JESUS IS IN YOU AND WITH YOU
Our lens determines how we will interpret life and in particular how we will interpret the scriptures. This effects our vision – the vision we have in our minds of what it means to be Godly and what Christianity is about. It’s not actually a religion, although it is commonly lived as such – which it is why it is far less transformative than it can be. Less than it can be because our inheritance in Christ is an incarnation and not a religion.
NEW CREATION PROBLEMATIC
We need to be honest and agree that the new creation is not happening in any substantial way and that folly, stupidity and chaos in society and among nations is not going away but increasing. Sure the knowledge of Christ and His life is alive in Christian circles but not in manner that makes the non-Believer sit up and declare that there is a Christ of God who is the Way for the regeneration of the earth. The planet is dying and dying because people are killing it and killing it because ‘consuming’ is the only way they know to obtain life.
NOT A RELIGION
The reason for this to my mind and to the mind of the author quoted below is that in the main Christianity has been received by Believers as a religion. But what it actually is – is an incarnation. Jesus declares the potential of His atonement in the words, ‘That all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me..’ John 17.21-23 NIV.
CHRIST OUR LIFE
Jesus did not institute a moral order supervised by Himself. He is not separate from us so that our task as Christians is to ‘keep close to Jesus.’ We are no more adept at doing this than the Jews were at carrying out ‘All that the Lord has said we will do.’ So what did Jesus do? He joined us to Himself and in Himself made us one with the trinitarian communion of God. As a result the ultra-life and spirit God’s life would be our life mediated to us by the person of Jesus.
Baxster Kruger explains it this way. “The eclipse of the incarnation has meant the downsizing of Jesus Christ. It has reduced him to being little more than a spectator who watches the human race from a distance. And the “spectator Jesus” has left human beings thinking of themselves as “merely human” and thinking of their lives as “ordinary.”
“.. The Calvinist doctrine of double predestination has had an awful lot to do with it. And so has the rise of deism and the mechanistic world-view of Sir Isaac Newton, and Descartes’ dualisms between the body and the soul, and the mind and reality, and the rise of rationalism, and the pride of the Enlightenment. Each in its own way has contributed to the eclipse of the incarnation, the downsizing of Jesus, the reduction of Jesus Christ to being a mere spectator in the universe.
“But there is another factor, which is, to me, the deepest. And that is the change in our understanding of what is fundamental about God. The early Church saw that what was fundamental about God was the Trinity. But in the development of Western theology, the holiness of God was substituted* for the Trinity as the fundamental truth about God. In truth, it was a false view of the holiness of God that was substituted.
“If we took the joy and the fullness and the love of the Father, Son and Spirit, their mutual delight and passion, the sheer togetherness of their relationship, its intimacy, harmony and wholeness, and rolled them all into one word, it would be “holiness.” The holiness of God is one of the special words we have to describe the wonder and the beauty, the uniqueness and health and rightness of the Trinitarian life.” (1)
Holiness is not the law or adherence to the law. Holiness is the fullness of God’s trinitarian life AS YOUR LIFE. Your life because you are included in this communion in Jesus Christ. Our life as the church and the new creation as the world.
* Distorted into the assorted varieties of legalism.
(1) Baxter Kruger, The Great Dance – the Christian vision revisited.