There are Gospels and ‘gospels’. There are Gospels like Paul’s that expose the simplicity of Christ for us. There are gospels that expose original truths, truths that have been lost or truths that have never been fully grasped. Then there are gospels of negative holiness, that legitimise disguised forms of godlessness. Or gospels that make our inheritance in Christ more complicated than it is and which are actually christianised forms of the knowledge of good and evil.
We do ourselves a favour when we position ourselves to see well enough to possess ‘this Gospel of the Kingdom’ and reject aberrations and dilutions that pose as life when they are actually death. Real life is not possessed by the lazy, the passive or the smug.
What is the glory of the risen Christ? It is the glory of His daughters and sons becoming who they are in their identity and destiny. When Christ is our life, we grow continually into our real self. If law and religious conformity is our life we live in a false self and a real self is never achieved – not in this life. There is nothing sadder than a muted self – a self-unrealised, because we adopted a gospel that was a lesser gospel than the Gospel of Jesus and Paul.
To see Jesus is to see the Father. Seeing Jesus as Jesus is, is knowing God as God is. There is no ‘other God’ behind Jesus. The Jesus who lived as Himself as a man and the son of God in Palestine is God in fullness. There is no abstraction like the law that is some kind of a ‘god shadow’ that is the real Christ. The entire essence of God is Jesus Christ.
Think for a moment about Who Jesus is. Jesus is the divine Son of God. Jesus is the human son of Mary. Jesus is both fully God and fully human. In him, God and humanity “meet” together in love, peace and harmony. In other words, in the person that we call Jesus Christ, God and humanity are reconciled.” (1)
You are reconciled to God in Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ you possess Jesus’ oneness with His Father and our father. Jesus is active in our lives. He has taken steps to reconcile us by His atoning cross, made us one with Himself by the Spirit in the incarnation and woven us into God in the person of Himself. God has taken steps to you in Jesus. Your life in God is not about you taking steps to Christ. It’s about us agreeing with Christ that He has drawn us into His life and our living from that place.
Such reconciliation is infinite and complete. The reconciliation makes notional sons/daughters of God sons in spirit and in truth. We are joined by God to God.
Sin is not trusting God. Sin multiplies as the result of separation from God. Yet our Gospel is not a gospel of berating sinners. Pastors and others who do this are not representing the gospel of the Kingdom. God’s Kingdom is not moralism. It is Jesus Christ. A gospel that is not Christ our life is at best a dilution and at worst a cunningly devised fable.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him’ John 3:16, 17.
‘Not to judge the world.’ Sadly, for some, what passes for Christianity is ‘judging.’ Yet there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. The cool thing is Jesus does not condemn yet comes to us to forgive our sin and undo its hold over our lives. Even then, the truth of His Gospel is not about how successful we have been in joining with Him to overcome our sins. The essence of His Kingdom of grace is that we are included in the Fellowship of the trinity and that we belong in the Family of God.
‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ ROM 8.1 NIV.
(1) Davis, Martin M.. The Christian Doctrine of God . AsiAfrica Ministries, Inc.. Kindle Edition.