We are graced with forgiveness and graced with the reality of Christ in us. The ultimate grace is Christ our life. Radical grace is Christ in you. John declares, ‘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 speaking of the incarnation and warning against anti-christ attempts to dull and extinguish the inheritance of Believers in the post cross age. Jesus did not leave us religion. He left us the communion of the trinity in our being. If there is reason for Christmas Cheer and New Year’s Hope, this is it.
An abstraction is a word construct. When we live in religion we become accustomed to thinking the key elements of our religion are an abstraction – which they are when religion is our life. But reality is Christ and the ‘Belonging’ He has given us.
THE WORD IS ALIVE
Grace is not a construct. Neither is grace an abstraction we use to cope with the law. Grace is God in three persons and Jesus Christ in particular. As this Grace, Jesus is for us, in us and as us. Jesus is Ultimate Grace. Grace is not something detached from God. Grace is God and who God is. Incarnation is personal on both sides since it is Christ in us and us in Christ. Incarnation is Grace applied. The result of incarnation is that we increasingly become the expression of Christ.
YOU ARE THE FRUIT OF THE CROSS
Just as the fullness of God was in Christ, so the fullness of God is in us because Christ is in us. The living word according to the prologue of the book of John is Christ and those in whom He is manifest. When Christ is our life, we are not a description. We are sons and daughters of God.
Jesus is the righteousness of God for us but not righteousness as an abstraction or a Mosaic list. The righteousness is the Son of God woven into our being. This is what it means to be in Christ. The law does not represent God. Jesus Christ represents God and is God. So we don’t get a clever dose of the knowledge of good and evil with Christ as our life. We get union with God and the life of God in person pervading our being. This is the only whole person approach that makes anyone whole.
YOU HAVE GLORY
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV. Jesus has appeared. True, you will have perfect glory in the next life, but you will grow in glory today as Jesus enables you to flourish as yourself in His life.
THE FOOLISH EATER
Should we make religion out of Christ as the means of keeping the law, we are like the man who bought a T-bone steak and at the bone instead of the meat. Legalism is the opposite to fullness in Christ and the opposite to a person who is a son/daughter of God.
‘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. Legalists must ignore this or attempt to explain it away. But it is what it is.
WOVEN INTO GOD
Before the cross we were generically sons/daughters of God. Generically. Following the atonement of the cross, we are sons of God in spirit and in truth. Your identity is Bill Smithers, son of God. Jill Caruthers, daughter of God. Your life is Christ becoming you. Your spirit is alive and your soul is being healed because Christ is in you healing you from the inside and in your life experiences.
UN-GOSPELS SHRINK PEOPLE
‘As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse!’ Gal 1.9 NIV.
Other gospels curse us because they make God less than He is and us less than we are.
We may deny that we are sons/daughters due to false humility and small view of our redemption. Or because we are disciples of ‘other gospels’ of the kind promoted by misguided teachers, false prophets and marketers of religion. Jesus urges us to embrace real wholeness and genuine holiness in the words, ‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20. This is the one way that anyone can become holy as God is holy – when Jesus becomes us because He has come in our flesh.
We don’t get this oneness with God because we have repented. No work of ours makes the at-one-ment real. It already is. Repentance means laying down our own ideas of self-effort and agreeing with Christ that we belong – because He has made it so. ‘Belonging’ is there for all. We participate in it by saying ‘yes’ to Jesus’ invitation to enter His Rest. Jesus’ ‘belonging’ will enfold our life. Think less about ‘receiving Christ’ and more about the fact that you have been received into His life. All of it.