“In the ultimate analysis, however, we must learn from God himself what we are to think of him, for ‘God cannot be apprehended except through himself.’ This is to say that God and ourselves and relationship to God must be known through God. We are talking here of the Jesus lens which is the Christ of God and the gospel of the Kingdom.” (1) *
This is to say that we know God through God. Never through the law or religion. To do so is to live from idolatry. God is revealed to self and the world through Jesus Christ.
If we have been socialised in a legalist-fundamentalist mindset, we might imagine truth to be a linear statement like ‘sin is the transgression of the law.’ If we have been fortunate to see truth as relational it will be more obvious to us that sin contradicts the law of the spirit of life. It does so because it results from the undoing of the unity of ‘being’ that exists between God and the sons of God.
Any mode of belief or gospel that varies from the gospel of Jesus and the apostles separates us from God and debilitates our humanity.
In separation from God we cannot know the truth as it is, on account of the fact that the truth of God is known only when we are in union with God. Information held in separation from God is the knowledge of good and evil – a knowledge that is lifeless. This is the deceit of the law.
A DISTORTION OF BEING
Thus sin can better be defined as ‘Sin is the effect of separation from God.’ The effect is life as a slave instead of life as a son, separation from the self and from others, a degraded self and ultimately death. This is why Jesus invitation is ‘Come to Me all who are burdened with misery and confusion’ and ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10 NIV.
The truth about life is found as we relate to God in the person of Jesus. Being truly alive is found in Christ our life.
There are things that appear to be ‘truth’ that are not true if we are not living in God. Propositions asserted in separation from God – that are notionally true - are made in the context of the knowledge of good and evil are not spiritually true and actually a lie. A ‘gospel’ that posits Jesus as the Upholder of the Law is a lie factually and a lie spiritually.
Our salvation in Christ is not only that He is the way to God. He is the truth about God and as the logos Jesus is the truth about everything. This truth about everything is ‘The law of the spirit of life’ that describes the living way in which all things hang together and have their purpose in Jesus. Thus Jesus is not only the way and the life. He is the truth about life.
Spiritual truth is only truth when it perceived in union with God. Always blurred and distorted under the lens of the knowledge of good and evil.
LETTER AND SPIRIT
Thus we can declare that salvation has been achieved for all. It belongs to all and everyone belongs to God. But not everyone assents to their belonging, embraces the life offered or the new and living way of Jesus Christ who makes it ours.
Even Christians may possess perverse and shoddy representations of Jesus and the gospel that are products of the Enemy’s factory of lies.
Christ’s life is our life in fullness when our Christ is the Christ of God and when our gospel is His gospel of the Kingdom – not when what is offered is a false christ or another gospel. This is to say that what we believe is the reality we create for ourselves. If God has given us a new covenant with all its advantages and we choose to live in the old covenant we have chosen sub-normal over God’s normal.
We can enter eternal life when living in error yet be stifled in living this life in the Body because we believed a lie. This is why Jesus urges, ‘Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.’ Matt 13.12 NIV.
BELIEVING THE TRUTH
‘But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth’ 2 Thess 2.13 NIV.
Truth is relational and spiritual. Truth is not linear and is usually paradoxical. It is a state of being one with God. For example,
“I will offer a simple definition of how I understand paradox: a paradox is something that initially appears to be inconsistent or contradictory, but might not be a contradiction at all inside of a different frame or seen with a different eye. [Christ’s] main task [is] to give us that eye for paradox and mystery, which the above passage from the Book of Wisdom calls "one." Wisdom sees things all at once and does not divide the field.” (2)
This kind of wisdom is a lens that enables us to see apparent contradictions in a greater unity. For example. The contention that all believers belong to the body of Christ is based on the premise that these Believers have believed Christ’s gospel and not some variation of their own. Paul defines ‘other gospels’ as ‘no gospel at all’ while Jesus describes those who grow in the soil of these distortions as tares ( sons of the father of lies).
Since the atonement of the cross everyone belongs. If they choose to. Thus Jesus issues the invitation to come and join Him in His life. We must say ‘yes’ to participate in His life. All who believe Jesus belong. But some have more belonging that others. More because they have embraced Jesus’ Gospel and that of the apostles. They have the mind of Christ rather than their own distorted mind and its misleading reality.
DEGREES OF BELONGING
Belonging that is full and complete, is a state of being (one with God) that is ours when we believe that we and Father are one. Only notionally ours if we see ourselves as children of the law – Children of the slave woman - still bound in separation from God and in slavery to religion in our minds because we live from a lie.
The nature of this lie is a form of christianity that is a post cross version of the knowledge of good and evil – the regime that we have been delivered from. The mission to set the captives free in this Age often takes the form of setting Believers free from this sub-christian kind of christianity.
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free’ Luke 4.18 NIV.
NO SEPARATION IN CHRIST JESUS
The deceit of half-gospels is the assumption of separation that we are separated from God.
The hidden curriculum of significant portions of Christianity implies that we are separated from God and that religion is the art of overcoming this separation from Jesus.
Many contemporary worship services and the songs that go with them, assume this and some churches even include it in their mission statement.*
People often urge us to ‘keep close to Jesus’ when in fact Jesus is in you and part of you. The question ‘What would Jesus do?’ is redundant when Christ is in us and living as us because in this oneness what Jesus would do is what we are doing.
In Christ you are one with God now. By believing this – which is to obey Jesus’ command to receive Him and His teaching we participate in His life and His fellowship with God.
‘Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.23 NIV.
A fulsome love of God is seen in obeying His teaching, not making an identity out of some variation that is our own teaching. The result of this obedience is to be incarnated with the trinity.
HALL OF GRACE
When Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’ He declared the end of our separation from God in our hearts and in reality. In Christ you belong. He is the surety of your relationship even with Himself as well as the reality of your inclusion in the Holy Family of the trinity and the sons and daughters of God.
The grace of God in Christ enfolds us even if our theology is wonky and our version of Christianity a humbug. But grace is an invitation to participate in the unlimited life that is Christ our life. It’s never an excuse to immunise ourselves against the truth. Why live a life with the turkeys and goats in the goods car at the rear of the train when you can live as sons of God with Jesus your life in first class at the front of the train?
As in ‘Stairway.’ Jesus is the one stairway to life without limit.
*This is why God cannot be known through the abstraction of the law. And neither can you.
(1) Rohr R The Naked Now, p 145.
(2) Torrance, Thomas F. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 21). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.