GRACE IS CHRIST YOUR LIFE
Grace is a life that is not yours as a life that is fully you. This is the paradox and mystery of the Gospel of Christ and the apostles. Thus spoke Paul when he uttered the words, ‘Christ your life.’
‘False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect’ Mark 13.32 NIV. This is not a text in support of cessationism. It’s a warning about other gospels and misshapen christ that emerge from false revelation and false doctrine.
If you pursue unconditional discipleship with Jesus, you will enter into deeper adventures of revelation and truth. If we define life and truth as ‘what I have always believed’ we will walk ceaselessly around our little mulberry tree of comforting notions in a minimal existence in the contractual relationship we have worked up between ourselves and God. Or we can grow in spirit and life forever.
Much of the good life in the spiritual sphere consists of sloughing off ever more layers of religion and accumulating more ‘Christ come as us’ in in the place of what had some life - but in reality was more of a coma.
LOVE LIFE, LOVES YOU
If there is anything that summarises the Christ of God it is that God loves life and creates life – which gives us good clues as to where the stain of anti-life so often claimed by the religious originates. Many years ago I read a biography of Manning Clark who found it a great curiosity that many religious people tended to be ‘life-deniers.’ His point was they were anti-joy, anti-fun and so sober that they were boring. As a Religion Teacher, I was verbally attacked by a parent once for suggesting that his child could enjoy God while enjoying a good surf at the beach. But it’s more than this.
ORTODOX BUT NOT ALIVE
‘Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you’ John 6.53 NIV.
Many, busy, busy people who travel a lot have hoped that all this activity and importance would give them a sense of self. But the more perceptive of them have found themselves empty – of themselves and real life.
‘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.
Sadly we can be fun-loving and still dead in our spirit. Or active and continually busy even though there is no one at home – or no one alive with spirit and life. This essence of God and igniter of us is what God calls the water of life, because without it our spirit withers, our soul shrivels and our body becomes debilitated.
SUBTLE FALSE CHRIST’S
There are folks about who have never found their true self. What they have is a construct of their career and their identity in their religion. How can this be? It arises from belief in a the kind of christ who is not the Christ of God. Kettler is right in his scholarly remark about the theology of real life and the real you. The one who delivers us from sin and death is the one who overflows us with creativity and originality.
“As Irenaeus taught against the Gnostics in the second century, the Creator and the Deliverer are the same. Therefore, as Barth points out, history is not to be understood from my standpoint, “but that my own standpoint, my existence, has been given to me by the One who in this history has already dealt with me. . . ” Since God has delivered me, as the people of the exodus knew, I now know God the creator. As Barth confesses, “I always come from God the Creator when I am confronted by God the Deliverer.” (1)
Your true self is delivered to you in Jesus Christ.
(1) Kettler, Christian D.. The Breadth and Depth of the Atonement: The Vicarious Humanity of Christ in the Church, the World, and the Self: Essays, 1990–2015 (pp. 51-52). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.