Michael Kapler writes, “I can remember a time in my own life as a teenager when I told God I couldn’t live up to what I thought were the demands of the Christian life, and it made me want to give up and quit trying. I hadn’t realized at the time this was the conclusion and place where he wanted me to arrive.” (1)
To leave people believing in a false narrative when the true story belongs to them is to perpetrate on them a form of abuse. It’s amazing that people who have retained themselves in the law do as well as they do, even if they always walk with a limp. Grace has an effect. At times. Thank God!
BELIEVING IS SEEING
However the law blinds us to the fact that we are not doing nearly as well as we think we are because our ‘righteousness’ is so selective. Entire Christian communities can be built on an attachment to one or two ‘iconic’ commandments. This provides the illusion of obedience and an incremental subtraction from an ever present uncertainty of acceptance with God – which is always probable if we have absorbed notions of a partial atonement. In any case, we can often choose the ‘good’ that entails little sacrifice and shows us in a good light?
Immersion in a law culture and a legalist mindset dulls our spirituality and dwarfs our humanity. It smothers the effectiveness of Christian ministries. Why? A culture based on a lie brings about a need to choose employees with a compromised loyalty to Jesus (they have two masters) or who have limited intelligence. Keeping the illusion intact requires operatives who with a deficit of wisdom and the Holy Spirit.
NUANCES OF ABUSE
There are many books written on churches that abuse and how to recover from such abuse. How does one explain such abuse in these places? Those that do it do not know Christ and have made a ‘christ’ in their own image. What they do know is a christianised version of the knowledge of good and evil. Hence the judgment and condemnation that promotes abuse in these places is characterised as ‘Christian service.’
This is why in post cross life we need to live graced with the incarnation. Christ is our life as regards grace and forgiveness for sin. He is our life by the Spirit so that He becomes us as we actually become graced with His nature and ways. Because Jesus is us in the Spirit we have become love. A Christ-like person is not ‘Christ-like’ because he has selected certain Jesus qualities to copy. He is Christlike when Jesus has come in his flesh.
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV.
FRUITS OF UNION WITH GOD
If there are fruits that are indicative of the truth that Jesus us our life they have to be our ability to love ourselves and treat others with grace and love. The undeniable truth that we are filled with spirit and life and are spirit and life. A refusal not to call out and a refusal to accept ‘other gospels’ that retain people in captivity to lies and a crippled state of being. When Christ is our life we will not harbour teaching that is a form of spiritual abuse.
There are people who live all their lives, baptised into a law-culture. They are never healed and always crippled because abstractions cannot heal us and can only condemn us. They place before us an ideal that it is impossible for us to attain. Like, ‘Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ You will never reach perfection in the law, although an acquaintance told me once he could do it in three weeks. Not surprisingly he had a warped personality that had been distorted entirely by his religion.
HIS LIFE, YOUR LIFE
However you can live a life of grace and truth because Jesus is perfect – because He is the perfect life who lives in us. I Him we grow in grace and the knowledge of God while advancing into our own glory which is to be who we are as sons created and redeemed by God to come alive in His spirit and life.
[In the sermon on the mount] “Jesus didn’t raise the bar higher than it already was except in the minds of his audience. He simply told these people who were under the law what it actually demanded and required. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:46-47). Even the Gentiles can live up to what you’re doing.” (2) This, unfortunately, explains why non-believers can be kinder, more gracious and nicer people than some who advertise themselves as Christians.
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee . Kindle Edition
(2) Kapler, Michael C.. Ibid . Kindle Edition loc. 1304.