A friend of mine once had a book entitled, ‘For God’s Sake – Be Human.’ It purveyed a sense of naughtiness while at the same time being ‘holy.’ Or at least ‘whole.’ Religion of any kind debilitates us. It makes some ‘ninnies’ and others just ‘pains.’ But the person of the Son of Man as our life reveals His glory and guarantees our own.
I was once under the impression that reading the whole Bible was a feat Believers should accomplish. I have read it once and believe in the value of Bible reading. Some Believers are pretty much illiterate in the Bible. As a result they follow cunningly devised fables that waste their time and shrink their humanity. But no, we come alive from His Spirit in us. If you know Jesus well enough in a real, rather than a religious sense you might even be able to tell Him that His chunks of His book are bit boring. Then He will tell you that your spirit and life comes not from the Bible but from His Spirit manifesting as you. The person who is ‘the Bible attempted’ is a much smaller person that one for whom Christ is life. In religion we can only ever be a caricature of our real selves. When Christ is our life we go on an adventure that is glory to glory.
Some gospels imply that it is a bad thing to be human. Avoid them like the plague they are.
We reveal the glory of God when we are fully human and fully alive, to use a John Powell book title. It’s a state of being. A state of being based on an accurate understanding of who Jesus is as Himself, who is He is for us and what He has accomplished for men and women. But more than these who Jesus is as us.
ON BEING HUMAN
Apart from the stuff-up at the end, I enjoyed the Oscars. So many testified of the arts potential to reveal the glory of being human. The best movies are always a celebration of what is best in us as people. They highlight the glory of persons. The art of movie making can be a vehicle that celebrates the aspirations of humanity and as such encourage us to transcend ourselves. In 1 Cor 2.9,10 we find this remarkable statement.
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.’
When we live in the Spirit of Christ we are immersed in the revelation of God an enormous extravagance of the glory that is ours in Christ. As David Kowalick says, ‘God reveals the infinite glory that comes to us in Him by His Spirit. This is why we must embrace our new covenant light (1) to live in the glorious reality of our glory as sons and daughters of God.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV.
The letter/law kills our human spirit and extinguishes our glory. ‘The letter’ can be a matrix of humanistic assumptions, our own formulation of the knowledge of good and evil, living from the laws of Moses or from Christian Moralism. The Spirit that gives life is the spirit of Jesus come in your flesh manifesting as your real self. Living from the law is an affront to Jesus and a denial of genuine holiness.
‘I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Gal 2.21 NIV.
The glory of God is revealed in the face of Jesus and His activity on our behalf. We shine with Jesus’ glory when we live in direct encounter with Him. ‘Face to face with Jesus means there is no barrier or entity of any kind between our face and His Face.
Our glory as daughters and sons is revealed when we embrace Him as our life and allow Him to radiate His Spirit into our being. Submerged and covered in Jesus we are revealed as we are – the sons and daughters of God. In Jesus we are not only made whole but made alive – made alive not just in the flesh but in the Spirit so that we have become life-giving spirits who multiply Jesus in our everyday lives. Glory is what those captured in the law do not have. They cannot reflect God. Neither can they be themselves. They lack that which differentiates sons of God from dead folks walking – the spirit and life that flows from Father into sons. Law adherence can make us a noble mule but never a son in spirit and in truth.
The great heresy of this age is the illusion of separation. We can embrace Jesus as our life, our way and our truth. We can receive Him as our real self. Or we can live outside of His provision struggling, striving and posturing to possess what is already ours: Union with God.
‘And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you’ Rom 8.11 NIV.
Sure we can ignore Christ as our life and continue in a religion of veils. You can say it’s too good to be true. You can live in your self-generated shadows and cling to your veils and self-made-dwarf-jesus. But you will remain a shadow of your own glory. You will live in confusion and acting as a phantom of your real self. Then again you might repent of your performance addiction and receive Christ as your life so that His glory is you revealed in spirit and in truth.
This union-with-God-life is both eternal and infinite. It is life of the kind that is fulsome and satisfying. No longer do you live from unobtainable ideals. No longer are you smothered by other people’s notions of what’s best for you. The Ideal lives in you and becomes you. The ever excellent, exquisite joy that satisfies your heart is that you get to be who youare and do what you were born to do. You become your reason for being and the purpose for which you were created. From this version of you flows rivers of life.