How we conceive of ourselves and others has a crucial effect on what we can become. This is why we must be the effect of Christ’s gospel and not gospels that degrade us with revisionist versions of legalism presenting themselves as the kingdom of God. Heaven has propelled us out of the constricted abstractions of the self; a self depicted as a product of the knowledge of good and evil. With Christ as our life we are able to depict ourselves as a person and model ourselves as a person in the person of Jesus.
We have ‘being’ in God and this being is a son of God. You are much more than a person who goes to church and follows a religious routine.
NEW CREATION YOU
In the new covenant age what we are is never a construct of Adam’s matrix of the knowledge of good and evil. We are the expression of Jesus who lives in us by His Spirit and manifests as Bob, Jane and Mary. We live in ‘oneness’. In Philippians Paul is at pains to emphasise that anything that is not oneness with Jesus is junk religion. He also says quite abruptly that the law is for sinners. Why? Because the Spirit is for sons.
SPIRIT AND LIFE
It is useful to think of Paul’s rendering of ourselves as life-giving spirits who are flourishing in the Spirit of Adoption which is the spirit of sonship. As sons in this mode we have a far more powerful agency than as lesser sons in the guise of slaves and workers living in the matrix of religion and the binaries of good and evil. Paul talks here of the sonship that is ours in this Spirit – the spirit of personhood that is the actuality of the trinity in and transfiguring us in way that any gospel of the letter can never achieve.
In mundane christianity we can live in a self-made contract of doing ‘this so that God will do that’. Adherence to formulaic denominational icons help with this. In the oneness that is ours in Jesus we have the same relationship with God that the members of the trinity have with each other. You don’t have to work this up. Just believe it and its your reality. This is more than power to do works of power. It’s the power of an infinite life to be a son/daughter of God.
ON BEING SONS
‘Because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake’ 1 Thess 1.5 NIV.
The worst kind of mistaking who we are occurs when old covenant ideology masks itself as Christ’s gospel. It’s called mistyping who you and others are. Paul teaches in Galatians that this degrades us to religious slaves. Revising this gospel of the Kingdom back to a watered-down version of the law is a serious mistake. It plays into the intentions of the evil one who knows that a subtle and effective way of undermining the victory of Christ is to proffer a lesser christ with a distorted gospel. It’s the witchcraft of the fall revisited.
“Sometimes the impact of the mistyping can be devastating, causing enormous pain and profound confusion. Resisting the impulse to attempt to type others … allows for the mystery of type to emerge apart from other aspects of one’s personality.” (1) The mystery of this type is none other than the mystery of Godliness that drives out all other lies masquerading as life.
YOU – THE EXPRESSION OF THE CHRIST
‘Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Rom 16.25 NIV. Paul’s gospel is Christ’s gospel. Our privilege is to make it our gospel. Christ is not just our example. He is the manifestation of Himself as us – the expression of Himself in our being.
(1) Heuertz, Christopher L.. The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth (p. 58). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.