EMPTINESS OF RELIGION, FULLNESS OF CHRIST OUR LIFE
The episode with Jesus, the blind man and the Pharisees is about obscurantism and dimness. Either dim-witted or dim in perception the account shows that spiritual insight is not wholly dependent on intelligence or education. Seeing spiritually is a function of humility, teachability and revelation. The uneducated, now sighted and ex-blind man easily outwitted the law-mongers and academics in spiritual discernment because of need. His eyes, though blind in the natural had spiritual vision unobstructed by the law, religiosity and entitlement.
To believe Jesus is to be a son. To be a son is to see and know as Father knows. To be a son who sees is to escape the bubble of un-reality that we hold sacred.
LIVING WAY, LIVING SIGHTEDNESS
Legalism leaves us dullards in the field of spiritual perception. The retention of an old covenant outlook, separates us from Father. It leaves us earning His love when it is already ours and so denies the comfort and peace that nurtures the reproduction of Jesus in our being. It places us out of sync with Father and the resources that are our inheritance as sons. It leaves us at the bottom of the class in representing the authority of God. Our competence to minister the life of the Kingdom is dulled and the advance of the new creation impeded in the law. We need to abandon our Adam and embrace the pearl of great price who is ours in Christ our life.
‘When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it’ Matt 13.46 NIV.
AMALGAM OF INERTIA
Mixture is the plague of the church Jesus did not build. It's possible to build a denomination on law and old covenant premises. But such a gospel is another gospel of the kind Paul warned of. It attracts a curse in the form of a deficit of life that is the opposite to the fullness of life that is the core of the Kingdom in us. A mongrel gospel of law and Christ withers us as persons, numbs us to the Christ and so degrades spirit and life that we become immunised against the Reality that is Christ. We can live as dead trees rather than trees of life and be unaware that we are not alive. Not alive and not sighted because we are contained inside our cultural bottle.
‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them’ John 12.40 NIV.
ACTIVE BUT NOT ALIVE
Indications of life in the Kingdom are not to be equated with a round of activity. Life comes from Father, Son and Holy Spirit through us into the needy and thirsty. This is the living water and spirit/life that was Jesus in union with His Father and in relationship with those He mingled with. This is far from beyond any of us. It’s simply a matter of Jesus being our life because we have asked Him to and then allowing this life to flow from Him by being ourselves at rest in His provision. Let’s be clear. If the law is your life then Jesus is not. If Christ is our life we are spirit and life in person.
‘Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life’ 1 John 5.12 NIV.
The lie of a law based gospel is best explained like this. Imagine you are giving the patient a blood transfusion. The patient could expect to receive a transfusion of bright red, oxygenated blood. But what if doctors thought they could do better. ‘We will improve on things’ they mutter to themselves. ‘Instead of 100 percent blood we will transfuse 70 percent blood and 30 percent lentil soup.’ This is what we do when we foist on the unsuspecting, a law-based perversion of Christ's gospel. The patient would probably die – and people do die spiritually from this kind of ministry. They become the walking dead. If by grace the patient survives she survives in a debilitated state because what has been transfused is partly death. This aptly describes the body of death that Paul talks of and of which we have already been delivered.
BODY OF DEATH RELIGION
‘What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ Rom 7.24,25 NIV.
People can be immunized against the truth by religion. Born into a denominational ethnicity, they can be socialized into a culture that assumes the truth of its suppositions without question. The community becomes indoctrinated in a relentless process from the cradle to the grave and death is multiplied in the name of life. All such people go to eternal life. Sadly they are not channels of life in the Everyday.
LEGALISM NO SOLUTION
Many in Islam see their radical legalism as the solution to the chaos of the world. Law, legalism and behavioural rigour is no solution to the world’s woe. But Christ replicated in all is the new creation Kingdom of God.
Unless we can demonstrate the power of Christ our life simply by inviting Jesus to live in and through us, neither the crippled churched or the unbelieving world can be drawn in to the life of God.
CORPSE UNDER THE EUCALYPT
Theology is simply the truth about God. If we are too naive or simple minded to engage it, we may well accommodate ourselves to being a sect or a cult and imagine we belong to the body of Christ when we are really a dead rib cage under a gum tree beside the Murray river. Jesus said this is my body meaning that He and nothing else is our life. His body given for us became the Life-Giving-Spirit following the resurrection and Pentecost. His person is multiplied in all who receive Him and His Spirit manifests as the church He builds without human hands.
‘When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?’ John 5.6 KJV.
The Jesus who walked Nazareth and who now reigns in glory in heaven is the same Jesus who lives in each one of us by the Spirit. The one and only whole person approach is Jesus’ life as our life.