In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. — Abraham Lincoln
One for whom Christ is life is a different person to one whose passion is to promote a specific religion. If we are hooked on life more than we are on upholding a lesser version of it for reasons of identity, status or love of inertia, we will find that there is more life to be had. Jesus said those who desire more will have more and those who acquiesce to their current torpor will be in danger of losing what they have.
The gospel is not the law and Jesus. The Gospel is Jesus is all and in all. ‘If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Gal 2.21 NIV. What could be plainer than that?
Life is a person in that it is Jesus Christ. Life is communal in that it flows from the triune God of whom Christ is the Door.
Jesus warned of thieves and robbers of life who do not come through the Door but invent a life of their own. Such doors are subverted gospels.
‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10.NIV. Jesus is among us now to undo every form of theft and robbery that presents as life. As we mature, we grow in the knowledge of Jesus christ and of ourselves. Because Jesus is grace He envelops us in Himself so that we can advance into the life and truth He has for us and so that we can live in a full inheritance from Him, rather than in fragments are a glass half empty.
That’s grace. But Jesus is grace and truth. He overflows with it. Because Jesus is grace and truth, He gives us eyes to see that things we thought we true about life in Him were misunderstandings and sometimes lies. Because Jesus is life, He draws us into Himself and a complete gospel so that we are complete in Him and not cripples feigning well-being. By following Jesus as an obedient disciples, we enter ever more life. By failing to acknowledge distortions and lies we are left with what we have.
Jesus is life. He was what He taught. If you have been raised in legalism you may read this as Jesus lived a holy life, doing the good and avoiding the bad every single time. The truth is that He did. But Jesus did not live moment by moment in between the choice of stepping into a righteous act or avoiding a bad one. He did not live agitated. He lived in peace in a much larger entity. He lived in His Father. Jesus lived in the flow of the Spirit that was His relationship with His Father. He was one with His Father.
DOING WHAT JESUS IS DOING
When Jesus declared that He only did what His Father was doing and that He and His Father were one He was advertising a state of being – the state that Adam could have lived in and didn’t and the state that Jesus lived in as a son. This is the state that we live in by being engulfed in Jesus’ life.
Jesus would have been schooled in the religion of the Jews. Significantly He did not teach from this, nor did He seek to reinforce it. If you are looking for essays in the new testament on the furtherance of temple, law and Sabbath you won’t find it because it isn’t there. You must add it as another gospel.
SPIRIT TO SPIRIT
Jesus prayed a lot and lived from His Father. But this was never a religious union. It was a union that already was; a union of being, a union of spirit and above all a union of fact of the kind that Jesus called, spirit and truth.
Jesus passed this union on to us with 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 NIV. The day we realise this is the day we move from religion into the Kingdom of God.
Hopefully for you that day will be this day if you are not rejoicing in this already! Jesus did not leave behind for us religion of any kind. What He left behind was the fullness of the God-Head alive in us. This trinity is alive in us, rejoicing in you! So working at your salvation in fear and trembling is conserving and nurturing what you have as an inheritance and being vigilant that no religious spirit or spirit of anti-christ takes this treasure away and leaves you with a box without the contents. But I digress.
SPIRIT AND LIFE
We can train theologically and never experience such union. We can live our lives in religion and not know this union. We can deliver Bible studies and never speak words of spirit and life because we do not live in spirit and life.
Richard Rohr urges that, “Theological training without spiritual experience is deadly.” (1). Knowledge without spirit and life is a coma. Action without spirit and life does not advance the Kingdom. Christ our life makes us a fountain of life as ourselves in every situation.
Unless we live from the life, which is never abstract but a personal oneness with Jesus as a person – not as a religion, we will not know we are empty of spirit and life. And we will not recognise it when it is flowing from others. A first step would be to work less at receiving Christ and more at living from the fact that we have already been received into His.
CREATING SIGHTED BELIEVERS
God’s judgment is to redemption. Sometimes the best thing that can happen to us is for it to be revealed to ourselves that in the Kingdom sense we have been blind and deaf or that we and those we love have spent their lives pedalling a half-gospel or a non-gospel.
Jesus said to some who thought they knew, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind," John 9.39 NIV.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (p. 30). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.