As the Light of the World, Jesus teaches us how to see.
In a piece devoted to the attempt to understand the popularity of false hoods the following observation appeared. There’s a mindset, it was said, that resents truth and objects to anything new, because the new and enlightened presents a challenge to the comforting illusions embedded in the personal life and those of sectional interests.
RELEASE OF CAPTIVES
Jesus came to set captives free of false narratives, limiting ideas and the theft of life resulting from ‘cunningly devised fables. Jesus is the truth, the light and life itself. He is also the Way to light, the Door out of darkness and the imparter of spiritual discernment.
Jesus declares. ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free’ Luke 4.18 NIV. We walk through this Door of knowing how to see when He is our one master and we do not have dual loyalties.
Truth is liberating, equipping and life-giving. Pride, no matter how subtle is life-denying, binding and blinding. Significantly Jesus has come among us as the way, the truth and the life. His mission is to set captives free of every form of death.
LIGHT OF THE WORLD
In his book, The Power of Right Believing, Joseph Prince unveils the advantages of … right belief. Not only is this a liberating and empowering work. It undermines the belief that you can make up your own gospel and not be debilitated.
‘Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ John 8.12 NIV.
So why do Believers walk in confusion and darkness? Sincere and innocent people can have their lives dulled by wrong beliefs, even if they are not consciously aware of the error that they have embraced and the polluted sources from which they came. This happens because beliefs morph into a culture and form the ‘reality’ in which people live. People live and breathe this atmosphere, eat its fruits and it becomes part of their lives. Ideas, in a real way become us. Which is why Jesus said. ‘Those who eat Me will live because of Me.’ If we are living in confusion and delusion, Jesus makes the reason for this clear.
A Real Gospel teaches us how to see.
We can make a ‘gospel’ out of joining together a chain of scriptures that have no relation to each other. We can make a gospel by making the law our interpretive frame, because we choose to. ‘Thinking’ in the current season among the masses in the United States and here in Australia as regards energy policy indicate that evidence is not what condition popular thought. Self-interests is. Selfishness has come to determine truth with the result that masses of people ‘make truth up.’ The confusion in the political and economic realm is at heart a spiritual problem.
‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter’ Isa 5.20 NIV.
The gospel of the Kingdom is what Jesus, Paul, John and people like Joseph Prince say it is. Not what we make up. Distorted beliefs become for the Body of Christ, what cancer is to the human body, sapping it of life. They also become the home of spirits of religion attempting to dim the fullness of Christ and impeded the new creation. This is the result of self-made gospels and distorted christs.
THE WAY IS ALIVE
Jesus called Himself the way as well as the truth and the life because union with Him effects how we live in the world. Since He is all and in all He will fill people with the Holy Ghost and wisdom. Grace is not an excuse for vanity and futility. The Bible says,
‘Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers’ 1 Tim 4.16 NIV.
‘But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine’ 4 Titus 2.1 KJV.
‘They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer’ Acts 2.41 NIV.
Right belief is the undoing of Adam and the end of Moses. The new covenant in spirit and in truth is your life as a son and the trinity in fullness is in you.
We can be the prodigal son who comes home or we can be the prodigal son who never comes back.
In the Light, Jesus imparts Himself to you, His life is yours. You are life itself, in holiness, love, grace, wisdom, joy as sons and daughters of God. The new covenant is exclusively Jesus and infinite in spoke. He is the manifestation of the church. He fills reality with His person. So, let us be clear and aligned with Jesus. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are a divine conspiracy that creates an ultra-life created order in which we become new beings and the society we make becomes a new creation. Dr Stephen Crosby summarises the radical nature of our new covenant life.
“The author of Hebrews tries to get at the magnitude and radicalness of the scope of the change between the two covenants by using the strong language that he did. It is not a modification or adjustment of a few points of religious methodology. It is not like the seamless change from dawn to noon. No. It is a more glorious and dramatic change. It is a convulsing alteration in the fabric of the created order.” (1)
PURE IN SPIRIT
A friend of mine visited another church on Sunday Evening. I asked her what the sermon was like. “It was more pure, than what I am used to,” she replied. By ‘pure’ she meant less encrusted and encumbered by religious additions and subtractions that dilute and disempower what is meant to be THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM.
So what’s purity about?
I had a vivid dream once on the first evening of a religious conference. In the dream, there was a raised platform on which were a number of drinking fountains. One was pure water representing the undiluted water of life. One was hydrochloric acid. Another was beer. One was muddy water. Another was rain water collected from a suburban gutter. All the liquids representing degrees of dilution, pollution and toxicity. This was a picture of purity and pollution.
A PURE VIRGIN
Paul urges us to be absorbed in a purity that is more pure than any purity and oneness with our wife. He invites us to live in Jesus’ gift to each of us: In ‘we and Father are one.’ In Jesus we have left behind Adam’s adultery. We are in Jesus. Today we have the union with God that Jesus has with His Father. We have a pure oneness with God because God alone is our life.
This is not about moral perfection. It’s about living in Christ and the apostles gospel and not diluting it with specious reasoning.
Paul urged that we have ‘one husband.’ Any gospel that is not pure flows from divided loyalties. Such a ‘gospel’ imparts confusion and non-life in the name of life. Some are toxic because they negate the cross or substitute false christs for the Christ of God. Others are subtle distortions such as the promotion of old covenant mindsets and ‘try harder mentalities.’ Some promote moralism as if this is the gospel of the Kingdom. They do not produce immediate death – just a haze of semi-consciousness, a daze instead of spiritual discernment and an accommodation to routines that are forms of godliness without spirit and life.
‘I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him’ 2 Cor 11.2 NIV.
PURE IN HEART
Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the pure for they shall see God.’ This is to say that those who follow Jesus unconditionally will know God, understand the gospel of the Kingdom. Should they be side-tracked by cunningly devised fables, they will eventually see through the deceit and come to know God and His provision for us in spirit and in truth.
The most confused will be those who have more than one Christ – their identity in their religious community and their identity as a Believer. Sadly, this is a situation where we have two husbands. As a result, we have difficulty in seeing God because we have two ‘centres’ of truth. Paul urges that we have one husband who is Christ. Thus, our attention and our heart is not adulterated and we see God clearly. Here we grow in spiritual discernment and rightly divide (interpret) the word of truth. The non-pure in heart will not see God as He is. They will contain themselves in a glass darkly, and offer distorted versions of the Christ and His Kingdom.
We can know the truth and the truth will set us free - if we are willing to have one Christ and follow Jesus wherever He leads.
‘I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth’ 1 John 2.21 NIV.
(1) Crosby, Stephen. The New Testament Prophet: Understanding the Mind, Temperament, and Calling (Kindle Locations 794-797). . Kindle Edition.