If we have been raised in the law our rendering of what the law is will be selective and favourable to our desired image of ourselves. Raised in religion, a more fuzzy version of the law - we will have a similar selection of behaviours to which we hold ourselves accountable. The trouble is, righteousness is infinitely more detailed than rules. Righteousness is infinite. Which is why Christ presents Himself as our life and not as a means of keeping laws. Let’s to be clear. Jesus lives to BE YOU.
Jesus Christ is not here to enable us to be less than Himself or less than ourselves: He is the one by whom we are sons of God in spirit and in truth. We live graciously , confidently and with joy when we know that we are the manifestation of Jesus. This is life in the Spirit.
If we cohabit with the law we will not realise the depths of our potential depravity. Nor will we be envisioned with our potential glory as sons and daughters of God. Abstractions are like that. They are mute and sterile. With abstractions there is a strong possibility that we will involve ourselves in one or two ‘goodnesses’ along with a string of trivial pursuits that have no real effect on Godliness and spirituality.
Humbug is the child of religion. Spirituality in the context of religion is third rate. Spirituality as GOD WOVEN INTO YOU is spirit and life. This is real spirituality.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you-they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
NOT SPIRITUAL PEOPLE
As children of the law we cannot see much at all in a spiritual sense because in the law we are not spiritual people. But we will be religious and can quite easily convince ourselves that we are honouring God by being religious and often austere and controlling. The amazing thing is that God with all His authority has made a way for us to choose to be ourselves – if we choose life to the full – which is His Son.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV. Your glory is to be a gracious and fruitful version of yourself.
God does not micro-manage people and neither should we.
Live in the law and we live from some version of a scarcity mentality whether we mean to or not because the law is always less than life – and life is Jesus. In Jesus you will be more than a worker. You will be a son/daughter and like the TARDIS you will be bigger inside than you are outside. It’s called life in the Spirit and Christ come in our flesh.
COUNTERFEITS OF GRACE
The fact that legalists can mellow with age, has more to do with age and the loss of vital forces than it does with an accumulation of grace. Not a few get sillier with age and a good many get meaner. If contained in the law we may well live in judgment at the height of our powers and work as a ‘gas lighter’ without a conscience.
Some people do not know God. There are non-Christians who do, without knowing His name and there are people in non-Christian religions who do as well - because they have a heart for God. Sincerity is a help but truth is better. Jesus is the exact and accurate revelation of our Father and of you. In Jesus we have the benefit of grace and truth and an expanding revelation of who Jesus is and who we are in Him. Which brings me to another observation.
There are Christians who do not know God. Schooled in their version of Christianity they have absorbed what amounts to a slander of god and a distortion of themselves. The result is that they are not very nice people. They blame others for their mistakes. The live from an mindset of self-righteousness for themselves and condemnation for those unfortunate to be in their orbit.
Psychologically wounded people, they wound others in the name of doing their job. When in charge of Christian organisations they run a version of Animal Farm with a hierarchy of pigs, dogs and horses. The horse represents the worker doing his best who is made to bear the burden of the leader’s self-righteousness and ineptitude. The best that can be said of them is that they are a salutary lesson in how not to represent Jesus as well as an an opportunity that forces those around them to rely on Jesus for grace and the ability to be who they are as genuine sons and daughters of God.
‘They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand’ Isa 44.14 NIV.