Many years ago painful events in my life made me realise that even though I had been a faithful defender of the faith, I did not know Jesus as a person. I happened to read an excellent book entitled Discovering Jesus by Rev. Dr Gordon Moyes. He emphasised that Christianity is not a religion but a person. This is the core of the Kingdom Jesus began.
CHRIST AS YOU
It is the atonement and incarnation that makes Jesus the reality for individuals and the church. When we agree with God that we are the expression of Christ and embrace the truth that Christ really has come in our flesh and this fact rather than a religion called Christianity is the new creation – we will advance the new creation rather than expanding Christianity as religion.
You will do better as a son of God if you settle for being a follower of Jesus rather than a disciple of a church.
Christ did not leave us a way to do Christianity or even empower Christianity. He left us Himself to be Himself in each person so that the church is Jesus manifest among men and women. The church as an institution is a faint imitation of Christ. People as the manifestation of Christ are His Church and the new creation. It follows that we may do better to keep this front and center instead of obsessing about reinventing version of the church.
With Christ as us we will enjoy many life-giving expression of the church.
Institutions can be stale and heartless if that’s all they are. Yet if we live as the manifestation of Christ by inviting Him to be us, we will be less vitiated and a ton more fruitful. He did say ‘His burden is easy,’ so we need to guard against it being more elaborate and more complicated than it is.
Thomas Torrance writing of the Trinity remarks on the personhood of God. “It was specifically the understanding of the incarnation of the Word and Son of God in Jesus Christ in which the ‘I am’ of Yahweh and the ‘I am’ of the Lord Jesus were brought together within the three-fold manifestation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that not only deepened the Old Testament understanding of the Being of God as profoundly ‘personal’, but forced the Church in giving explicit expression to the implicitly trinitarian self-revelation of God to develop the theological concept of the ‘person’.” (1)
God was known as personal in the old testament and revealed as unconditionally so in the incarnation of the son of God as Jesus of Nazareth.
An institution and a belief system are not the essence of God. God is personal and so are you. Your personhood will flourish as you relate personally to Jesus Christ who introduces you to His communion with the persons of Holy Spirit and Father. There is nothing dry or abstract about your personal life in God. His personhood and God’s personhood is your life in the long term and as you’re the spirit and life that ignites your being.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 156). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.