I taught my Bible students that God was about life; that they could do better than turn to Him when their parents were divorcing or when Aunt Maud had cancer. They could live with Him and in so doing live in life personified. They were excited about that, as was I. Joe ( not his real name) went off to theological college to become a minister. Trouble is he went to a an institution steeped in the law. By the law read Moses and the old covenant. Rather than be moulded into a representative of life he came out the other end as a representative of religion.
Jesus did not represent religion. He took it to the cross and it crucified it with Adam. What we have in the resurrected Jesus is His life as ours. Learn to avoid convoluted teaching that maintains the fall disguised as holiness. It originates in the spirit of antichrist.
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1. 7 NIV. Here John is telling us that Christ comes by the Spirit to manifest Himself in you. Actually it’s more than than [in you’. It’s Jesus expressing Himself as you. This is what the Lord’s Table and incarnation is all about. Deceiver’s will want to tell you that the law is meant to come in your flesh - with Jesus’ help of course. But this is an inversion of the cross and an annulment of the incarnation.
Jesus offers us life without limit. He is life and when we are in Him, so are we. We are life. We are alive in His spirit and life. But if we are formed in the law we can be no more alive in spirit than a statue of you is alive. I have observed people minister in this mode. They have no awareness that they are dead folks talking because without spirit and life we cannot see or hear Kingdom reality.
You can do better than exist as a human animal. You can live as what you are. A life giving spirit and son of God. Some people live to survive. Others live to extract the marrow out of life. THEY LIVE IN ABUNDANCE. Jesus came to gift us the latter. Yet many live in survival mode when they life without limit. They have this life in God that is unlimited, yet they seek Godliness in doing what they think are god things. It’s amazing to me that religion can infer that we can become godly through rites, observances and behaviours. No it’s more simple than that. We become Godly through sharing in the being of God. This is the accomplishment of the cross, the resurrection and Pentecost. We are part of God and He is part of us. This is our life in Jesus. Jesus pointed us to this truth. He said,
‘On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14. 20. This realisation is the difference between imparting religion and advancing the Kingdom Jesus began.
Religion via religious rites and behaviours is always religion and never spirituality - even if commonly mistaken as so. Spirituality is always the effect of union with God. Spirituality is John 14. 20. Jesus had it in spades because He was one with Father. Now we have it too. In Jesus we have spirit and life. This is spirituality in spirit and in truth.
NEW AND LIVING WAY
So we are saying that we can attempt Godliness by becoming a human doing. The fundamentalist may pick five things on which to concentrate. The liberal my stick to generalities. Both are misguided. Church going, Sabbath keeping, and religious clothing have no bearing on godliness, although the way we treat people does, as does the way we treat ourselves. This alerts us to the fact that Godliness is connected to relationship and not to legalisms and externalities. This is why Godliness is in John 14. 20 (above) and never in the law and associated observances.
To be Godly is to be human in the best way. As our best self we are sons and daughters of God in spirit and in truth. We can attempt this by adhering to propositions, which is the way of legalism or we can embrace the new and living way which is Christ’s life as ours. Quite simply we become a Godly because Christ becomes us.