THE PLACE OF GOOD WORKS
Good works such as charitable acts to the poor are beneficial. But they are not the Kingdom of God. Rebels can be kind to their wives and non-believers can help clean up after floods. But the core of the Kingdom is always ‘Christ in you’ and what Paul calls ‘Christ our life.’ Kind acts can redeem a situation but only Christ in us can transform the world by producing heaven on earth.
We are alive and Godly when we and our Father are one.
When God is incarnated in us and we are alive in the Spirit of Christ and not just adherents of religion, spirit and life will flow from us where ever we happen to be interacting with others. This is why some who do not know God by name can impart His life. These are people for whom truth is pursued as a lived reality. One day they will know His Name and realise that their heart has always known Him.
A religious routine can easily disguise the worship of self either as a pursued career in institutionalism or as a means of keeping God out of our lives by an obsession with our own ‘god-stuff’. (This is why the most active so often oppose revival and a move of God) The compartmentalised life whereby we have a section of our finances for God and fraction of the week for Jesus can disguise the fact that our life is really about us - with Jesus added of course. Unless Jesus is our life and is in fact our inner life, we will not be alive ourselves or the bearers of spirit and life.
Christianity is not a religion but a Person, said Dr Gordon Moyes. Being the person of Christ writ large, His Kingdom is a life – your life. There is no secular and sacred dichotomy in such living. When Jesus is incarnated in you, you as an agent of His new creation life are distributer of life in a continuous stream. Christian Kettler, writing of the atonement observes,
“The manifestation of the inner life of God in Jesus Christ desires a radical surgery on humanity, an ontological, internal salvation, aimed at the root cause of the human predicament, sin. This, of course, has to begin with the individual’s inner life. The psalmist certainly was aware of this when he prayed, “You desire truth in the innermost being” (Ps 51:6). Despite contemporary obsessions in the church with “social justice” and emotional coping and, therefore, with external behavioural change - inwardness, change at the root of ontological existence, is the beginning of following Jesus, according to the Gospels.” (1)
Sin and its degradation results from separation from God. Life, its healing and restoration results from union with God. Life is personal, relational and transforming. It is the inner life of God, manifest in Jesus who lives in us that unites us in holy fellowship with God and in agreement with our true selves. This is the source of genuine community among the members of the Body of Christ.
The fact that the continuing and growing life of God – the Kingdom manifest – so often fades away after a revival is due to the fact that the gifts and the miracles, the manifestations of the Spirit are not the essence of the Kingdom. They are an outgrowth and function of the incarnation – rapprochement to reality which is that our post cross life is union with God and not things that are subsidiary to this source of life.
In Christ our alienation from God is eliminated. Our alienation from self is undone. As we are drawn into the community of the Holy Family we are drawn into the community of each other as our real selves begin to flourish and we grow into who we really are in personal and communal identity as the church Jesus builds without human hands. This is the real meaning of the Body of Christ.
(1) Kettler, Christian D.. The Breadth and Depth of the Atonement: The Vicarious Humanity of Christ in the Church, the World, and the Self: Essays, 1990–2015 (p. 9). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.