EARLY STAGE RELIGION
Posts I have written recently are designed to open our minds to the possibility of possibility – possibility that is infinite in extent and subterranean in depth while soaring our vision into the heavenly realms of aspiration and accomplishment. We are talking sons of God as opposed to sons of the evil one in a field of tares. The latter are born from sub-gospels designed to subvert the accomplishments of the trinity for us; gospels that blur what has actually been achieved, subverting the revelation of God in Christ and shrinking the fullness of the sonship of humans in the Fatherhood of God.
Some time after the creation of Adam and Eve the human pair ‘fell’ into what has proved to be early stage religion – a state of being where spirituality is attempted in separation from God. This stage of growth was seen before the world began. We have reason to believe that rather than being a lack of foresight and a mistake it was part of the plan. Not that God designed it. But He utilised what we about to unfold for the greater revelation of the glory of God and the full-shining of man.
Provision was made for the well-being of humanity in the old covenant under the knowledge of good and evil. We might call this – following Richard Rohr - Early Stage Religion. Religion that was never meant to last but which was always to act as a prelude to the what was to follow – the linking of heaven to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. This is why Christ in you is the hope and the reality of glory and God seen in the law is not.
‘Living from the law with rules for this and rules against that is primitive religion. But it is not primitive Godliness.’
SEEING AND KNOWING THE KINGDOM
Living under the knowledge of good and evil in the realm of the law of sin and death was a disaster for Believers and a chaos for the non-believer. It still is. Most of the world has elected to ignore the Christ and the life offered in Him and much of Christianity has never operated in their inheritance – an inheritance that is alive, regenerating and glorious because it is the resurrection of the Christ and the resurrection of the creation in them.
The world was meant to rise with Jesus from the land of the shadow of death – from ‘early stage religion’ – into the fullness of the new creation that is Christ our life. Any church culture that does not dive headlong into new covenant reality not only denies itself the fullness of Jesus. It sustains the half-death and semi-life of the old creation in the name of God. In this mode we drag around a body of death while asserting to the sceptical non-believer that we have a corner on life. But what we have is certainly not life to the full. Nevertheless all is not lost. It never is with the Lord. Any end always has the potential for a new beginning. What new start could be more exciting and exhilarating than living in constant resurrection as a life-giver and life-giving spirit?
CHURCH OF THE REBORN
Much our early religious life has been imperfect. In some cases it has been an outright delusion. Jesus is telling us that new birth and progress into life without limit is dependent on our jettison of the old and the embrace of the new – of embracing life itself that is personal, transcendental and has a name: Jesus. Let’s be clear. If we are still paddling in the pool of the law we have not embraced Jesus as the One He is. We may have a lesser Jesus or a modified Jesus but our Jesus is not the Christ of God. But it is He who is the fullness of the God-head bodily who is our Lord and our life.
Richard Rohr writes, ‘Early-stage religion is largely preparing you for the immense gift of this burning, this inner experience of God as though creating a proper stable into
which the Christ can be born. Unfortunately, most people get so pre-occupied
with their stable, and whether their stable is better than your stable, or whether
their stable is the only .. stable, that they never get to the birth of God in the soul.’ There only ever was one stable. It is Christ in you!