BRIGHT

CHRIST YOUR LIFE

WE HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN GOD, IN JESUS CHRIST


Baxter Kruger, following Thomas Torrance, draws our attention to the fact that we are joined to God in the Christ of God and made one with God in similar fashion to The Son’s relationship to the Father. Baxter highlights the truth of what the Church Father’s knew. The truth of perichoresis - which means the trinitarian persons are part of each other yet entirely themselves. For us this means that we participate in the Being of God, and grow entirely into our true selves as daughters and sons of God
in Christ. In Christ we are enfolded in God to be our true selves and participate with Him in making the new creation kingdom of God where we are.

REVELATION AND RECONCILIATION

Thomas Torrance writes, “
His human life was itself identical with God’s final act of revelation and reconciliation. The embodiment of that relation of the Son to the Father in a perfect human life on earth was, therefore, a fact of volcanic significance for salvation and judgement, for revelation and reconciliation.” (1)

MNOT ABOUT THE LAW

It's safe to say that the meaning and implications of this comprehensive salvation were not unravelled for some time after the cross, although John and Paul made a good start – John with Christ come in our flesh and Paul with Christ our life and the truths presented in Colossians. Christ, Paul and John present what many of us have not comprehended to this day: That the trinity is the foundation of all life and that the incarnation is the foundation of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. Where this is not so, we get kingdoms of religion. Where it is realised, we get the rapid expansion of the new creation Kingdom of God.

LIFE REALISED

Realising this truth of personal Kingdom life was declared by Jesus in the words, ‘
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20. For many of us that day is today, because we have lived our life in externalities as though they were abstractions to live towards. Living a Christian ideology is not the same as being Christ our life.

We have lived dulled lives because we thought Jesus is about helping us live His religion - when the fact is that Jesus lives in us to express Himself as us. The direct presence of Christ is not to be diluted into religion.

CHRIST MANIFEST AS US

The Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation comes close to the truth but misses the point. The bread and wine do not become Christ. By the incarnation we participate in His life in the way that the bread and wine become our body when we eat and drink. In the same way when we agree with Christ that He is our life and we sustain our selves by eating Him we become one substance with Christ – incarnation. One with Christ we excel at being our best selves as sons instead of workers. We multiply Christ’s spirit and life because we are actually alive rather than religious. The incarnated Christ lived as us is the real Body of Christ – the reality that is not a shadow of the real.

CUNNING DIVERSION

Christ’s Church of incarnated people is so powerful and effective that it is easy to understand why cunningly devised fables have been seeded by Satan to vitiate the effect of our possession of absolute life in ordinary people. These doctrines of demons take the form of legalisms – of some that are an embedded religious culture and others that have specifically made a version of Christianity by making law the central element. But the law is not the central issue of Kingdom life. Our inclusion in the life the triune God is.
Such ‘gospels’ are not Gospels of the Kingdom. But they are ‘other gospels’ of the kind Paul associated with a curse.

UN-LIFE ADDICTS

This Gospel of the Kingdom is simple and comprehensive. Too simple for some and too all embracing for others who feel they must add something – a rite or piece of the law or some ostentatious work of charity. Not that the latter is meaningless but when done to pay back Christ or earn merit it has no life and is no advance on the work the atheist or agnostic. This is why Jesus said, ‘
The flesh amounts to nothing,’ meaning nothing for the spirit and life of the new creation Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not just a kingdom of people who are people. It’s the Kingdom of those who are alive in their spirit.

YOU WHO ARE ALIVE

While good works do not earn salvation, oneness with Christ provides us both with spiritual rest and fruitfulness as persons and as the church. None are as fruitful and life-giving as those who are hidden in Christ to be revealed as themselves. Nothing penetrates the darkness and the social manifestations of death as much as the person who is the spirit and life of Jesus manifest as Bill and Jean and Sam and Judy.

We can live from religion if we choose. We can remain inebriated in a religious haze when we could have lived alert and inter-woven with Christ. We can live in religion because religion seems ‘normal’ to us because we have never entered The normal Christian life of oneness and incarnation – because we follow the crowd or because we cannot be taught or because we are afraid of Real Life as many were when Jesus was among them and they asked Him to depart from them.

A CUSTOMISED VERSION OF THE TREE

Gregory Boyd does us a service when he alerts us to the fact that what many of us live from is a ‘Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil’. This is so whether we live from a culture of religion or whether we belong to a branch of Christianity that has founded itself on law-keeping. The former live from a cultural routine while the latter live from selected legalisms and iconic beliefs as a form of contract that forms their self-made ‘grace.’ Both are a mind-set of separation from God.

THE CONFUSION
Boyd writes, “Consider, why was the fruit of the forbidden tree a fruit that was said to give the knowledge of good as well as evil? Isn’t the “knowledge of good” a good thing? Aren’t we Christians supposed to be promoting “the knowledge of good”? Isn’t following God all about increasing our “knowledge of good and evil” so we can side with “the good” and resist “the evil”? And yet, whether it fits our preconceptions or not, in the Genesis narrative the nature of the sin that separates us from God is said to be the “knowledge of good and evil.”
‘He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit’ Titus 3.5 NIV.
I was in a church that was observing the ordinance of humility – foot washing. The Spirit of Christ was present when the Christ of God was being extolled and made the focus of all. But once it was assumed that we could make ourselves humble by an external ‘act of humility’ the Spirit of Christ lifted.
UN-LIFE IS A SPIRIT
The Spirit of Christ departs whenever we attempt to self-generate spirituality. I went to a house church once. As I entered the room, I noticed a spirit of death in the air. This non-life came from an obsession with moralism, works and formulaic religion. I noticed the same deadness of spirit in a temple in Asia. We come alive as persons and groups when the Spirit of Christ is in us.
Knowledge of good and evil style religion will leave us bereft of spirit and life and make us people who are dead men and women walking and talking. When we live Christ our life our spirit is alive because of Christ.


(1) Thomas Torrance. The Incarnation. Page 129.
(2) Gregory Boyd. Repenting of Religion. ‘The Nature of the Forbidden Tree.’