RE-BORN TO YOUR REAL SELF
The rewards of loyalty to Jesus and an uncompromising commitment to follow Him are great. The pure in heart will see God. The divided in heart will imagine they do.
You have an identity in Christ. We all do. In Him and with Jesus as our life we are the sons of God. That’s our identity - daughters and sons. We are complete in Him. This is our primary identity and the deep-identity that determines our nature, the expression of our humanity and the destiny that is ours. This identity determines if our spirit is alive or dead and whether we are sons notionally or in spirit and in truth.
Paul said, ‘To live is Christ.’ He did not say ‘To live is Christ and Judaism.’ He would not say anything so absurd because we are either in Christ or we are not.
When Paul talks of Christ your life, He is talking of our identity in Jesus as sons and our union with Father as family. He is talking of our being as sons of spirit and life. He means our inclusion in the communion of Gods trinitarian presence.
We are not cogs in God’s clock as a Newtonian view may suppose. We are one with God as a state of being. We are in perichoretic relationship with God in similar mode that the trinity are in relation to each other. The law turns God into an abstraction and sons of God into workers and slaves. This is Christ has made you a person of the Free Woman rather than a construct of the slave woman.
When Paul talks of being crucified, yet alive in Christ, he is telling us about our state of being, about our identity in union with Jesus. We are who we are by origin in Adam and we are who we are now becoming by redemption in Jesus.
Richard Rohr has quite a bit to say about the Christ of Jesus Christ. Christ is not just a surname, he asserts. Christ means that He came from God, is God and fully a human being. Jesus Christ bonds us to God in His person. Jesus Christ is the Living Way that the triune God has enfolded us in God. We participate in this inheritance by agreeing with Christ that we do.
When Paul says, that all things are ‘garbage’ compared to knowing Jesus, he is telling us a home truth. It is that we have one primary identity, one source of being: Jesus.
Paul is telling us that what Jesus affirmed about His Father - that ‘He and His Father were one’ - was about Jesus’ identity. And that this identity is ours in Christ. What Jesus had is now ours. What Jesus represented - union with God - Paul lived in and modelled. Jesus’ loyalty to Father took Him to the cross, but then to a colossal harvest of souls. Paul’s loyalty to Jesus led him to describe himself as a slave. But Paul became the prime exponent of Jesus and His new creation life.
Unless we are unconditionally wed to Jesus, we will remain addicted to our own ideas. When Christ is our life rather than a belief system, we will be set free from myths that our socialisation has embedded into our souls. We can have but one husband, but the flesh will persuade us that we have one when we have two.
It was Paul who urged that we have ‘one husband’ and James who assured us that we can have but ‘one master.’ So, if you are looking to justify dual loyalties you won’t find it here. None of the disciples and apostles had one foot in Judaism and one in Christ. Nor did they consider themselves to have two identities. They were servants and slaves of Jesus.
So, if Jesus and His Father were one, what’s this about thinking that we can be two - that we can have an identity in Jesus and some extra identity? We are either His disciple or we are not. We are either our real self in Christ or a false self in our encumbrances.
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple. Luke 14.26 NIV.
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples” Luke 14.33 NIV.
We have an identity in Christ that trumps all other identities, that is superior to identities of the flesh and that compels us under His Lordship to subordinate our private notions, denominational understandings, collective veils and ‘other gospels’ to Jesus and His gospel of the Kingdom. We have now qualified ourselves as disciples. Or not.
THE RISE OF NONSENSE
Individuals and groups can make an identity for themselves in a thimble of their own culture, crouching together in the gloom, reinforcing each other with aberrant beliefs and false certainty to convince themselves that their beliefs are a valid expression of Christian teaching when they are a perversion of the apostles teaching. They perpetuate crippled spirits and sick souls. If our identity is in our denomination, then this community is our god.
The false self – which is our religious self and Adamic self is the product of self-effort, our own attempt at gaining self-worth and an unconscious attempt to recommend ourselves to ourselves, to God and to others. The true self is the real you. It’s who you are in relation to Jesus and the extent that you have made Him your life and rejected externalities. The false self is always the product of a degree of pride.
“Paradoxically, immense humility, not arrogance, characterizes someone who lives in the True Self. You simultaneously know you are a son or daughter of God, but you also know that you didn't earn it and you are not worthy of it. You know it's entirely a gift (see Ephesians 2:8-9 and throughout the Pauline writings). All you can do is thank Somebody Else, occasionally weep with joy, and kneel without any hesitation.” Paradoxically this is why the poor in spirit know themselves, see God and His ways and are delivered from religious fogs.
Paul wrote, ‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world’ Gal 6.14 NIV. Should we be scuttling crab-like with dual identities, could it be that the world has not been crucified to us or us to the world?