“Jesus calls men, not to a new religion, but to life.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer. (1)
It’s not difficult to live from religion. I spent much of my early life doing it. With many Believers that’s all they know. Living from religion was a natural response to the lie that prompted the fall – a culture of good and evil that presumed to manufacture human godliness. We may be repelled by heathen forms of religion with their mindless or gross practices. Yet they are no less debilitating to the spirit and soul than any version of Christianity that denies that Christ has come in the flesh by reverting to the law instead of living in the spirit of Christ our life.
The Bible teaches that life and love go together. God is love and also our life.
Should we hunger for life and have a passion and a curiosity about truth we will eventually come to the same conclusion as Bonhoeffer. God’s truth is universal no matter what religion we have been raised in. If we are followers of life we will be followers of Jesus and not content ourselves with half-lives and diluted gospels just because this is our idea or our faith. If we think there is more life in what we have and in what we think we know, we will content ourselves with life with mould on it and generate fictions to justify where we are. Like old fruit in a fridge we will gradually decay without knowing it.
Humans were born in original glory. Birthed by God our genealogy is sonship. Our hope of glory to be realised every day is to live in the glory of Christ’s life as ours until the end of our days.
“It may be difficult for some to think of sin as getting life from our knowledge of good and evil. It is like becoming aware of the air that you've breathed all your life. It is much easier and initially more self-rewarding to view sin in terms of evil that is "out there." Yet our failure to become aware of the root of our separation from God keeps us from living in the place of outrageous love and joy that God wants us to live in. This failure is what keeps us from experiencing the life of Christ fully and is largely responsible for our inability to bear the kind of witness to which God calls us.” (2)
The knowledge of good and evil and the law separate us from God, ourselves and others. We can manufacture a passable veneer of concern for others while adhering to the core of something that is fundamentally judgmental. We can regard ‘our truth’ as superior and our legalism as ‘practical godliness’ and so be blind to the fact that Jesus offers us a life, not a religion and sonship as contrasted to a special identity in some group. In Christ we not only belong. We are part of God in our sonship. ‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. This is not religion. This is the state of being that is you joined by God’s choice to the Family of God. Because God is love and incarnated in you, you will be able love yourself and others with a deep and genuine love. You will become love because Christ is your life.
Unless Christ is our life as per the new covenant we are left with the teaching of principles of good living and behavior management. We can fill a conference with information or we can fill it with spirit and life like Jesus because like Him, we and our Father are one.
(2) Gregory A. Boyd. Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God (Kindle Locations 130-134). Kindle Edition.