REDUNDANT GOSPEL BE GONE
Years ago I learned in English class that redundant meant superfluous. We are living redundant religion if we live in an ongoing contract in which we tell ourselves that we are doing Christian Things to attain intimacy with God. But the fact is, we already have intimacy and have had it since Jesus cried on the cross. ‘It is finished!’ What is finished? Separation between us and God.
We don’t earn intimacy with God. Jesus earned it for us.
There’s a perverse aspect in religion that abhors grace. It comes from an addiction to entitlement of the kind born of earing self-worth to be worthy of Christ. There’s a perverse aspect to Christianity that make legalism out of the Christ who abolished it.
But to kill grace is to kill life. Our fellowship with God is a gift; we belong because God has woven Himself into our being. Paul was right when in the letter to the Philippians he called adding to Christ rubbish and dung.
The notion of ‘contract’ is derived from the old covenant and the core attitude of the tree of knowledge – earning god-likeness. The religious contract takes the form of ‘I will do this so that God will do that.’ The ‘that’ may be salvation, intimacy with God, spiritual gifts, protection from disease and prosperity. But the gifts of God is eternal life. I have known ‘bargainers’ to become upset with God when they have kept certain rules all their lives and either they or their wives get a foul disease. You can have peace and joy with God in every circumstance.
‘You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you’ Isa 26.3 NIV.
Train your-self to live where God has positioned you – in fellowship with the trinity.
YOU ARE IN THE ABSOLUTE MEASURE
Richard Rohr writes, “Those of us who claim to believe in God more often than not deny that “we are already his children” (1 John 3:1) and create arbitrary hoops to jump through—at which few fully succeed if they are honest. So my moral self, which is always in flux, becomes the measure, and we have again lost any Absolute Measure.
It seems the False Self would rather have very few “wins” than let God win with everybody.
This is my sad conclusion after a life time of working in many churches on many continents, and it is summed up in an often murdered text by most preachers and translators: “I am calling all of you, but so few of you allow yourselves to be chosen” (Matthew 22:14). (1)
ONENESS WITH LIFE
A moral self will never be the true self and not only because the morality cannot be maintained or attained. But because the basis of life is not morality but TRINITY. So God has made Christ our life. This is the same as saying God is our life, because He is. Real life is the communion of persons of which you are a part. You belong in God’s trinitarian life.
In the quest to make a godly self we will either persist with the pursuit because we are too afraid not too or make a righteousness so small that even cat could lie on it as a mat. Fundamentalism is good at this.
LAYERS OF INSULATION
Should we live from the law and religion we may exist as groups but not attain community in any depth. This is because our self effort is about ‘doing.’ But we have a Sabbath rest that our being in God.
Christ plus religion specialises in additions to Christ our life. As such it is a continuation of the lie that produced the fall.
In the law, a compartment of the knowledge of good and evil, we accumulate layers of religion between ourselves and God. We may think them meritorious but they suffocate the life of God.
The Father knows the son and the son knows the Father. With Jesus as our life this ‘knowing’ is ours. This is our intimacy with God, our communion and community with each other.
Righteousness, life, Godliness and community are a person and all summed up in the person of Jesus Christ who is the Door to our fellowship with the trinity. The self and genuine community is only ever real when Jesus is our life and we are only Godly when we are Him and the trinity is in us. With Jesus as our life we are us. We are Paul, John, Ingrid, Steve and Cynthia and in being so are sons and daughters of God.
‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self. SPCK. Kindle Edition.