The Christian life is more simple and infinitely more comprehensive than many realise. It is simple, powerful and revolutionary because the Kingdom of God is not what we think of as ‘the Christian life.’ IT IS GOD’S LIFE AS US. Many spend their entire lives oblivious of this, absorbed in the multiplicities of religion as though their lives depended on it. In his book, From Eternity to Here, Frank Viola writes of a moment of revelation.
“I discovered that I was involved in something much larger and more glorious than I had ever dreamed. The Christian life was no longer merely about winning souls; helping the poor; learning theology; studying doctrine; mastering the Bible; deciphering eschatology; praying more; attending church services; praising and worshipping; doing spiritual warfare; exercising spiritual gifts; hearing God’s voice; imitating Jesus; and engaging in good works. Nor was it about the other endless activities that I had been taught were the center of God’s will.” All of the above have merit. But we could be doing all of them and have missed the whole point that was the mission of the trinity: To rejoice in the company of sons and daughters, to manifest God in humanity. We can minister droplets of spirit and life or rivers.
The agency of the above religiosities is far less than the directness of Christ our life. In the latter there is no insulating layers of observance. No layers of religion. Because of the incarnation Christ is expressed as you.
This is the meaning of From Eternity to Here: The truth that as sons and daughters we are the expression and representation of the fullness of God. The center of God’s will is that we share the life of the trinity; that as sons we are the manifestation of our Father.
SIMPLE PEOPLE SEE
More and more Believers are entering this understanding. One need not be an intellectual or educated to do so. Simple people with a heart for God get it. They get that God is incarnated in us in order that we may be ourselves AS SONS. This is the simple message of the Lord’s Table.
Often educated people and others brainwashed in a particular law-based theology do not – particularly if it is a theology that embodies an implicit extension of the fall. These keep going around and around like wet clothes in a front-load washing machine that will not turn off. They spend their lives pumping up a version of Godliness that God left behind at the cross and Pentecost. Frank Viola continues, “[This] is the heart of the biblical story, the meta narrative (overarching story) of holy writ. The Father obtains a bride for His Son by the Spirit. He then builds a house in which He, the Son, and the bride dwell together in the Spirit. The Father, the Son, and the bride live in that house as an extended household and they have offspring by the Spirit. The offspring constitutes a family, a new humanity called “the body of Christ.” (2) This is the one valid expression of the Body of Christ.
This is a different body of Christ to an institutionalised notion of the Body of Christ. This kind is the trinity manifest as people. People who are the living expression of Jesus because God is incarnated in them and MANIFEST AS THEM.
BRIDE OF CHRIST
The Bride and the house is firstly you. You are the wife of the new Adam. You are the new Eve who is part of the Christ. As part of Jesus, we multiply His fullness in our personal uniqueness and as Jesus come in our flesh. We are not only the manifestation of Christ in us. We birth sons and daughters into the world as real people and projects that are alive with the spirit and life of God. This is a spiritual and organic union that is much more than some positional expression of the letter. It is an interwoveness with God that is ours because we have agreed with Jesus that it is so. This is the house that is the habitation of God.
Jesus and His Father were of one substance. We and Jesus are of one substance. This is the Nicaean Creed - the antidote to Arianism and legalism. As Baxster Kruger following Barth declares, ‘NOT GOD ALONE, BUT GOD AND HUMANITY TOGETHER, CONSTITUTE THE MEANING OF THE WORD OF GOD.’ In this statement Arianism is demolished and all gospels of the law are extinguished.
WHAT IS BETTER
We can live in the mechanical mode of the law in a Christian guise if we choose. But we will have chosen the Martha life while neglecting the Mary life of oneness with God and the healed self. As a result, Christ has not come in our flesh and the Kingdom does not inhabit us. Did you know that Believers can be attached to versions of Christianity that can never represent the Kingdom of God? It takes spirit and life to do this.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV. Christ shed His life abroad into us by the incarnation. When we step into this reality each of us become the manifestation of Jesus and the Holy Family. Thus the Kingdom of God expands in everyday life.
In the old covenant in our non-reborn state, “We still think of ourselves as mere humans trying desperately to become “spiritual,” when the Christian revelation was precisely that you are already spiritual (“in God”), and your difficult but necessary task is to learn how to become human. Jesus came to model the full integration for us (see 1 Corinthians 15:47–49) and, in effect, told us that Divinity looked just like him — while he looked ordinarily human to everybody!” (3)
Rohr is saying what Viola is saying, what the Bible is saying, and what the incarnation is saying – that you are here to express the reality of Jesus BY BEING YOU. It’s as simple as that, and if you will embrace it you will live in the authority of Jesus and not as the scribes.
(1) Viola, Frank. From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God (p. 11). David C Cook. Kindle Edition. (2) Viola, Frank. Ibid (pp. 18-19). David C Cook. Kindle Edition. (3) Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (p. 69). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.