IN JESUS YOU ARE A SON, NOT BITS OF RELIGION
Objects have no divine life of their own. The Creation, even though bearing evidence of the incarnation of God, consisted of no things that were divine – other than human beings, who derived the life of sons from our Father – whether God was acknowledged or not.
Divinity is inherent in the trinity.
Divine life is not found in things or abstractions - which means that there is no life in idols of the mind. The exact and complete manifestation of God arrived in the person of Jesus Christ of whom Paul wrote,
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities―all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven’ Col 1.13-20 NIV.
INCARNATED WITH HIS BEING
All things, individuals, families, the social structure and the nations have been reconciled to God in Jesus Christ. They are being reconciled as human beings living in His Reconciliation – which is more than just being brought together. It is the trinity woven into us and us woven into the trinity. Christ our life does not create holy objects. But Christ multiplied in us does create a Kingdom of love, justice, wholeness and redemption. This is why we must draw our life from Christ and be His life by the incarnation of the many so that we create what the Bible calls, the new creation Kingdom of God.
NOT ABSTRACTIONS OR RELIGION
Karl Barth reminds us that things are not divine, usages do not have inherent holiness and rites are a reminder of the life that is in Christ and never that life itself.
Barth writes, “The people of Christ, His community, know that no sacred word or work or thing exists in its own right: they know only those words and works and things which by their negation are sign-posts to the Holy One. If anything ‘Christian’ be unrelated to the Gospel, it is a human by-product, a dangerous religious survival, a regrettable misunderstanding. For in this case content would be substituted for a void.. and the characteristic marks of Christianity would be possession and self-sufficiency rather than deprivation and hope. If this be persisted in, there emerges, instead of the community of Christ, Christendom, an ineffective peace-pact or compromise with that existence which, moving with its own momentum, lies on this side resurrection. Christianity would then have lost all relation to the power of God.” (1)
Christianity may be what many people are thinking and doing. But this may not be the Gospel of the Kingdom of the culture of Jesus and the apostles.
Sonship is not an abstraction or a teaching. It’s a state of being. Non-incarnated structures, despite their standing in the community and ability to afford careers to some and false life and a false self to many, take up space. But they do not impart the life of God in that they do not plant daughters and sons with the agency to multiply the new creation by the simple fact of being themselves in God. If our church life consists of nothing more than perpetuating the institution, then as the Body we remain as poor as church mice.
With Christ as our life we are able to do better than promote religion. Rooted in the trinity we are alive with divine life. By being ourselves where we are, we grow the new creation. We are the paddock of fruitfulness. ‘Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop―a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown’ Matt 13.6-8 NIV.
(1) Karl Barth The Epistle To the Romans, p.36,37.