We need to have a lens through which to make sense of the world. We gain this through socialisation. This lens is called a ‘world view’ or a paradigm. Our paradigm conditions how we create meaning from the information with which we are surrounded.
WHOLE IS BETTER
We do better if we construct this meaning from the frame rather than a piece of the frame. For example some people have a thing about discrimination. So focused are they in not discriminating that they come close to making non-discrimination the lens through which they see the whole world and from which they make their (attempted) truth statements. As a result some would want us to believe that there is no disadvantage in being fat, deaf, blind, dirty or just plain wrong. This is what happens when we make a frame from anything that is not a frame.
There is disadvantage in not being whole. But in Christ there is no condemnation. Only opportunity. He is grace, He is the Door and the new and living way to infinite possibility. Paul chides Believers who have reverted from the infinite to the finite.
‘I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” Gal 1.5-9 NIV.
As Believers we have a frame and a lens. This is what Paul meant when he wrote ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’ It’s what John meant by the logos, the living word and purpose of the universe. This statement at the beginning of his gospel is a sign that in the new creation meaning and purpose is found in relationship with God – not in separate items of dogma. And not in the separation that is the knowledge of good and evil and the law. (1) Because of the cross and the at-one-ment we are both one with God and interwoven with His being.
The authentic lens of this age is the new covenant: Our renewed union with God in Jesus Christ. The issue of the age is believing the truth: Will be align ourselves with the picture of God revealed in the teaching and achievements of Jesus Christ? Will we agree with God that our union with the heavenly family is forever assured? Will be agree that we have been established forever as the sons and daughters of God? Do we assent to the truth that to see Jesus is to see ourselves and do we know and believe that this gospel of the Kingdom is that Jesus is our life in every possible way?
PROLONGING THE FALL
There are alternatives to this view – all variations in which we are retained in the old covenant under the law and under the regime of the un-crucified Adamic life where we are left to crucify our carnal natures and strive ‘with Jesus’ help’ to get into right standing with God. But God has already placed us with Himself. God’s view and the view of informed apostolic teachers is that Christ is our life and that the Kingdom is realised in us when we live from the fact that God lives in us and expresses Himself as us. Thus Francois Du Toit can write, “The destiny of the logos was not the printed page. A mirror can only reflect the object; likewise, the purpose of the page was only to reflect the message which is “Christ in you.”
Our status as sons and daughters is certain and we should be living from this position of interwoveness. This is the engine of the new creation.
The blind beggar called out to Jesus. He said to Jesus, ‘I want to see,’ In order to see truth we have to ‘want to see.’ Anyone can wear the new covenant glasses. Observation suggests to me that many do not want to. They are wedded to an identity they have in their religion and the law – the new testament version of it or the old. Whatever the case it is not God’s lens even if it is theirs and is endorsed by many who have a ‘name’ in religion. Sincere plodders that they are they stubbornly adhere to ‘the fall extended’ and because of their distorted vision impede the advance of the Kingdom of God. As highly as they esteem themselves and as secure as they may be in the regard of the masses they are blind leaders of the blind.
Baxter Kruger writes, “Without mental glasses of some sort we would be blind and have no way of conceiving the realities pressing upon us or of processing the endless variety of information coming to us. It would be like trying to dance with someone in pitch-black dark to the music of three or four different songs at the same time. The fact that we all have mental glasses–and inevitably use them–is not where the problem lies. The difficulty lies in the fact that we have the wrong prescription. That is to say, our ideas and concepts, our categories and assumptions are skewed.” (1)
How true. This is why we need to cease our obsession over spiritual gifts or reinventing the church until we have unloaded from ourselves our cracked lenses and phony gospels that are no gospel at all.