We may own a Corolla and trade it in on a BMW. Our new purchase may provide great satisfaction but have no bearing on the nature of who we are as persons. Similarly, going to church, the keeping of religious observances and the doing of good deeds is irrelevant to the quality of our personhood. What counts is God’s love and grace manifest by the Spirit as you.
Morals and good works do not make us Godly. Christ’s life as our life makes us Godly.
‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day' Matt 20.12 NIV. This is because it’s not what we do. It’s what we are. Are we sons or slaves?
Jesus offended religious folks when He told the story in which the late-comers received the same wage as the on-time arrivals. This was a tale about the nature of the self. The self becomes neither whole or holy by self-effort. It becomes whole by God’s effort.
We receive our sonship without money and without price. We become sons of God because we are graced by Jesus as us. He becomes us. ‘He is in his Father, and we are in Him, and He is in us’ John 14.20 NIV.
Jesus is our divine rest for human restlessness. He is our peace with God and our peace with ourselves. Many of us assert that we believe in grace but submit ourselves to law derived routines that have no effect on Godliness and which actually debilitate our sonship. Anything that is not Jesus is fatiguing and debilitating. That which imparts spirit and life and which makes us branches and fruit of Jesus the Vine is His life as our life.
If you are still living in the law of the old testament you will make law out of the new testament.
INVERTED CAUSE AND EFFECT
One of the most contradictory sermons I had ever heard was one in which the pastor gave a homily on one of the fruits of the Spirit. Even though the notion of fruit is something that grows from the vine who is rooted in our Father, the speaker insisted on talking about this ‘fruit’ as a virtue in itself that if embraced would attract the help of Jesus to make it happen. He had inverted the notion of fruit, turned it on its head and made it an element of law; a law fragment, that if embraced would attract Jesus favour and assistance. This is the norm in law cultures. In a law hermeneutic all ‘godliness’ is law – even the things of the Spirit.
YOU ARE YOUR LENS
If Christ is our life we have the Jesus lens. We are the lens that sees without distortion and astigmatism. As this lens we can distinguish between false christs and other gospels.
If we believe that the law is foundational we will interpret the new testament through the lens of the law and in doing so annul the cross and suffocate the Spirit of sonship. An astute person has observed that, ‘We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.’ This is why we need to be sons of the new covenant and participants in the life of the Christ of God and His gospel rather than variations of our own. Why bury your inheritance in the ground when you can put it in your heart and it will become you. Jesus will manifest as you and more. You will be the manifest presence of God: A son.
The law is not foundational. It is not the issue of the ages. The Godliness of God becomes the sonship of you because Christ is in you and He is your life. Father, His love and total reliability are foundational as is the reality of your sonship in Jesus. The Fatherhood of God and the sonship of you is the essence of the Kingdom of God. This is the effect of our union with God and our interwoveness into the Family called the trinity.