Self-effort to be worthy of Christ or to keep close to Jesus is not the Gospel of Jesus and the apostles. It is a gospel of legalism however. A law frame distorts Jesus and stunts our spirituality. We can make a good job of religion in the law. But law/religion will not make us spiritual people. Oneness with God makes us spiritual people. All genuine spirituality is oneness with Christ.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20.
There is a kind of religion that makes you feel bad. If we are immature we may believe that our heavy feeling is a worthy expression of devotion. I remember falling into the trap myself and remarking after church that we didn’t hear many sermons about the Second Coming these days. Such sermons were seen to be important in the pantheon of Christian discipline – scaring you enough to do better as an ‘Over-comer’ - which you seldom were - or acting as some kind of booster that would help you ‘get ready’ for The Second Coming. All ‘knowledge of good and evil religion is about self-effort.
NOT GLUM ENOUGH
Jeff Turner tells of not feeling that he had heard a proper sermon if he did not leave the building with a renewed sense of guilt and a greater resolve to ‘measure up’. Sadly these notions slander God as well as being a parody of the Kingdom.
It reminds me of a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which a line of monks stalk about chanting and banging themselves on the head with paddle like lumps of wood. Perhaps our ‘Christian Life’ is not exactly like that - but truth be told it can be a bit like it. Richard Rohr remarks,
“Re-ligio(“rebinding, re-ligamenting”) is not doing its job if it only reminds you of your distance, your unworthiness, your sinfulness, and your inadequacy before God’s greatness. Whenever religion actually increases the gap, it becomes antireligion instead.” (1)
Not only that. To my mind religion is not spirituality. Spirituality grows spirituality. Our spirituality grows when the part of our being that is joined to God, however small, grows under the watering of the spirit of Christ.
ONENESS IS YOUR STARTING POINT
Other writers like Baxter Kruger have noted that much of what passes for Christianity assumes Believers are still separate from God so that their project is to overcome separation and have more of God. The fact is that all are one with God. Our task is to inform people of their inheritance – an inheritance that must be embraced and not left in the ground. This is ours when we believe it and embrace it.
The Believer and Father are one. We have the same kind of fellowship that Jesus has with His Father. Christ is in us and with us. We are never alone and always in the company of the trinity and indwelt by their community. Spirituality and Kingdom life is our living in this reality.
We live in the reality that we believe in. This is why we need to believe what God believes and not some other gospel or alternative narrative originating from doctrines of demons and sustaining itself as a cunningly devised fable. It’s likely that we have a false gospel if our gospel originated in the teachings of a false prophet.
(1)Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self . SPCK. Kindle Edition. A