Heard of the leopard? As much as some may think, you do not have the power to change your spots, which is to say you are incapable of dealing with your sin problem on two levels. We cannot ‘grace’ ourselves and let ourselves of the hook of our own culpability. Neither do we have the power to overcome or transform ourselves into the ideal self that so often eludes us. Jesus came to set all captives free. To live in this freedom many need to divest themselves of false gospels that bind us in our own efforts and separate us from the life of God.
One of these is ‘The Jesus’ atonement is incomplete so I must add a bit myself’ gospel, along with the other more common ‘try harder gospel.’ These are a fail on both counts. We cannot excuse ourselves and neither can we transform ourselves. But in Jesus we have both forgiveness and transformation. We are set free from the wages of sin by Life Himself. We are gifted His life to live in us and be our life. Jesus is for you, in you and as you.
‘Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ John 14.6 NIV.
‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your’ life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.3,4 NIV. This statement by Paul is the theme of the New Testament. It is the new covenant in spirit and in truth.
Jesus sets us free to be. To be you. We are liberated to be who we are as sons of God. He undoes our guilt and shame and He shares His life into our being. Both are the reality of our life in the Spirit. In Jesus our sins are expunged. In Jesus we have life that is not ours to indwell our being, as our life. This is the ultimate grace: The vicarious humanity of Jesus. In this miraculous paradox He is us and we are Him.
‘To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ Col 1.27 NIV.
But more than this, we are gifted our real identity. That mean, stingy and critical person is not the real you. There is a real you who was known before the creation of the world. This is the you whose design comes from the Template of The Son. It is the you that you are in the resurrection life of Jesus.
The real you, is not some ogre that is the product of original sin. This is not you because originally you were pure and glorious as a son of God. Your real nature is your design in Christ. Your true self is the original self that you have been redeemed into, in Christ! There is an alpha and omega in Jesus and an alpha and omega in you. What you were intended to be in Christ is what you are becoming in the Christ who lives in you! Well is that cool or what?!
‘I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them’ John 17.26 NIV.
The genius of God’s plan revealed in you is that you are not made into some religious card-board cut-out. You get to mature into the satisfaction of your real self! Your true self as a son of God and as the authentic revelation OF YOU!
Francois Du Toit writes, ‘The very nature that identified man as a sinner and a fallen creature is challenged in the gospel. If the gospel does not have what it takes to challenge that nature, then the gospel will remain a weak philosophy, no matter how positive it sounds. [This gospel] would remain wishful thinking, a wonderful dream, a cleverly devised myth that man entertains in his mind. We must discover an ingredient within the gospel that secures and reveals the ability of God to PERFORM ON MAN'S BEHALF, in order to release him from a foreign [ a sinner] identity that kept him captive all his life. A gospel that is infinitely more than a what you could become if you would follow the next ten moral steps.’
This gospel is the gospel of the Kingdom unadulterated by law-revisionism and religious jumping through hoops – this is a life that is Christ in you and as you from first to last. Each day you can walk in freedom and perfect innocence before God and with God. Because Christ is your life. Look into the face of Jesus and you will see our Father. Look again into the face of Jesus and you will see yourself. Take satisfaction in the fact that you yourself are an expression of the Father and the Son. You are filled with the Spirit of God.