Recently in The Age Newspaper I read of a condition where people are unable to recognise the person that goes with a face. What they see is a face - but the ‘who’ of that face eludes them. It reminded me of a similar mental condition called agnosia. brought to fame by Oliver Sacks in his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. But agnosia is more than mistaken identity like thinking a person is a pair of sunglasses or a lap-top. Agnosia is the inability to form the correct and meaningful whole out of collection of sensory data.
‘The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit’ 1 Cor 2.14 NIV. One cannot make sense of our extravagant inheritance in law or religion. Life in the Spirit is the paradigm of union. Life in the religion is the paradigm of separation. Separation is the great darkness.
But in Jesus is life and that life is the light of all. The hurly-burly of life has meaning according to the relationship of the parts. We acquire meaning when we see patterns that we discern on the basis that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is Paul’s point in his statement, ‘In Him we live, move and have our being.’ God is the hub from which relationship and meaning flows. Thus the Christ is described at the start of John’s gospel as the logos – the one that Paul declares is not only the One in which all that exists finds its meaning and purpose. He literally holds the creation together.
If the church is our life we will busy ourselves in trying to bring about revival by some new configuration of the church. But we will fail. We may even commit the folly of exchanging one kind of God-empty box for empty boxes another kind. I’m referring to formulas and configurations that lack the anointing of Holy Spirit because they are not the fruit of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Neither do they possess the authority to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons – even though such authority is already their inheritance. So they settle for multiplying institutions.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ John 15.5 NIV.
Avoid being entangled in other people’s Ishmael's. Anything not the effect of the Reality that is CHRIST IN YOU will end in confusion. We will impose right meaning on all that is about us when Christ is our life and we alive in the Spirit. If law and performance is our life, we will engage in a game of trivial pursuit and think we are pleasing God. This is our plight when we live in shadows instead of the reality that is Christ.
The glasses that provide the correct interpretation of the Bible and its meaning for all are Jesus and His new covenant provision. This provision is that we have been drawn in to the life of our Father and that the trinity lives in us. God is not somewhere else. We are not living in separation. Christ in us is His glory and ours. We are the agents of His new creation.
If we have a distorted version of Christ and His salvation our powers of perception will be confused and our interpretation of the reality Jesus has created will be mistaken. This is why we must live out of Jesus and our life in God rather than in the complex activity of our daily chores in the hope that we will end up getting to God. We are already in Him. Another way of saying this is to say that we must live in Jesus instead of living in the law; we must live in God instead of in the knowledge of good and evil and live from the wholeness of the trinity rather than from the fragmentation and compartmentalisation of rules and belief systems. We either live, move and have our being in Jesus or we live in confusion, stagnation and futility that we call ‘godliness.’
‘Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children’ Gal 4.25 NIV.
You were made to be yourself, to be autonomous and to live in community. Your womb was the Holy Family. You came from God and you live towards God. In so doing you are fully yourself – alive in spirit and truth. You bring Our Father glory by being yourself and nourish others in the life of God to be themselves. You are a son of God. But here’s a thing – live from religion and you will live in a fog and be a ghost of your real self. Live punctiliously from the law and you will live in triviality and delusion – convinced you are honouring God but dishonouring who He has redeemed you to be: A son of God.
When Christ is our life we are informed by the Spirit of Wisdom and revelation. If the law is our life we are a barren field.
A speaker came to a conference we ran once. He told folks that in the new testament the law is the teaching of Jesus and the new testament values. He was wrong about that. There is no law in the new testament age. But there is Christ as your life; the Christ incarnated in your being and manifest as your soul, your persona and your daily doings. Not a law at all but a person imparted to you – called the law of the spirit of life by Paul who also said the letter kills. The law of the Spirit of Life is not Moses laws or Christian principles. It is Christ your life –the trinity manifest as you in yourself and as the church.
Life is found in the face of our Father and in knowing our own face. To define oneself as a commandment keeper is to depersonalise the self and lose sight of our face because we have clouded it with abstractions. To live from rules and positions is to SUBTRACT spirit and life from our being and redefine ourselves as less than human. Law adherents are not dead-beats but they are dead in their spirit and soul.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
If Christ is not our light we will constantly be amiss in our conception of God and the imagining of ourselves. We will un-god God and dehumanise ourselves in the name of religion. You are more than an adherent of Christianity. We are not gods but we are God-like. We are sons of God. You are the manifestation of Christ! In Christ we are always more than we think. Like the TARDIS we are bigger on the inside than the outside. When Christ is our life we are wrapped in infinity and imbued with the spirit of life without limit. We are the glory of God in the Spirit of Christ.