KINGDOM OF LIFE
JESUS IS LIFE. That life is the life of every human being. Jesus promotes Himself as the Undo-er of Lies, and the Over Comer of the theft of life. He declared Himself The Water of Life.
Jesus did not run a moral campaign. He offered us Himself and His life. He presented Himself to us as the way to fellowship with our Father and the life that belongs to the sons of God.
Jesus did not run a morality agenda yet He forgave sins with authority and declared Himself The Solution to the degradations brought on by the law of sin and death. If you are looking for a moral agenda in Jesus you will not find it in His ministry. But you will find life without limit - life that forgiving, that drives out all kinds of degradation, addictions and sin. Even then our fellowship with Him and the other members of the trinity does not depend on our degree of victory and perfection. It solely depends on His.
Jesus has authority to forgive, to impart spirit and life in the moment and for eternal life at the end of the journey. Jesus did not start a religion. He began a kingdom of life to the full. People turned what was meant to be the multiplication of Jesus in the Spirit into a religion. By 200 AD what had been meant to be life in the spirit of Jesus had morphed in to life in the church.
CASTING THE FIRST STONE
Much of the tumult of voices raised against homosexuality and marriage equality in Australia at present is not sourced in God. It’s more correct to say that it is sourced in a distorted view of God. Too much of this comes from judgment and condemnation. This comes from religion and a culture of the knowledge of good and evil – the Christianised version of it. Some of the condemnation comes from hate.
My remarks should not be taken to mean that I think sin is ok. There are behaviours that are perverse. They degrade people. But so does fornication and adultery, easy divorce, gluttony, private and corporate greed, the system of capitalism, the pollution of the planet with the excuse that it brings jobs and growth, the turning of a blind eye to the plight of refugees, rationalising negative gearing out of greed. Not to mention being complicit in choosing the incompetent leader we now have as president of the United States. Mr Trump got in with the support of sections of the Christian Church. But can we really believe that this support is based on the wisdom of God and the indwelling Spirit of Jesus? It tells us a lot about a distorted notion of the kingdom and what passes for Christianity in this season. Should we have any confidence that Believers would choose Jesus over Barabbas today!
‘They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!"’ John 18.40 NIV.
Little is more perverse than acting as a climate change denier and adopting this blindness so that we can do to the planet what we have been doing since the start of the industrial revolution: Killing it. Here we participate in the sins of theft, covetousness, and murder – not only of people in low lying areas but of the life-forms and the resources of the earth.
‘The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth’ Rev 11.18 NIV.
PHYSICIAN HEAL THY SELF
If we choose to live in judgment then we need to be aware that God will not excuse those who take His name in vain. He will destroy those who destroy the earth.
‘You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name’ Ex 20.7 NIV.
The fact is, that since Jesus and His cross - all belong. This is not universalism. It is what God achieved in Christ. All belong in the fellowship of God in Christ because separation has been nullified. As religion, Christianity can be distorted into a formula that ensures (we imagine) our entitlement to fellowship with God and eternal life. We can think we are entitled because we do the stuff. A lot of moralism has its source in a sense of entitlement instead of a life lived in union with Jesus. But the Kingdom never was about morals. The Kingdom is the life of Jesus writ large.
WHAT CHRISTIANS DID NEXT
Nevertheless, you are not possessed of a phobia if you think homosexuality is perverse. The word ‘Homo-phobic’ is an attempt to discredit and manipulate. You are motivated by a human revulsion that is both natural and spiritual. It does take a man and a woman to represent God to each other and to a child. This unity in diversity is modelled in the trinity. Of course this carries no weight with the non-believer or anyone who denies God from their knowledge.
As shocking as it may seem to some who have made a religion from Christianity, Jesus is not some new method of living from the knowledge of good and evil. The fact that so many think it is would have to explain why so much of Christianity as religion carries so little weight with non-believers. The fact is the Kingdom of God is not about religion at all. His Kingdom is not Christianity. His Kingdom is Christ’s life as yours, His life as ours, His life as the life of the world. We need to stop living in shadows and live in the reality that is Christ. Either Christ is our life or we are. One is the Kingdom of God. The other is a kingdom of this world.
Our task as Believers is to speak the truth with grace and be love and grace. Our calling as Believers is to assist all people to see that they belong in God and to encourage them to choose belongingness and life in Jesus. We need to help them get to chose BELONGING. The solution to degradation taught ‘as love’ is not political militancy and condemnation. It is the presentation of Jesus as the life of the world. The Kingdom is not a moral military action. It is Christ the life of the world. We may engage in plain speaking in love and grace, yet what is paramount is the fact that only Jesus is life. Jesus did not engage in a moral war. Neither should you.
‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ Rom 8.1 NIV.