Born again. What does this mean? Does it mean an exchange of bad deeds for a bunch of good ones? There may be fruits but this is not it. Born again means that instead of you and Adam being your life, Christ, Holy Spirit and Father are your life. Jesus replicates Himself in you and by His Spirit you are remade as the new you – in Jesus. New Birth begins the new creation. Rather than losing a bit of yourself as in old covenant circumcision you gain all of your real self because Jesus is your life. The is life in the Spirit. Life in the Spirit is not life in the gifts with a dose of Holy Spirit glued onto the old covenant and the law. Life in the Spirit is you as the new creation in Christ, growing daily into the glory of your real self in Jesus.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20. The day we realise this is the day we are reborn.
ADDICTION TO OUR BELIEFS
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ The kingdom of heaven is that realm of spirit and life that Jesus began. It is this realm that we enter when we lay down “us” as take up Him. Jesus was humility in person. One with His Father He lived to reveal and honour Him. Jesus went to the cross literally for His Father’s sake and for ours. In doing so Jesus undid the separation between humans and God, neutralised the spirit of death unleashed by Adam and released the Spirit of Life that would be multiplied as people agreed to be received into His life. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to Jesus because He is King of Humility. It belongs to us when we are humble enough to live from His gospel and not some other.
Some Believers live in an a priori dismissal of anything that undermines their doctrine. They see themselves as entitled to their perspective. Their claim to non-sectarianism is the product of a liberal outlook. But genuine liberalism is an open-mindedness to the truth. Never an excuse to encapsulate ourselves in convenient error. The effect of such stances is a life of denial and a habit of rationalising away inconvenient truths. This is like a goldfish swimming in a bowl on the lounge room table. It thinks is bowl is the world. It rejoices in being gold. But does not see that it is only a fish when it could be a human being and a son of God.
Humility and honesty go together. An honest assessment of one’s self produces humility. Humility opens us to views that are not ours and a modest assessment of ourselves enables us to listen to opinions we have not to this point entertained. A hunger for God, known also as a passion for Jesus is actually a hunger for truth, a hunger to know the truth wherever it may lead and whatever the implications for our sense of community and identity. There’s a reason why Jesus said, ‘Those who will not relinquish their community for me are not worthy of Me.’ They are not worthy of the truth. Truth is ‘what is.’ Truth is on the same level as ‘I AM. This is how Jesus gets to be ‘the way, the truth and the life.’
BLESSED ARE THE PURE
Blessed are the pure in heart. They will see God. They will see Him because they are poor in spirit and in seeing Him they will discern His Kingdom and possess it. They are the same people who inherit the earth. They do so because they are meek and humble. Humble enough to lay their own ideas and their own way at the cross and take up the new and living way. As a result they inherit the earth – the domain to which they are entitled as sons in spirit and in truth. Those who hunger for righteousness will be filled. Truth is righteousness and righteousness is truth. The pure in heart will see God, know God and know His truth. They will be set free from cunningly devised fables, false gospels and half-gospels. They will enter into spirit and life.
Why is truth so dimly perceived by some Believers? They are wedded to what they have. They are not inwardly humble. Neither are they brutally honest. Their humility and honesty is sacrificed on the altar of an extra-Jesus identity. But this is all they have. They think that if they did not have this they would not have themselves. This is their delusion. But the truth is that if the lost themselves they would find themselves and the gospel of the Kingdom.
Richard Rohr writes, “The only people who grow in truth are those who are humble and honest. This is traditional Christian doctrine and is the maxim of Alcoholics Anonymous. Without those two qualities, we don't grow. If we try to use religion to aggrandize the self, we're on the wrong path. Humility and honesty are really the same thing. A humble person is simply a person who is brutally honest about the whole truth.”
Jesus did not give us a gospel of obscurantism. We have the capacity to speak the truth plainly and without spin. Grace and truth is never obscuring the truth. But to speak the truth we must be able to ‘see’ it. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.’