The lens we use determines what we see. The Bible read through the lens of the knowledge of good and evil is a different book to the Bible read through the Jesus lens. One is religion. The other is the gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus Himself, with the new covenant, is the ultimate hermeneutic into which the Bible
This post contains the gospel of the Kingdom in a nutshell and some revelation about our Father who is in heaven and in us by the Spirit. The truth that God is love is demonstrated in the revelation that God is Jesus Christ and that He is revealed in Jesus’ person and accomplishments. Below is a story I copied from Facebook from Francois Du Toit’s page. This is the second time I have used this quote. I have added some more observations. The quote is itself a testimony from a friend of his who has much to teach us about the real nature of God in Jesus Christ. It highlights how bizarre some of our views of God can be and how vital it is to understand that to know Jesus is to know our Father. There are some other things we can note that I’ll leave to the end of the story. My comments are [in brackets]. We need to be aware that Christ’s revelatory Spirit can influence the beliefs of other religions just as the demonic can pervert the message of what was meant to be life to the full. In Christ veils, lies and slanders against Father are removed. This is why we need to live in Jesus, read in Jesus and “know” God in Jesus.
“The other week I was getting my nails done by a beautiful young Buddhist woman. We began speaking about spirituality and she told me of her Christian friend that had been trying to get her to say the “Sinners Prayer” so she could be saved. She told me she asked her Christian friend what would happen if her two children and husband did not say the prayer. She told her that they would burn in hell for all eternity… but she could save herself and then talk her family into it. The Buddhist girl said she told her ‘I would rather burn for all eternity with my family in hell than live in heaven knowing they are burning in hell. [ Jesus’ gospel was life from first to last, that He was life itself in all its forms. Don’t promote old covenant knowledge of good and evil religion as if it is the gospel of the Kingdom!]
The next thing her Christian friend told her that she had to prepare for the End Times Rapture by stockpiling food and water for her families survival. She told her that Buddhism teaches if you have food and your neighbors’ have none to share even if it means you will die sooner of starvation. [Another good point which I believe is the message of Jesus. Some believers are obsessed by End Times Paranoia and have made this an idol. They have made an idol of fear and dread and nailed this on to Jesus. Jesus said I will be with you always and that He would meet every need. None can take us out if His hand.]
The contributor continues, ‘Is this really the message of the Christian body that we serve a loving God that would rip a Mother from her young children and husband and send them to be tormented and tortured for all eternity as she lives in paradise….it sounds more like Hitler and the concentration camps. [This is a clue to the source of such beliefs. The Bible calls these perversions doctrines of demons.]
I began to speak to her about the True Authentic God that so loved the world that He entered their hell knowing they would murder Him and used that murder to set them free of sins dominion. A God that is present in all: above all, through all, and IN ALL. (Eph. 4:6) A God that’s love towards His creation, who was not reduced in anyway when they turned their back on Him. (Rom. 5:10) For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life-RSV. [Jesus is in us and with us. He is as close as our thoughts. In Him we are one with Father and part of the Family of heaven]
One man (Adam) opened the door to sin. No one escaped its tyranny. It had a universal effect. No one was excluded. (Rom 5:12-14) The only similarity in the comparison between death’s dominion through the offence (Adam) and the free gift in Christ is they both represented All of Humanity. (Rom. 5:15-17) “The conclusion is clear: It took just one offence to condemn mankind; one act of righteousness declares the same mankind innocent.” (MW) ” We see then, that one act of sin exposed the whole race of men to condemnation, so one act of perfect righteousness presents all men freely acquitted in the sight of God!” (JB Phillips) Just read all of Romans Chapter 5. I told her that her Buddhist belief is God in her resonating His true authentic design. And her rejection of this women’s beliefs was also God speaking to her about His love.” [This is the wisdom and revelation of God - the continual witness of the Spirit to the sons and daughters of God]
That’s the story. My obsession is not about the existence of hell, although how one fits eternal punishment with love and grace is beyond me. It perpetuates the myth of a wonderful Jesus and nasty and monstrous Father who is not for us but against us. No. My obsession is the witness of Holy Spirit in revealing the glory of Jesus and the love and good intentions of our Father. Father is not only the most wonderful Person in the universe. He is totally for us and resolute in securing the destiny planed for all before the creation of the world: The destiny that human beings should share what they (the trinity) enjoyed.
All slanders against Father come from the Enemy and are a continuation of his role as the father of lies and the robber of life and truth. This is the source of all perversion of the nature and character of God, the belittling of the sons of God and the promotion of myths and deviant gospels by doctrine of demons.
The Spirit of God in you resists lies from this source and opposes such distortions sometimes using insights from other religions. The Spirit of truth and liberty innately and compulsively testifies to this truth so that Father can be known as who He is and so that the sons of God can be set free to rise to their natural status in the presence of God. A delightful paradox is the fact that to see Jesus is to see who Father really is. The other part is that in seeing Jesus we see who we are.
Now for the other things to note. Adherence to the law is a serious impediment to knowing God and being sensitive to His voice. God cannot be known in spirit and in truth through the law. or through views sincerely expression by the Christian sister above.
As we see from this example, law, the letter, performance orientation and extracting the pound of flesh, gravely distort who God is and who we are. As a result many non-believers are often (rightly) repelled by our Christian deportment and what we might like to call our Christian witness. It’s our witness one of life? Or of moral conformity, dullness and retribution. If Christ is not our life we will in some way be a promoter of death.
The maintenance of a law culture through an insistence in remaining in an old covenant mind-set or for any reason, is toxic to our sensitivity to the presence and voice of Holy Spirit. It predisposes us to be living from a belief system instead of a person. What might have been a life in Jesus is reduced to a life in theological understandings, theological discussion and sermons and ethical stances. It fosters the illusion that life in this system and culture is a life in Christ. It encumbers our spirit with a layer of flesh that insulates us from sensitivity to the presence of the Spirit surrounding us. Law and judgment is a double bind that immunizes us to the experience of the Spirit by which we learn to recognize His presence and gain the ability to reject the flesh. Worse still it purveys non-life in the name of Christ.
An attachment to the law dulls our spirit, hardens our soul and builds a plaque of religion around our being. This makes it difficult for us to sense when the Spirit is present and when He is absent. This dims our perception of Christ, confuses our perception of truth and imprisons us in religion. Sincere Believers attached to the law unable to discern the presence of life or death - even when they attempt to move in the Spirit. They will say the Spirit has come when He hasn’t and be unaware when He has gone.
Imprisoned in religion we have great difficulty in perceiving what is meant by living in the reality that Jesus Christ Himself is our life. We instinctively revert to religion, even in the things of the Spirit. We remain in emanations, representations and shadows of the reality that could have been Christ expressing Himself as us. This is because the Enemy is engaged in an unrelenting war against fullness in Christ. This is none other than the spirit of anti-christ. Only in Christ are such encrustations removed.
In terms of the five-fold gifts, pastors find their identity and calling in the person of Jesus - not in terms of the institutional church. The extent to which ‘the church’ is not an expression of Jesus is the degree to which it is illegitimate. Bear in mind that money changers have been cast out and tares will be pulled out.
Many leaders routinely propagate an old covenant mentality and a try harder culture. They know little else. As a pastoral expression of Christ’s our life, we can expect to be quite different to a manager of an institution. We will emit flows of spirit and life, we will be aware of the gospel sufficiently to avoid being oracles of false doctrine and we will not create dependency or clones of the system.
Holy Spirit brings to us the objective presence of God. He has been called the Executive Power of God. His presence enables us to rise above the perpetuations of institutionalism and transcend Bible studies ( as useful as these are) to experience that Jesus is alive and active on planet earth in us - and through those in which He has come in the flesh and do what Jesus and heroes of the Bible did. With Christ as our life we know Him and express Him. As Jesus was the expression of His Father so we have become the expression of Jesus in spirit and in truth.
In the power of the Spirit we multiply what Jesus began, we live in His witness of Christ, we have an accurate understanding of His gospel of the Kingdom and we are life-giving sons and daughters of our Father. Hidden in Jesus and with Him as our life we express Him and more. People will be able to say that in seeing us they will have caught a glimpse of our Father.