Shortly after I came to the Lord I read a book by Dr Gordon Boyd in which He stated that Christianity is not a religion. It’s a person. He meant that what we have is a life in Christ – which is what Paul meant by Christ our life. When our being has made the jump from religion to JESUS AS US, WE WILL HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN.
What Boyd was referring to in his words, Christianity is a person and not a religion is incarnation multiplied as the Body of Christ. The spirit and life that is Christ our life is not a belief system, an intellectual culture or an agenda of good works – even if this maybe the container of our oneness with God. We can live from these and never be really alive with spirit and life. The core of aliveness – of having surpassed the unlife of Adam is union with God – something we have. It’s not to be sought for. It’s to be lived.
Jesus is definite about life being union with God and not about law, religion or theology. ‘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. The theology of God is that Christ is our life.
The word became flesh and dwelt with us. Christ became flesh and lives by the Spirit in you.
WHAT IT’S NOT
Many would interpret the words ‘life in Christ’ to mean living out of Christianity – which is what a life in Christ is not. Not really. A life in Christ is what Paul calls: CHRIST OUR LIFE. This is the spirit of Jesus incarnated and manifest as our self and as the church. Which is why we call it LIFE IN THE SPIRIT. Jesus manifesting in your being – as John calls it – Christ come in your flesh can happen in no other way.
John warns that while Christ come in our flesh is the Kingdom in spirit and in truth, he bluntly asserts that Christ come as the law originates in the spirit of anti-christ. ‘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. John is talking of the foundation of the Christian church – incarnation.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU ARE
When we live in the Spirit we do not become Jesus of Nazareth. Nor do we become God. We become who we actually are as sons and daughters of God. We enter our glory. Sons of God and daughters of God are part of God as sons. They are life-giving spirits who multiply spirit and life into the things they touch. They have an agency and identity born of heaven designed to be manifest on earth.
Paul Tournier has written an excellent book, a classic entitled The Meaning of Persons. It is an enlightening read in that it fills out the notion of personhood in terms closer to who we are as sons of God. It builds a more generous view of personhood than one finds in one dimensional economic and industrial conceptions of humanity. And a higher type of personhood that can be found if one is a construction of the law.
We need not expect to enter our glory if our life task is to go into bat for an inherited religion based on the law. Life without limit is never limited by such Adamic cages.
REAL PERSONS ARE DAUGHTERS AND SONS
The meaning of persons cannot be defined in fundamentalism or liberalism because persons are more than the means of production, more than consumers of goods, of Christian brand names, of intellectual ideas and more than doers of good and abstainers of evil. Believers see who they are in Jesus and become who they are in Jesus. In Him we really do live, move and attain our being and become what it means to be both human and a son of God. Richard Rohr writes,
NO STAGNATION IN CHRIST JESUS
“Personhood is not a static notion, but an entirely dynamic and relational one (per sonare) that is shared between the divine persons and all human persons—by reason and gift of their creation. Not by reason of any later joining, realizations, sacraments, or affirmations, although these are needed and often profoundly help us return to our original identity in God. All human personhood implies a process of coming to be in love! Sin is every refusal to move in the direction of our deepest identity as love. Any definition of the person as a substance instead of a relationship tends to leave out the movement, growth, and mutual mirroring that moves us forth in existence.” (1)
Should we be contained in static ideas of God’s person and our own, we will be diminished and even more so if these ideas are a distortion of the gospel.
DON’T BETRAY YOU
If we are not growing in our conception of truth it may be because we value our comfortable errors more than we do the truth of God and ourselves. When we understand that sin is a refusal to move into alignment with who God is and who we are as a result of His efforts, we gain insight into where our next effort at repentance must lie. The most subtle form of idolatry and adultery is our marriage to an identity that is not ours, a truth that is not His and a way of being that His living way enables us to rise into spirit and life.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation (Kindle Locations 1269-1275). SPCK. Kindle Edition.