Michael Kapler writes, “Over the years, I’ve seen many people hurt by Christian religion. These are victims who walk away from the institutional church dazed and confused, feeling the need to get out, not wanting anything to do with it any more. It’s not so much that these people are angry with God; more than likely they think God is angry with them (he isn’t). Most people who leave the church institution are perceived as walking away from the Lord, but truth be told, they may just be departing from the wrong message. Some of the victims are even ministers themselves.” (1)
ROCKS AND SHOCKS
It may come as a shock to find that we have been in church all our lives without being very Godly. Unfortunately, many religious people I have met think they are godly. If only we could put on godliness like putting on a hat. Godliness is easier than adopting some externality. It comes by agreeing with Christ that He is our life. ‘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. To agree with Christ that He is our life is to become like Him. Godliness is Christ in us.
Some have thought that the cure for mal-religion is the re-invention of the church. For a while we had The Emerging Church and House Churches were a thing. The trouble with that was that what we needed as human beings was not a new kind of church but a new form of us. With others the Holy Spirit revival finally caught up with them. There, the solution to torpor was seen as ‘Getting the Holy Spirit.’ But the Holy Spirit and the gifts on its own is not the Kingdom of God. Holy Spiriit is not a cure of our gospel is not Christ’s gospel.
Christ our life is the Kingdom of God – which means that Adamic separation is finished, Mosaic compartmentalisation is undone and Christ is diffused into the creation because Christ is incarnated in us. Oneness with God is the Kingdom of God and it happens by incarnation which is the Gift of God.
YOUR POST CROSS LIFE
The new testament is not the old testament with Jesus added. Grace is not a method of keeping the law. Grace is Christ for you and as you.
There’s a better life for all. Better than living from a religious contract in the hope that God will do something because ‘I did that’. The Old Covenant was ‘obey and live.’ How could it be anything but ‘contractual’ since it was a distorted and expensive way of thinking to be godly? I heard a person deny that the Living Way is ‘Christ our life’ on the grounds that it does not tell us specific things to do to be ‘saved.’ They had been raised in the law which accounted for their view of ‘buying a life in God through selected acts.’ The trouble with making your own grace is that it is no grace at all.
WE ARE NOT CAPAPLE OF BEING WHOLE IN THE LAW
Attempts to earn acceptance with Christ are usually shambolic and pathetic because such acceptance cannot be earned. Our clutching at our ‘sacred’ behaviors and iconic distinctives, do not make us whole or holy. Only God in us makes us healed and holy, which is why Christ is our life and we are not. We need to be clear. Grace is not an entity that helps us cope with or keep the law. Grace is the person of Christ who envelops us in God. More than ‘acceptance’ with God has been earned for us. Union with God has become ours in Christ.
Christ forms us into the likeness of Himself and our real self – not an agenda of ‘god things.’
INTIMACY IS A GIFT THAT IS YOUR POSSESSION
For many years I thought that intimacy with God was earned by a sinless life or at least some measure of success in being an overcomer. A woman told me once that intimacy with Jesus was gained by ‘not sinning.’ This is similar to the notion that we have fellowship with Jesus by ‘keeping close to Jesus’ – a contradiction if ever there was one.
When Jesus declares Himself the way, the truth and the life He is saying what Paul is saying – that Christ is our life in every way. When Paul states in Romans that ‘Nothing can separate us from the love of God’ he is saying that nothing can separate us from who God is. God is love. Love is personal and a communion. It’s the Communion of the triune God. Because of Christ we are enfolded in this communion. Our part is to say ‘yes.’ We are not involved in a work of ‘receiving Christ’. We are invited to agree with Christ that He has drawn us into His life.
James Torrance writes, “The Christ by whom all things were made is the same Christ who, for us and our salvation, assumed our humanity. In other words, the Son of God who created Adam for sonship and communion and immortality does not abandon His loving purposes for humanity, for every single human person. But in order to redeem humanity and to bring to fulfillment His purpose for humanity, for everyone, He Himself becomes a man that He might fulfill in us His own person God’s purpose of love and obedience and worship.” Christ is not only in you. He is shaping you into the likeness of Himself. (2)
(1) Michael C Kapler, Clash of the Covenants. p 20.
(2) J. B. Torrance, Worship Community and the Triune God of Grace, P. 52.