When I was young, people were fond of saying that ‘Character is the only thing you will take to heaven.’ It was said as I kind of blackmail to get you to perform. It was nonsense of course. Heaven will be populated by sons and daughters of God. Not malformed characters.
What you will take to heaven is your identity. Hidden in in Christ we become who we are. Christ in us manifests as our true self. If we have been living in this inheritance we will have begun to overflow with grace and truth. Jesus implies in John 17 that being woven with Him into the life of God gives us the ability to love ourselves, be ourselves and love others by imparting to them a real Jesus life.
NO LIFE IN THE LAW AND FALSE LIFE IN RELIGION
Jesus said unto them, ‘If you remain attached to the law in any way as a means of life, you are not in the Spirit.’ Hearing this Cedric went away insulted. Georgia thought a lot about what Jesus had said.
GEORGIA Georgia had passed through many church circles and several denominations. She was a compulsive ‘Searcher For Life and Truth.’ Cedric stuck to his church. He made excuses for it rationalised its mistakes and absorbed the humbug that passed for its theology. He did this for one reason. His church was who he was. Cedric feared for himself – feared that without his church he would disappear. Well not literally. He feared the essential ‘he’ would vanish. Which one has a fair chance of doing if one’s identity is not located in something eternal – like Jesus Himself.
Georgia eventually found what she was looking for. She learned that God was where she was; that she was in God and God was in her. That her being was incarnated with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That she had an identity that trumped all other identities. She knew she was a daughter of God.
ABOMINATON OF DESOLATION
I’ve noticed in my life as a ‘church person’ that the busiest people can often oppose a true move of God. Why? They have been taught that activity is godliness. Activity allows them the illusion that they are earning points with God. But this self effort insulates them from real intimacy with God and therefore a full commitment. It allows them to retain their self-made lives for themselves. Who would have thought?!
The primitive and rudimentary parodies of godliness have one thing in common. They have people ‘doing things’ to arrive at ‘godliness. Virtue Signalling. We are looking at you.
But sons of God get to be “Godly” because they are God’s daughters and sons. They have embraced who they are because THEY BELIEVE. They are living, being and moving about their world as who they are – Sons in God. They are ‘sons’ because the Son of God is diffused into their being.
Jesus released spirit and life because He was the Son of His Father. Thanks to Jesus we now have this union, this sonship and access to this spirit and life. The thrill of being daughters and sons is that we ARE SPIRIT AND LIFE. As such we impart life - whereas as busy as the flesh may be it imparts nothing of the Kingdom.
‘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. You have this life in you simply by agreeing that Christ is your life and being a simple person who live this incarnation because it is you.
Jesus urged us not to attempt two masters because our soul can only attach itself in spirit and in truth to one – and the one we will join ourselves to in religion will not be the One Spirit (religion is a projection of the self and of society).
As the Bride of Christ we have but one Husband. “Religion” largely consists of the culture of multiple ‘masters’ (husbands) who are not genuine masters but who anaesthetise our spirit and confuse our soul in a form of godliness.
The quality of our life is not determined by what we do. The quality of our life and our doings are the effect of ‘who’ is the Source of our being. Let that soak in.
Woven into God we are authentic and life-giving sons/daughters who live in the security and comfort of our real nature in God. I mean this: ‘You will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV.
Our being has a source. This is the interface between the self and God, between our innermost being and the trinity. If our being is rooted in religion; if the door of our soul and the face of our spirit beholds the face of something IMPERSONAL and abstract like the law or religion - we are rooted in non-life.
Rootedness in non-life is the norm for many but it’s not the normal Kingdom life. This life is the spirit of sonship come in the flesh. In other words Jesus come as you.
GEORGIA AND CEDRIC The effect on our personhood, if our inner life is melded to an abstraction like the law or religion is DESENSITISATION, benumbing and a spiritual form of gangrene. As a Georgia, we can be a daughter of the free woman and come alive in the spirit of sonship. In a life as a Cedric we can live as a son of the slave woman. We live below our potential as a son and as a son in name but not as a son in spirit and in truth. Richard Rohr writes,
IT’S NOT EARNED
“In the Judeo-Christian creation story, humans were created in the very “image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26). Our DNA is divine. The divine indwelling is never earned by any behavior whatsoever or any ritual, but only recognized and realized (Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:8–10) and fallen in love with. When you are ready, you will be both underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the boundless mystery of your own humanity. You will know you are standing under the same waterfall of mercy as everybody else and receiving an undeserved radical grace, which gets to the root of everything. Without that underlying experience of God as both abyss and ground, it is almost impossible to live in the now, in the fullness of who I am, warts and all, and almost impossible to experience the Presence that, paradoxically, always fills the abyss and shakes the ground.” (1)
A FEW DROPS
Tied to the law we can live a life of quiet persistence, emitting some drops of God’s life. This is the religious life in which one is insulated from God by one’s mindset and therefore insulated from oneself and the real energy of spirit and life. As a result Jesus can say to us, ‘Well done. You have exuded a few drops of life. But had you followed my new and living way you could have gushed out rivers of spirit and life and lived as a son in fullness instead of in shadow.’
This is why we must live in the new covenant and not the old, in the spirit and not the law and in the truth and not the mystery of iniquity posing as godliness.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (p. 22). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.