The non-believer might be excused for thinking that Christianity is mainly about social control, middle class values and inhibition. Indeed, the more fervent of the religious can seem pleased when Christianity can be made to appear as not really to do with life – at least not the pleasures of life.
Was this why some devout religionist wrote a letter to the editor in a church paper complaining about the selling of Coca-Cola in church as a great carnality or why a fundamentalist parent took offence when a teen-ager prayed to Jesus about the joys of life in the sun and the surf? The reader might think there are not many like that. I say there are quite a few like that and they are like this because, for many Believers religion is mainly about some kind of constraint. Their religion is about separation from God and a fixation with sin – which is a great curiosity when Jesus presented Himself as the way to LIFE and as LIFE HIMSELF.
Leanne Payne writes, “I am personally grateful that the circumstances of my early adult life, though extremely painful at the time, brought me to the place of seeking the face of the Lord with all my heart. In the midst of great personal need, I found the Healing Presence of Christ.” (1)
Prioritising Jesus’ face over the faces of others no matter how highly esteemed is the way of light and life.
If our ministry is contained in promoting our own ideas, inherited ideas or pumping up the fortunes of our ministry or sect and we have persuade ourselves that we are doing this for Christ, we will be unable to see clearly and will have prevented ourselves from capturing the vision of Christ and His Gospel. We will not experience any depth of healing in our inner person and our spiritual discernment will be blurry and confused.
Christ is our life and Christ is our eyes.
Jesus Christ is not about sin-management. He is life and presents Himself to you as your life and the life of the world.
CAUSES OF SIN
Many heresies and diluted gospel that degrade our being arise from SEPARATION real and imagined. Satan’s plan was to separate humanity from God and he seemingly succeeded. Except that the enterprise of God had foreseen the problem and put in place a new and living way by which the human race would enter a more complete union with God than we had before the fall.
FUTILITY AS RELIGION
Satan continues this deception post cross by seeding into human minds the misguided belief that we must strive to attain the union with God that is already ours.
Sin causes degradation, dulls the spirit and binds the human soul. But sin is not caused by sin. Its’ cause is separation from God and the estranged human’s penchant to make up his or her own version of good and evil – and his own version of god. The many perverse behaviours we know as sin are caused by separation from God. So Jesus offers Himself as our union with God.
Jesus never offers ‘Not Sinning’ as a solution to sin’s degrading effect. He offers Himself and union with God to us as a gift. Jesus’ sermons contain no rants against sins. But they do contain warnings about ignoring Him and the union with God that He is for us.
Arguably, persistence in a version of Christianity whose basis is separation from God is a more disastrous sin than many of the sins that Christians obsess about.
Jesus offered Himself in more ways than one. He offers us forgiveness as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. But His offer of life to the full takes priority over even this. Because He represents access to God’s life. He is life Himself and He is the Light that eliminates every kind of misguided living.
Jesus has reconciled us to God. He lives for us to draw us into this reconciliation. He lives within us so that we will know God and be reconciled to God in our hearts. He lives in the church so that His life will be multiplied in us as the new creation. His life shines from us so that it will be seen by all that Jesus is the Way Home for prodigal humanity. Baxter Kruger writes,
“Reconciliation is not about punishment. Reconciliation is about the Father reaching us in His Son in the Spirit. It is about the Son crossing all the worlds of our confusion to establish a real relationship with us inside our darkness, so that our fallen minds can be converted and we can know the Father and live.” (2)
‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation’ 2 COR 5.18,19.