Yesterday a Godly woman observed to me that thousands live in the routine of Christianity with no experience of Jesus as a person. The non-believing believer takes offence at these observations. They label them judgmental. Yet if not confronted by this truth, they will miss out on living as sons and daughters of God in the present and of eternal life in the future.
So what are we living from ? Is Jesus our life or is religion our routine? Leanne Payne observes that humanity is driven to erect a structure of morality and then attempt to live from it. She is describing our existence in the knowledge of good and evil. This is a separated life where we live in the parts when we could be living in the whole. She perceives that this constructed morality can take on a life of its own. ‘What I should be doing’ rises above us to tyrannise and suffocate our being. The effort robs us of spirit and life in the name of ‘the good.’ Although not explicit, her book Real Presence is about abandoning our life in Adam to be alive in Jesus.
‘For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring’ Acts 17.28 NIV. This is as close to a concise definition of the new covenant and the vicarious humanity of Jesus as one can get.
We were made to live in God. In Jesus we live, move and have our being in the trinity. In Christ you are the manifestation of God. You are sons!
Exposed to the glory of God we mature into the glory of ourselves. With Father and with ourselves our glory is seen in being who we really are. This is our new covenant life that has overcome the separation that Adam began. We are rebirthed into the trinity –not only is Christ our life. We are alive in God. Not stagnated in abstractions. In the new covenant, we live in God and He in us. We become Holy as He is holy because His life is our life. We are whole because we are alive in His wholeness. We are sons.
Jesus came among us to reveal the Father. He was the manifestation of Father. One with Jesus today we are both the manifestation of our Father as true sons and the multiplication of Jesus as the church.
Christ rose again to manifest in us and as us. This is why we need to abandon false, retrograde gospels of the law come in the flesh in the person of Christ. This idea is a massive perversion of the gospel. Jesus did not uphold the law. He manifested His Father. Jesus was one with His Father and revealed His Father. He also revealed us as ‘sons.’ There’s no law-mongering christ for us to follow. Christ came as a human being in the flesh so that you can live in His Spirit in God. His Spirit has come in your flesh. You are more than a burning bush. You are a son exuding His spirit and life!
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
We are done with contrived piety and irritating religiosity. Our religion of ‘Not Sinning’ is over and our ‘life in the fullness of life’ has begun. It’s called life without limit. Christ Himself is our life. Now we can be Godly in spirit and in truth because He is in us, with us and His spirit-life pervades our being.
We are sons of God living in the spirit of sonship. The new creation way is simple and profound. The fullness of Christ is revealed in those who receive Him – who receive Him as His life incarnated in theirs. But we can live in the husk and miss the essence. The spirit of anti-christ would dumb down Jesus and cripple us by getting us to live in Jesus’ stuff rather than in Jesus and by contriving separation when have union.
Beware movements that seek to improve on what Father has given us by neutralising the cross and reverting to law. This seems disciplined and reforming but is anything but. It denies the achievement of heaven for us – denies Christ come in our flesh, Christ manifesting as us. This turns able-bodied sons into invalids and cripples. We are diminished and the Kingdom stymied. Have nothing to do with this kind of religion.
Two hundred years after the ascension, what was meant to be Christ manifest as people had become Christ supposedly manifest as the institution of the church. The letter had swallowed the spirit. What began in the Spirit to be the new creation ended in the letter that kills. In the letter we designate as sacred what is not sacred and discard the spirit that would have been our life. The flesh come in the flesh is the spirit of anti-christ.
‘But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, [come in the flesh] that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here’ 1 John 4.3 NLT.
It maybe thought that we have been rid of the worst stagnation of Catholicism. But we need not dig too deep to find the common assumption that the institutional church is the mediator of Christ and that some of its celebrities are the voice of God. Indeed some do speak for God but they are not captives of institutionalism. Neither do they presume that their church is a stairway to God or to heaven.
Religious consumers try to see God through personalities and structures, even though all of us have been given Christ eyes to see and Christ eyes to hear. We see accurately through the Jesus Lens. Alive in the living word we are sharp in discernment and the ability to separate spirit from flesh and Kingdom from religion. We have the eyes of Christ.
The great truth of the new testament age is the incarnation of the trinity in all who believe. The power of the church is Jesus multiplied in the life of every Believer. This is how His Kingdom comes and the new creation advances. Richard Rohr writes of the need of sharp vision, "Unfortunately, even if we have once seen, we lose our full vision repeatedly. It is hard to awake even after having been once awakened. That's why we keep going back to the well to wash our eyes. We need to refresh our seeing. We forget. We start clinging and protecting. Unless there is a readiness to let go, we will not see the vision of the whole again. God cannot be seen through such a small and dirty lens." We need to let go of assumptions that do not lead to life because they have no life. God is Himself. Not in things, institutions, practices and hallowed habits. Yet He is in us and we enjoy His life simply by acknowledging Him, allowing Him to be Lord and aligning ourselves with the fact of His incarnation in us. God cannot be seen through the knowledge of good and evil, the law, religion or Churchianity. But He is seen and known through Jesus and those for whom, He personally is life. This is why the attempt to rebuild a dormant church through a re-configuration of church is misguided. When Christ is our life collectively His church will be manifest in creativity and glory.