“Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” There are so many sincere believers who would agree with Paul theoretically, but realistically do not own this testimony. Their lives speak primarily of self-preservation.” (1)
So where is our identity? In Christ or in our religious community?
The predicament here is that our unwillingness to lay down the life that we have known leads to our stagnation and torpor in the everyday life that we know. Self-preservation leaves us marooned in in our false selves and often in our false gospel.
When Richard Rohr talks of the false self/new self He is talking of the old covenant new covenant dichotomy. Let’s be clear. If we have contained ourselves in the old covalent we are not born again.
BORN AGAIN OR NOT
We can be a good person and be mainly a false self. As a false self we will probably have a false christ and a distorted gospel. Our true self is who we were conceived as before creation. Our true self is who we are becoming as a result of the cross and the new creation: Christ our life.
As a false self we may practice a kind of ‘grace.’ But a grace that has more to do with a casual perception of truth and a foggy account of its reality. Real grace is not an excuse to promote private gospels. Neither will real grace leave people in a half-life when they have fullness in Christ. Real grace is the Door to life without measure. In heaven’s scheme grace and truth are a couple. In the mystery of iniquity they disguise themselves as friends but are mortal enemies.
Grace and truth are one when Christ is our life.
Our real self begins at when we are born again. And if we are astute and teachable, continues to develop for the rest of our lives as we grow into the fullness of Christ and into our own glory as sons and daughters of God. Richard Rohr writes,
“Your False Self is your necessary warm-up act, the ego part of you that establishes your separate identity, especially in the first half of life. Basically it is your incomplete self trying to pass for your whole self. We fall in love with the part so much that we deny the Whole. God surely understands that and is undoubtedly glad that we are at least in love with something. Such love gets us started until we eventually realize that “love lasts forever” (1 Corinthians 13:13) and is the one thing we can forever count on and forever are.” (2)
We do belong. And this belonging is not our accomplishment. Once we give up our personal efforts to be worthy - and lay down our personal curriculum and course to attain ‘belonging’ – we are on our way.
Jesus breathes a sigh of relief and says, ‘At last I can do something with you. I will be your life.’