As persons we can grow into our own glory hidden in Christ is our life. Or we can stagnate and shrink because religion is our life. If our spirit is seated in the law religion is our life no matter what we might say. Christ did not come to shroud you with an abstraction. He is in you now to express you – as Himself. You are not in religion if Christ is your life because you are an expression of God – a son/daughter.
The shining of sons is not an excellent living of Christianity. It is being an expression of the Jesus called Jane or Bob.
We can live a life of unrealised hopes for our faith community or a life of increasing inertia leading to stagnation. If ever there was a core truth that parallels the incarnation it is this: ‘Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them." This is the reason why some recede as persons before our eyes and some grow as sons with very little effort.
WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE
Truth is life and life and truth are God. When the Son of God came as a man He came as this life and this truth. When Christ is our life we are a true man and a true woman. We are sons of God in spirit and in truth. A faith community of sons and daughters in spirit and in truth are the Kingdom of God in their community.
We can live in the Light of the World or attempt to persuade Him to our own ‘light.’
There is truth that is without us and within us at the same time. If we are not willing to abandon our ‘own truth’; to step beyond what we know - we will eventually lose our lives and lose ourselves - circling the mulberry bush in an endless loop and progressing into increasing irrelevance. This is the life of one who has never found herself because she was not willing to die to self and all that she called ‘hers.’
‘If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it’ Matt 16.25 NLT.
THE DIEING SELF
Speaking of this futility Richard Rohr writes, “We give up eventually—or do not even try—to seek this truth and instead retreat into ourselves, as if to say, “I alone will be my reference point.” It is the most common problem of individualism and egocentricity. I think they go together. We split and retreat into ourselves, but we invariably go to our ego (small self, the False Self) because that is all we know about. It is the common default position, even if it is largely unconscious.” (1)
Richard is saying that relentless adherence to a religious perspective, the promotion of a distinct denominational view point can be an attempt to maintain the self and an identity we have made for ourselves. But it is inevitable unsatisfying because it is the construction and maintenance of a false self and a false identity. It cannot be shaken off until we die to it. But when we do we are born again and have become the real self that was foreseen at creation and is the purpose of redemption.
‘Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me’ MATT 10.37 NIV.
False doctrine and the false self are a pair who walk in the companionship of illusion. The false self is just as much a figment as the false life. Capitalism is a false life producing false selves by the million as does religion. The latter produces false selves that consist of externalities. They originate from a false god and bad teaching. The only teaching that is any good is that Christ is your life; that Christ is you and the fact that Christ is us. Notice that Christ come in our flesh is the touchstone of Kingdom life and that ‘the law come in flesh’ is both flesh and death to the spirit.
‘Christ come in our flesh’ is real gospel, real life and real self. This is the new covenant in spirit and in truth: Jesus as you. We have not made it into reality until we have moved from the new covenant to the new, until we have leapt from our coma of religion into the moving train of the unlimited life that is God with us and in us.
Here's the thing: Unless Christ is our life we are not us. If Christ is our life we will become more than we ever imagined. We will be sons not notionally but sons and daughters in spirit and in truth.
LIVING TREE/DEAD TREE
If we would become trees of life instead of wearing out the ground around our personal mulberry bush, we need the Gospel of the Kingdom – the gospel of Jesus, Paul and John and not some modified gospel that is actually a hallucination. So what is the real gospel?
“The message of the Gospel .. is that Jesus Christ embodies in his human actuality the personal presence and activity of God. In him God has really become man, become what we are, and so lives and acts, God though he is, ‘as man for us’ (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν). Only Cod can save, but he saves precisely as man – Jesus Christ is God’s act, God acting personally and immediately as man in and through him, and thus at once in a divine and in a human manner (θεϊκῶς and ἀνθρωπίνως).” (1) This Christ live in you and becomes you.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self . SPCK. Kindle Edition.
(2) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 149). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.