Jesus said to George, ‘You don’t read these posts, because if you did, you would have to give up your religion. But if you did you would live in an overflowing glass, rather than a glass one eighth full.’
There’s a power in truth that the friends of rationalisation and dont experience. Forever at the edge of revelation, they deny themselves not only life to the full but creativity and the deep wisdom of God. But much worse than this they deny themselves – themselves.
We can be very nice people and be joined to an image of Jesus that is neither the Christ of God or the ‘I AM’ of Himself. The christ that is ‘our christ’ can be formed as a result of painful experiences in which we feel Jesus did not come through for us.
Or our picture of Him may be formed from the teaching and example of significant others who followed a distorted image of Jesus as a result of their distorted gospel. A distorted image of Christ can be produced by our own fears, guilt and religious ideas. Legalism distorts the Christ of God like nothing else. A law-presiding Christ is a false christ. A Christ of the law negates the cross, undoes union with God and makes religion out of attempting to earn the favour with God that is already yours.
These false christs and the ‘other gospels’ that go with them are often promoted by intelligent and well educated people – either due to brain washing or for the same kinds of reasons that people deny the human causes of climate change. They find comfort in the lie that we can be more Godly by ignoring our graced life in the Spirit and doing bits and pieces of the law. We are graced with Christ’s life as our life. Not graced to keep the law.
TRUE OR FALSE?
False gospels and other gospels – all of them an illicit extension of the old covenant into the new covenant age have one effect. They are a variation on the lie that precipitated the fall and are an extension of the fall.
While such thoughts may be our own they all originate with the father of lies, whose vested interest is besmirching the identity of God and undermining confidence in who we are in Jesus.
Godliness is never the accumulation of religion. Nothing complex about it at all. It’s simply Christ as us.
CLARITY AND BLUR
Many Christians do not walk in darkness but they do walk in a fog. The outlines for them are blurred and confused because their beliefs are a subtle blend of truth and error. Relating to God through veils of misconception, does not mean that we are bad people. But it does mean that we are hindered and limited in our sonship. Jesus warned of tares and false christs for just this reason.
‘Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?’ Matt 16.24-26 NIV.
GLORY OR NOT
Just as Christ in us is the present reality of our glory so a lesser christ and a lesser gospel in us is the limitation of our glory. Why have an unhealed and crippled soul or a bent spirit of inferior identity when we can be an expression of Jesus as His disciple?
A conscientious adherence to lesser gospels can mean that we have been lied to. Or it may mean that we have not been diligent in examining the verities of faith for a reason. Some will not examine the foundations of their faith because the identity and imagined status they think they have in its community is too important to them. Jesus can grace us out of such idolatry.
Maybe the identity we have made for ourselves in our veils of confusion is all we think we have. Maybe we are afraid of losing ourselves. As a result, what we have seems more important to us than the real identity that is ours in Jesus. As such the pattern of our lives has been a reliance on fictions and clichéd miss-interpretations of scriptures. These support our disabled being and the ‘other gospel’ that we have made our religion.
The question here is not are we members of the Body of Christ? It is are we a tumour or cancer in the body that debilitates all it touches? Will we embrace Him as He is and His gospel as defined by the apostles or remain in the embrace of an expression of ourselves and our community that gives us false comfort and limited life? J Baxter Kruger writes,
“Yet those who embrace Him, who believe in His name, find His Light, His I AM setting them free to become their true selves, free to live as children of God in the darkness, discovering their origin beyond their earthly parents in the Word in God. And so the Word became flesh and entered the darkness in person, and found His way within us. And we perceived His true identity, His glory as the only begotten out of the Father, an overflowing fountain of grace and truth, ” (1) In Patmos: Three Days, Two Men, One Extraordinary Conversation.
SHADOW TO REAL
We can be sons of the evil one or sons of God. As the former we are tares. As the latter we are multipliers of the bread of life. Whose son we are flows from whose narrative we have embraced. As Paul put it, are we the sons of the free woman or the slave woman. Both are sons of God. Only some are sons in spirit and in truth.
There is a real and undistorted identity that is Father’s identity in Jesus and an authentic identity that is yours. There’s an authentic us: The ‘we’ that we are in the spirit of sonship and the ‘we’ that we have been lied to so that we define ourselves by the constructs of the father of lies. In the former we are the wheat and in the latter we are the tares. In the latter mode we are never our real selves and have no hope of ever entering our sonship in spirit and in truth unless we are willing to deconstruct our lives in radical repentance – not from immorality or wickedness but from living in agreement with an edifice of delusion created by the father of lies.
A religio-academic presentation in the mode of the knowledge of good and evil is attractive if one has not been born again and does not live in the Spirit. It appears to have weight. What it lacks is spirit and life. It has no power to advance the Kingdom of God - except like many of the policies of conservative recalcitrants in government - to appear to be doing something when it is actually doing nothing.
We are set free from our myths and veils in The Christ of God. We are bound in these veils in other christs from other gospels. Such christs are christs who represent the law come in our flesh instead of christ come in our flesh to be the expression of us. So to know the Jesus who sets captives free is to know not a false christ but the Christ of God. J Baxter Kruger writes,
“It is only by knowing Jesus that we are set free for life, yet the road to knowing Jesus requires that we acknowledge our baggage and deal with it. We must become aware of our habits of thought and examine our inherited ideas, which have shaped our perception of God. This in itself is painful and costly, but it also runs the risk of exposing the wrongheadedness of cherished notions. … In Christian faith, to examine our mental instruments, to bring our habits of thought, our ideas and categories into the open is to run the risk of revealing the inadequacies, or perhaps even the folly, of our inherited theology.” (2) It is painful and costly. But when we have entered in to it we have been born again. Not in theory but in spirit and in truth.
(1) In Patmos: Three Days, Two Men, One Extraordinary Conversation.
(2) Kruger, C. Baxter. Jesus and the Undoing of Adam (Kindle Locations 138-143). Perichoresis Press. Kindle Edition.