This quote took my eye recently, “It is no coincidence that Christian fundamentalist movements worldwide seek a return to Old Testament laws - because they fundamentally reject Christ as the New Covenant - which replaced all that.’ To what extent this is true I do not know. But I do know people who prefer Moses to Christ and other folks who have a problem with Christ our life.
Yet Christ our life is the Gospel of the Kingdom and Christ as the help-meet of morality and the law is not.
This does not mean that idealogues reject Christ. It means that a Jesus couched in old covenant terms is not the Christ of God, but a false christ who is a construct of religion.
The fruit of the cross is oneness with Christ. The effect of the cross is Christ expressed as us. The Lord’s Table is a reminder and celebration of our oneness with Christ and as a result our re-union with God.
MIND OF CHRIST/MIND OF ADAM
We no longer live, in separation even if we are living in a separation mindset. We are one with God in the Christ of God. In Christ we have oneness with the trinity. Paul urged that we live in the new reality that had become ours with the words, ‘I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Gal 2.21 NIV. Paul is not talking about an abstract grace. He means the grace that undoes our separation in Adam/Moses. This is the grace that has made us one with God. In the post cross age, we have the oneness with Father that Jesus has. Jesus says, ‘I and the Father are one.’ You have this oneness in the person of Jesus.
All fundamentalisms – being of the letter - are about exclusion and separation. Yet a curious contradiction on the part of some is the assumption that we are all ‘part of the one loaf.’ The issue is what kind of part?
Of course, we are included if Christ is our life. That’s the reality. But there are degrees of belonging. There’s the belonging of the tare and the belonging of the delinquent family member. As members of the Body there is the belonging and function of a healthy organ and the belonging of tumour.
All have been offered inclusion in Christ. Whether we participate in this fullness depends on whether we have an over flowing gospel or a glass half full gospel. Why live robbed when a fortune is your inheritance?
THE ONE SPIRIT
‘But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him’ 1 Cor 6.17 NIV.
Oneness with God is the ultimate conclusion of the promise ‘I will be your God and your will be my people’. It is realised post cross in the incarnation.
Union with God is the result of the cross and the indwelling Spirit. This union is the interweaving of our spirit with God’s Spirit. Oneness with our Christian brother has a source: Our inter-woveness with the trinity. ‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV.
In the new testament age, we can be part of the body of death, or we can be part of the body of Christ. In the first instance we are NOTIONALLY part of Christ’s body. In the second instance we are one with His Body in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.
Fundamentalists can live in a mindset where our union with God - already achieved by Jesus is not yet a fact - but a possibility yet to be realised. Realised by various conformities, pre-conditions and hoops to jump through. The Lord’s Table celebrates your oneness with God. Praise and worship that seeks union with God is misguided. The incarnation – Christ in you- is the post cross reality. Praise and worship celebrating our union with God exults Jesus and our union with Him.
THE LETTER THAT DULLS
Your life is not found in the legalist’s redoubts of words and definitions – the letter that kills. You are alive and one with God. One with God – incarnated with His fullness woven into your being - you are able to love as God loves because God manifests in the faces of Dave, Jill and Nathan. This was Jesus’ Prayer together with the living way of achieving it in John 17.
We are one as ‘we’ are one by the atonement and the incarnation. To live in the old covenant when our inheritance is the new is a worse heresy in this century than Arianism was in the 4th century. It denies the inheritance of the cross by stifling the incarnation and multiplying the pretence that Christ come in our flesh is something peculiar and less substantial than moralism, law-keeping* and religion.
FEAR IS DEAD
Richard Rohr writes, “In my now broad and worldwide experience, I do not find most Christians to be naturally more loving than those of other faiths. We just think we are! It’s rather disappointing to find this out, but it’s inevitable if you’re basically relating to this God out of fear and if your religion is, by and large, fire insurance just in case the whole thing turns out to be real.” (1) It does not have to be fire insurance. It just has to be religion that is a Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil.
If religion is our life, we have Buckley’s chance of either being a whole person, a loving person or a spiritual person. But if Jesus is our life we are the manifestation of His Spirit. This is why the new covenant is not a theological curiosity but the difference between the Kingdom of God and religion.
In Jesus we have a relationship with God that each member of the trinity has with each other. Jesus expressed it in this manner: ‘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. This relationship is there for the possessing. It’s yours prior to any action of your own. You cannot earn what already belongs to you. And you have no need to drum it up through some religious observance. The fact is that you and Father are one at all times and in any location.
Rohr believes that ‘Everyone belongs.’ They do. Even the sinner and the rebel. But we need to believe in this belongingness and enter the fullness described in John 14.20. We need to know that our belonging is found in God and HIS WAY OF BELONGING who is Jesus Christ. This is why Paul speaks of Christ our life. Jesus is our entrance into the relationships of the trinity, our ability to relate to ourselves in a holy and holistic way and our ability to enjoy, love and be loved by others. He is the way of participating joyfully in all that we call life. This is why Christ our life is life to the full while a law derived life, even with His help, is drops of liquid rather than rivers of infinite life.
* It can be argued with some justification that a religion based on the law is not strictly a Christian religion.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation (Kindle Locations 713-716). SPCK. Kindle Edition.