Christians can fall into a number of categories. Some are no longer churched. They live in a limbo, not so much of unbelief in God but in disillusionment with people. As yet they have not found their way because they have not yet seen that what God offers them is a person who is THE WAY – Jesus and His life as theirs.
Others are irretrievably churched. They live in a pedestrian routine of Christian conformity and feel bound to rationalise the form of godliness in which they are embedded. To them ‘church is godliness,’ even though there is an emptiness in their hearts and they remain essentially souls who are unhealed.
There are of course people who are churched and who make these institutions flourish – as much as its possible for institutionalised anything to flourish. But they ignite what they touch not as an inmate of churchism but because Christ is their life. There is a current of life between the trinity, themselves and those they touch.
‘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.
Unfortunately more people live in religion than live in Jesus. Of course they think they do – live in Jesus that is. What they are living in is some passed-down version of Christianity. But the Kingdom of Jesus is not Christianity because the Kingdom is not religion. It is Jesus manifest as His people. The link is direct. It is Christ our life. The Kingdom of God is a person. This Kingdom is the personal Jesus multiplied and manifest personally as us. This is the church Jesus builds without human hands.
Some Believers dabble in magic and witchcraft. In doing so they open a door to a polluted stream of malign spiritual influence that shackles their life and the lives of those they love. Not familiar with Holy Spirit and her anointing they reach out to the wrong places for what is their inheritance in Jesus - a valid supernaturalism that is the legacy of the life of all in Christ.
We are here to multiply what Jesus began: His miracles and signs are an advertisement that God is real, that He is the Solution to chaos and pain and that Jesus is alive and active in our midst in those who believe. I have been instrumental in the healing of quite a few people as have some of my friends. I have a friend with a powerful gift of healing. He often sends me stories like this one.
My friend met this man in a shop. “Engaging him in conversation the man said, “I came off a motor bike. My right femur was shoved up through my pelvis.” He had loss of feeling down right leg. I asked if I could pray for him and something would happen. I prayed for him in the busy shop . “Walk Mark !” I said . He began pacing around the store . I could hear him saying “My God !” He strode up to me and grasped my hand , “Thank you ! Thank you !” Tell me what has happened?" I asked "I can walk heaps better! Something has happened to the feeling in my leg " " How do you feel inside?" I said. I pointed to my chest "I feel light inside " he told me. " Do you know what that is ? Because you let me pray for you ,you opened a door to your heart , and that light you feel. Is the presence of God !”
It’s Jesus who heals them. It’s not that I or my friends are better Christians than others or that we have risen to some level as in ‘going to the next level’ as some people say. We are able to be Jesus’ hands and feet BECAUSE WE BELIEVE.
The narrative we believe about God and ourselves determines who we are and what we can do in the world of everyday events.
Many Believers appear to be seeking salvation through church. If church can be reinvented, they think, then maybe we can be reconstituted and find new life in this way. But the church as an institution is not necessarily the mediator of Christ’s life. He mediates Himself. All have direct access to the trinity. The fullness of God can dwell in us bodily wherever we are, as was the case with Jesus. This is not something we earn. It is the gift of God. When we are astute enough to find spirit and life where it is then we will be the church He builds. We will have the capacity to impart life to where life is not.
God as trinity is innately communal. The kingdom of God is found personally in Jesus and in living together with each other. The trinity is the model and engine of the community of the church. When we realize that ‘I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ (John 14.20) and live from this, we will do better than existing as a notional body of Christ. We will be one in spirit and in truth. We will be one by the ONE SPIRIT. Indwelt by the tripartite God the community life of the trinity will be ours.
THE PEARL God is personal and communal. All life springs from the persons of the trinity. This is why any undoing of Jesus and the re-establishment of Adam and Moses is the undoing of life and the repositioning of ourselves in the body of death. The pearl of great price is nothing so dull and mundane as the spirit life of the trinity dumbed-down to institutionalism. Jesus’ Church is the fullness of Trinitarian life manifest as Bob, Jill, Mary and Sam. This is the glory of God and the glory of the church. We can make institutions out of the law, the letter and religion. Christ’s church is the trinity manifest as us! Baxter Kruger writes,
“It was the pearl, after all, that took away the breath of the merchant and so moved him that he sold everything he had to buy it (MT 13:45-46). The merchant was not acting out of cold religious duty; he was acting out of an encounter with something so beautiful, so exquisite and incomparable that it won his heart. To remove the pearl from the story is to leave the man with himself, where there is nothing present to rouse his passion, no glorious pearl to quicken his pulse and inspire his soul. This is exactly what happens to us when we impose our own preconceptions upon Jesus Christ. We rob ourselves of “seeing” the pearl, of encountering the one thing in the universe that can quicken us and fill us with the life we do not have in ourselves.” (1)
MIND YOUR LENS
So who is your Christ – the law, a belief system, religion, an identity you think you have in your community? The Christ of God is the Jesus of the Bible and the son of man extolled in the apostles teaching. Mind your eyes. With a false christ you will have a false you.
The lens of the law is innately reductionist. It extinguishes the pearl. It reduces all that was fire; that was the fullness of God in life and spirit to a belief system – a dry intellectual construct of the letter and dead words that enmeshes its inmates and has them believing they are living in the life of God. But the letter kills.
A law constructed Jesus is not the Christ of God. Such a christ is a false christ who is no pearl but rather a ghastly distortion sourced in the lies Enemy of life. This view produces fields of tares. In this parody of Jesus one can have a form of godliness that has mere droplets of spirit and life. From such a ‘christ’ pearls and jewels are never multiplied but rather stones and gravel expand on the edges of the river of life. So close but so far = speaking of the Spirit but living in the letter.
The pure in heart will see God as He is. They will discern, discover and know the Christ who will reveal Himself to them AS HE IS because they seek Him as their exclusive pearl.
(1) Kruger, C. Baxter. Jesus and the Undoing of Adam (Kindle Locations 129-134). Perichoresis Press. Kindle Edition.