BEING YOU IN CHRIST
My daughter rejoices in being herself. She says, ‘Dad, I enjoy being!’ If you are fortunate enough to have been brought up in Jesus instead of the law or in Jesus rather than the more subtle miasma of religion, you are fortunate indeed. You have a head start. Why? Because religion insulates us from the nakedness that exists between ourselves and Jesus.
Living in Christ we can simply ‘be.’ Be who? Be ourselves in wholeness and joy.
Living in religion rather than living incarnation is the difference between attempting to drink the milk carton and drinking the milk. There’s difference between religion and the community of the saints. It’s where we start. It’s what serves as the source of our being. If it is religion we are smothering our spirit. If it is Christ our life we are the genuine Body of Christ and the church that is the manifestation of His Being.
I once taught a unit in a religious studies class on ‘Encounter.’ The encounter being with God. This was an attempt to teach people to break through religious encrustations to the spirit of life who is the person of Jesus. If our relationship with God is not personal it is a nothing. Nothing because it is only when it is personal that it is alive and we are alive.
That which Jesus offers is neither law-based or religious. It is life based, drawing its life from the life-hub of the universe: The Three/One of The Trinity. If God is just one the saying, “God is love” is meaningless. But God is three and a communion of one for all and all for one.
One of the key scriptures of the new testament is this: ‘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. When we do realise this, we will get what Jesus died for and why He lives to multiply this life and this interwoveness through us.
Richard Rohr has written a book entitled, The Naked Now. Its theme is living the incarnated life in the moment and in the season. It is this union and communion of the saints that is Jesus’ Church built without human hands. Such a church is the expression of His Person and the reality of the genuine Body of Christ as distinct from an institutional construct.
The Lord’s Table can be an item on the church calendar. Or be what it really is – a sign, celebration and reminder that Christ our life, is our life and that in everyday life He has become us.
The witness of the new testament is that Christ is our life. Its testimony is not that we are to read the Bible and attempt to apply what we read. It does not say that at all. It’s not a try harder manual. Not a compendium of homilies in self-improvement and behaviour management. The testimony of the new testament is to believe God’s son and invite Him to be the us we want to be.
The new testament witness is that Jesus Himself expressed Himself as us. As the resurrected Christ He lives His life by the Spirit through us and as us. The figures of the Bible had many admirable qualities. And some had ugly ones. As Godly as some were none of them have the ability to transform our lives. Only Jesus by His Spirit can express Himself as the ‘us’ who is a maturing son of God.
A son/daughter of God is a holistic entity, a complete person in the image of God. There’s more to being you than becoming well-balanced as a person and certainly more than living in the harmonious development of the mental, spiritual and physical aspects of our person. We are not a harmonious abstraction. The attempted use of Jesus to evince Christian Behaviors reduces sonship to less than it is. To live Christ as our life renders us sons of God.
We are sons of God inhabited by God’s Son who expresses Himself as us. Our highest calling is to live in our Father as a son/daughter of God. How? By agreeing that Jesus is indeed our life.
BEYOND THE FALL
Here's the thing: Religion is the attempt to be like God. The Kingdom is God expressing Himself as you. We can enter this realm by realising that it’s not about us inviting Jesus into our lives. It’s about the fact that Jesus has already included us in His.
Baxter Kruger writes, “There is an infinite difference between religious obedience to a divine being or a divine rule and soul knowledge of the Father’s heart. When we know the Father’s delight, something happens to us, something that we cannot do to ourselves, something far deeper than the ability to do right: We are quickened with hope. In seeing the Father’s true face, our souls are baptized with an unearthly assurance, with a security and confidence not of this world. With this assurance comes an awakening, and with the awakening comes freedom–freedom to stand up, to walk, to risk, to venture forth. But this is only the beginning. With our Father’s assurance comes freedom to give and to receive, freedom to know and to be known.” (1).
SHADOW AND REAL
All are notionally sons and daughters of God. Those who are living life to the full are sons in spirit and in truth because Christ is their life. Because of the cross and the incarnation, we can increasingly live as who we are: The sons of God. In law and religion, we can never be more than faint and notional sons of God. We can be diligent slaves and conscientious workers as Paul implies in Galatians talking of the sons of the free woman and the slave woman. But only a shadow of our real selves. Never a sons of God in spirit and in truth. It takes re-birth to enter this realm.
Sadly, there are whole communities of sons of the slave woman. Yet one need not necessarily change denominations to be a son of the Free Woman. We just need to start living in the incarnation.* Perichoresis is real. You are more real as a manifestation of Christ come in your flesh than you are as a manifestation of the law binding you to the flesh.
‘But what does Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son’ Gal 4.30 NIV.
TRUTH IS OBJECTIVE
With Christ as our life we never have to live in shame. Even when we have done wrong. Firstly you are graced with Christ’s life. Secondly we have a life not our own that is our own. The real you and the real me is never the person Satan would lie to us that we are. There is a real us that is our design from the beginning and our destiny and glory as we advance into Christ.
Christ our life is the real us, our real identity and real self. None need live a smothered self. We are responsible for what we do but we are also responsible for who we are becoming. It helps when we understand that it’s not so much about receiving Christ into our life but our living from the fact that we have already been received into His. But wait. There’s more. The major manifestation of Holy Spirit in this age is you. You as a daughter. You as a son of God. You as a life-giving spirit known as Bill, George, Mavis and Amanda. You are the manifestation of Christ.
* But we must admit that it is easier to live alive in our spirit as an expression of the Christ than it is to attempt it in a community of dead folks talking.
(1) Kruger, C. Baxter. Across All Worlds: Jesus Inside Our Darkness (Kindle Locations 404-409). Perichoresis, Inc. Kindle Edition.