“Christ on a certain occasion discoursing with the Jews said, ‘Except ye eat My flesh and drink My blood, ye have no life in you. They not having heard His saying in a spiritual sense were offended, and went back, supposing that He was inviting them to eat flesh.” (1)
If we are not discerning, we can make the same mistake today. When we reject Christ our life as being insufficient as compared to the law our life, we make the same mistake as these Jews. Their tradition and law-keeping was more important to them than the new and living way of Jesus incarnated in people.
Jesus needs no additives. Reject the lie that you and Jesus are not enough. It's a risky business to be casual about your beliefs. We can unwittingly be harbingers of death in the delusion that we are life. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life because He is. Paul announced Christ as our life for the same reason and because His life in all of us is the new creation.
The new creation emerges from Christ in us. Never from the law or from religion.
God tells us there is one mediator between humans and God. The man who is God, the Son of man and the Christ of God. This Jesus lives in you as does Holy Spirit and our Father. So there's no need to look for mediators and go-betweens in edgy churches or celebrity pastors. In Christ you have been enfolded in God.
‘For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus’ 1 Tim 2.5 NIV.
Neither you or any prophet or denomination are at liberty to alter the One Way of life. Yet you represent the diversity of new creation living. But only in the branches of His vine. Don't presume to make your own vine and expect to be a channel of spirit and life. Don't expect that you can live from a human mediator and be a river of life. You and Father are one. You are called to manifest Jesus in yourself and your activities. Together we manifest his fullness as the community of the church and the rock that fills the entire earth.
FLESH AND SPIRIT COLLAPSE
‘Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth’ Dan 2.35 NIV.
LIFE-GIVERS AND CONSUMERS
A church filled with 800 religious consumers is quite a different thing to a church filled with 800 people for whom Christ is life. One lives in dependency and the other in fruitfulness. You'd be surprised how many people erroneously imagine the need to get some prayer warrior to pray for a family need when they are effective and powerful themselves. Those who have spiritual authority, do so because they practice it. Not because they have something that is not available to others.
UNION WITH GOD IS YOURS IN CHRIST
Choosing a different way to the living way of Christ your life, is equivalent to crucifying the son of God anew. We have no right to a perspective that differs from that of Jesus and the apostles. The new and living way is the new covenant in spirit and in truth. This is the only way. It is the vicarious humanity of Jesus for you and for those astute and diligent enough to choose Him over religion. It is the inheritance of all who are careful and diligent enough to embrace what God has done instead of received myths, religious veils, common ignorance and institutional product. It's Jesus who is life - not institutionalism or any pious motions that are not Jesus Himself.
‘And who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace’ Heb 6.6 NIV.
ROOTED IN UNION
Just as there is no life in the law, neo-Judaism and old covenant separationism taught as the gospel, so there is no life in the gifts, Holy Spirit talk and charismata when not part of the whole that is we and Father are one. Such things start with a bang and end in a whimper. Even when accompanied by razzmatazz there is never more than a few drops of spirit and life and when these evaporate the branches die because they are disconnected to the vine.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ John 15.5 NIV.
Speaking of well-doing, Paul said, 'Against such there is no law because such well-doing is the effect of His life as ours. We benefit from more than a series of gifts. We are not peasants with a bucket of diamonds. We are in the flow of His person, His spirit and life. Hidden in Father we are revealed as ourselves – as spiritual beings with supernatural authority. Fellowshipping in Christ we fellowship with Father and Holy Spirit and are channels of His spirit and life. We are the fruit of the incarnation.
SUBSTANCE OR VAPOUR
Captivity in false doctrine can be the result of socialisation, spiritual blindness or laziness. A passive, lazy or casual attitude to sound doctrine makes us vulnerable to other people's errors and other people's Ishmael's. It says to Jesus, ‘I don't value what you did for me enough to examine what I have been taught or have absorbed since childhood.’ It implies that we are willing to accommodate ourselves to peninsulas of Adamic death that remain in the ocean of Christ's new covenant life. If we are in performance we are in the law. If in the law we are in Moses and if in Moses we are in Adam. If in Adam we are dead men walking.
‘For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive’ 1 Cor 15.22 NIV.
Sure, we can plod along in what we have always believed unaware that we are dragging around bits of the carcass of this body of death. Or we are living entirely in a delusion of the kind that negates the accomplishments of God. Paul is clear when he asserts that if attached to the law, then as far as we are concerned Christ died for nothing.
We can be untroubled that we are ‘sat on’ and suffocated by the elephant in the room because we live in such religious blindness that the elephant does not appear. The elephant that Christ, as far as we are concerned, died for nothing because we have been betrayed into living from the law. Died for nothing because we have concocted our own Christ and our own gospel while burying the gospel of the Kingdom in the ground. Buried because we have made him to be a bad man and cannot abide the simplicity of His radical life in the Spirit or receive Jesus totally as our life.
‘Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you’ Matt 25.24,25.
The good news is that we as gold hoarders will go to heaven. The bad news is that we cannot be fully alive, cannot minster life without limit and are unable to bring heaven to earth in the present because we have chosen to remain one with ‘this body of death.’
(1) Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzen The Catechetical Lectures of S. Cyril. On the Mysteries. IV: On the Body and Blood of Christ.