IN FAVOUR OF LIFE TO THE FULL
There are politicians who think austerity is good for the economy but not of course for them. Parliamentary figures with a mean view of life and a fixation on the past have more in common with certain styles of religion than is realised. In my youth I read a book by a person who advocated a scarcity gospel, a limited atonement and try harder mentality.
This author made christ our salvation but a christ that we were mainly responsible for cultivating and a salvation in which we were mainly responsible for forging our own links of union with God. False christ’s are more subtle than we have thought.
Even today, well intentioned people utter slogans like ‘keeping close to Jesus’ as if we are any more successful at this than the Jews were at keeping the law. It is actually just another kind of law. The fact is that you are in Jesus and Jesus is in you. This is the achievement of the cross and the fact of the incarnation. It’s yours. Just rest in it.
The real gospel of the Kingdom is always more generous than we could have imagined. God’s enthusiasm for us is huge and His new creation plan is radical grace. But a summary of the book I read was, ‘They should have tried harder.’ Quite the opposite of His Gospel with its light burden and restful message that He stands in place of us and manifests through George and Mary.
There’s a reason why Jesus was crucified. At its core religion is anti-life.
Nevertheless, some do not like grace or incarnation. Radical grace undermines the entitlement some think is theirs for touting some religious icon or ‘trying hard’ in a bid to earn the ‘respect’ of god. Incarnation eliminates the old covenant out of which they have made a religious career and a life. Never mind that this ‘righteousness’ is so constricted that it leaves most of life out.
For examples of moralism we might focus on the ‘sinfulness’ of sex and conveniently dismiss greed, dishonesty in paying taxes, our unkindness to spouses and family, the basic injustices of capitalism, the killing of the earth in the name of jobs and progress and the need to make a real effort to halt climate change. Rites, routines and postures are of scant effect in the new testament age. What counts is a new creation that results from Christ our life.
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV.
GODLINESS IS CHRIST AS US
Jesus urged all to come to Him to receive life. He published no lists of sins and righteous acts. He presented Himself as life itself. God never began a war against sins. Not initially. Sin abates under the influence of LIFE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS PERSONIFIED IN JESUS.
But that’s not all. Sin and death are driven out by the joining of humanity to God. ‘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. The life of God grows within us. It also surrounds us because the Spirit of Christ is in us and with us.
Heaven’s life came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. His life is expressed as you when we embrace Him as our life. Jesus is the real us. His relationship with us is more than about the forgiveness of sins – which is important for our sense of freedom and belonging.
His relationship with us is about us coming into OUR GLORY as the persons we were designed to be. Your glory is to break out of the encrustations of the world and religion and live in LIFE ITSELF.
With Jesus as our life we are sons/daughters of God. This does not make us religious freaks. We are transformed into robust and glorious versions of ourselves. The trouble with the law-based person is that he never gets to be himself, is not alive in spirit and life and goes through life with the spiritual discernment of a marrow. He thinks he gets some status from his religion but cannot see that he is far less than he esteems himself to be.
‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.1-4.
IN RESURRECTION LIFE
You are in Christ and with Christ. His Spirit is expressed as you. Imagine yourself resurrected with Jesus because you are. Christ has appeared at His resurrection. The risen Jesus represents every human being. You have appeared in Him. Jesus is your life in every way and by agreeing that He is, you grow into a replica of Him – all the while ling in the freedom of His forgiveness and grace. In this age Christ appears by incarnation in you.
God has presented His Son as the Way to life and that life itself. Christ our life means Jesus is in all things in place of us. It also means that He is incarnated into our being so that His Spirit manifests as Bob and Mary. God has made a covenant with humanity that is Christ in you and you in Christ. He urged that we embrace this in the words, ‘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. Those who have realized such become sons of God. Those who dismiss this remain sons of the slave woman. They are sons of God notionally but not in spirit and in truth. The reality of the Kingdom of spirit and life is found in the new covenant – that is no more and no less than Christ our life.
NEW AND LIVING WAY
“Unlike previous covenants made between God and his people, the brilliance on the part of God with the New is that he would make it with someone besides you and me. [It’s made with the trinity]. If there is one thing I could suggest that you keep on your mental shelf for easy access, it is that Jesus Christ is our guarantee, not our attempts at obedience, performance, or effort.” (1)
Jesus is our guarantee. Nor try harderism. Or keeping close to Jesus. You have no more chance of doing this well as the Jews has in keeping the law.
ONENESS IS YOU
We are not separated from God. We are in union with Him. Jesus is our life in every way. His life with Father and Holy Spirit is our life. His righteousness is graced as our righteousness. His knowledge of Father is our knowledge. As Jesus and Father are one so we and Father are now one. The trinity live in us and share their nature into our being. Their joyful fellowship with each other becomes our fellowship. Nothing can separate you from this fellowship with God.
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee (Kindle Locations 352-355). Kindle Edition.