered nothing in the way of healing for his ailment.
Why would God do this? Why would He allow this to take place if He simply could have snapped His fingers in Eden and made the problems go away?
The answer, I believe, is that God was not just interested in saving men from sin, but in revealing His love and nature to them. He was interested in driving away the darkness of human guilt that had tarnished our understanding of Who He was. Remember, man had become an enemy in his own mind and believed himself to be at war with God. He saw God as displeased and distant. When He drew near for fellowship, man misunderstood His intentions, believing that He had come to bring us pain and suffering instead. This misunderstanding was not acceptable to God, however, and He waited patiently for mankind to come to a place where we would be able to understand His intent in saving us from the sin that was corrupting our minds and bodies.” (1)
God desires to reveal His nature to you and your real nature to you. You are a son/daughter of God.
Sin is an evil contagion that like a cancer spreads death while parasiting off our lives. God attacked this problem at the core. In Jesus we are forgiven for our sins. Jesus enters our life by the Spirit and takes up residence in our being. Jesus and His Family make their home in us. Here they undo separation and drive out the contagion of death.
Simultaneously God is revealed in His true nature, and we are instructed and affirmed in who we really are as sons and daughters. But more than this, the real meaning of life is revealed and we are baptised daily in the flood of this infinite heavenly life. John records this as Christ come in our flesh.
A CARICATURE OF LIFE
The best we can do as a law adherent is a wooden approximation of godliness. The best we can do in religion is a culture of un-life that we might call Christianity or ‘my faith.’
The best you can do for Jesus, yourself and others is to agree that you have already been included in His life. – in His life personally, in His fellowship in the Holy Family and in His possession of life without limit. This is the difference between a dead tree and live tree, a dead stump in a field and a tree of life as a planting of the Lord – you.
(1) Turner, Jeff. Saints in the Arms of a Happy God: Recovering the Image of God and Man (p. 108). Jeff Turner. Kindle Edition.