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Jesus made use of the metaphor of leprosy to illustrate sin. It was an apt likeness because leprosy separated people from each other, disfigured the person and carried a stigma. In those days, leprosy was a burden of guilt to the diseased as well. And illness can be today. People can imagine that misfortune is a payback from God or at least a bizarre form of discipline. A friend of mine whose boy was born with a slight deformity thought it may have occurred as a result of his wayward youth. But God is not like that, even though the Enemy would want us to believe so. There’s a reason why Jesus healed people and why He wants us to continue doing this today. There’s also a reason why people deny this and define it as illegitimate for today. It depends on the spirit that is in them. We need not be wicked to be controlled by the Spirit of Religion.
Today I am proposing that Alzheimer’s might be seen as a parable of living from the law when Jesus has given us Himself from which to live. Jesus said ‘I am life.’ And the way and the truth. Paul’s gospel was that Christ is our life. This is more vital and more radical than the common assumption that Christianity is our life. One is Christ as you. The other is degrees of un-life.
What then are we to live from? We are to live our everyday lives in the gift of eternal life: Union with God.
Following Thomas Torrance, Martin M Davis observes that, “Union with God in and through Christ’ is the ‘goal and end’ of God’s reconciling act in Jesus Christ. In ‘union with Christ’.. we are reconciled to the Father, justified, sanctified and taken up by the Spirit into the communion of the holy Trinity.
In the post cross age our being, meaning our person in its fullness is the communion that is the triune God. Whether we actually participate in this reality depends on our agreeing with Christ that He has drawn us into His life. This is not a ‘work’. It’s a response.
Living from the knowledge of good and evil – basically living from religion - saps us of the vitality of the sons and daughters of God, defaces and confuses our identity and withers our humanity. To live from the law is to live as a blur instead of a son/daughter of God.
So defacing is legalism to our humanity that one can never be a son/daughter in spirit and in truth while tied to the law. In the law we are notional sons. With Christ as our life we are sons in the reality that is Christ.
Old covenant living denies us the spirit and life of the sons of God. Forgetting who we are, one slips into a spiritual Alzheimer’s where we live in a limited humanity before our spiritual organs shut down. I found this in The Age recently.
Alzheimer’s dementia is the final end point,” Professor Ritchie said, culminating in disorienting forgetfulness and confusion, a loss of self and independence, and death, he told the International Dementia Conference hosted by Hammondcare in Sydney this week. Alzheimer's disease encompassed the changes and pathologies that built up in the brain over decades, long before symptoms of dementia emerged.” Institutionalised old covenant religion has the same effect. Christ our life is the resurrection of union with God, the establishing of our identity and the making of us as persons of agency – agents of Kingdom spirit and life.
Jesus put our Adamic body of death to death at the cross and raised us with Himself as life-giving spirits at His resurrection. Christ has come in our flesh. Religion and legalism not only obscures who we are. Old covenant living in the new covenant age produces disorientation and suffocates sonship.
Keep in mind that Jesus had authority not as the scribes. He lived from His real identity, did not allow Himself to be shifted from it by Satan and lived not only in His Father but in absolute trust of Him and His worthiness.
A Jesus life is the opposite to spiritual disease. It’s His life as ours. Not a Christian religion as ours but the person of Jesus manifesting as us. This is how the church gets to be the body of Christ, when we live from His life instead of from laws and abstractions. Now we are living as real persons rather than as shadows of our real selves.
Christ really is our life. He has united human life, the life of God, and the life of heaven and earth in Himself. To embrace Him. Or rather to agree that He has already embraced us, is life to the full.