Today I noticed this pithy saying posted on Facebook from the Buddha. It’s seen as great insight, amazing wisdom and superb piety by the non-christian religious. It goes,
‘In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.’
It is beautiful in its simplicity and humanity. Certainly it could be included in the principles of Christian living - if received in the context of Christ our life. As it is, these words of merit have no power of their own, no impetus within them to enter our lives and become part the fabric of our character. They have no transforming dynamic of themselves because they are not living words. They are not alive with the spirit and life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We may absorb fragments of these principles through self-discipline of the kind that is always incomplete, if not usually self-defeating. We need to see them as absent of grace and also as a beautiful rendition of the knowledge of good and evil. We can laud such quotations as wonderful without ever having the capacity to carry them out in our lives. Many of the ‘do better’ jottings on Facebook are like this. As noble and sensible as they are they have no power to enter our being and change our lives.
No matter how good a teacher is, how worthy the principles they hold up for emulation; no matter how much the weightiness and cogency of some value written up for admiration in Facebook or anywhere else might be. There is no power in these gems to change our lives. This is why Jesus told the Jewish leaders they were hypocrites - upholders of God who put God in the cross. This is the contradiction of the human condition outside of God. We were made to live in God and multiply life exclusively and only when Christ is our life.
Jesus Christ is all of these values and more. He is more replete with love, life, freedom, gentleness and strength than any of this. Our bonus is that His life is our life which is imparted to us by His indwelling Spirit. By the Spirit He lives in us and He became you. He lives in you to impart Himself to your right now. This is the only kind of righteousness that has any value whatsoever. The rest is filthy rags.
Should we elect to live in the law or in a system of ethics or just try to be a good person and apply ourselves to wisdom and rightness through self-effort, we are no further ahead than the Buddhist, the Hindu or the Muslim who lives from the teaching of their holy men. However in Christ we are holy because He is holy. He is whole and He lives in us to impart the totality of Himself into our person. There is nothing ‘try harder’ about Christ our life. He lives in us to impart His virtue to us.
If we are attempting to live in the law we are striving to live in self-control and will power. But this is not the New and Living Way that Jesus began. His way is Himself in us by His Spirit. He manifests His Spirit as our life. It would be a sad thing if most of us lived from a fundamental misconception about the gospel of the Kingdom when we can simply invite Jesus to be ourselves.
If there is a foundation that needs to be laid to undergird what will become the Kingdom of God and the manifestation of heaven through God’s people, this foundation is the new covenant. Briefly it means living in a life that is not yours as though it is. Actually it is yours. It has been bestowed on you. It is your inheritance as a son of the free woman – the woman who conceives and bears children in the Spirit instead of in the natural.
‘For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ’ 1 Cor 3.11 NIV.
Jesus did not come to establish Christianity. He came to multiply Himself in all who believe. By incarnating Himself in humanity through the Holy Spirit, the church becomes His life multiplied. Jesus manifest as you is the new creation. So lets stop muffling Him and stifling Him in institutionalism and religion.
‘You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked’ Rev 3.17 NIV.
The new covenant is Jesus write large. Jesus incarnated through you and as the church. This is the church that is Jesus expressed as His people. It is nothing as pedestrian and stilted as an institutional organisation that people attend to do Christianity. Christianity is not a religion. It is the person of Jesus incarnated in His disciples and and manifest in the fluid dynamic that arises from the hearts and minds of the sons and daughters of God.
We are not people of the book. But we are people of the living word made manifest as Bob and Mary. How? Christ in us. This is not to deny the Bible. It is to affirm Bible teaching. Life is not something outside you. It rises up in you. It changes you from the inside. It confirms you as a daughter and a son. It removes the fear of death and fills you with eternal life TODAY. This life is Christ your life.
Yet Christ our life is even more mysterious and powerful when described as the wife of Christ. The truth here is that Jesus conceives His life in us and births His life through us so that as the Bride of Christ we birth new creation life into our homes and work places.
Let Jesus loose in you and He will transform your un-life by removing all that is dead. He is your resurrection and your life. He is the new creation life multiplying out of you so that you are fruitful in regenerating the earth.
In new covenant mode we are sons in spirit and in truth. We are the Bride who makes Christ complete in the world.
In religion we are sons conceptually and religiously. More accurately we are workers when we could be sons whose being is linked by the Spirit to our Father and joined so that we are the manifestation of Him as daughters and sons. We need to get out of the matrix of right and wrong, of the Adamic existence and the knowledge of good and evil. By the Spirit we are able to live the life that is the Son of God in us and as us. Those who eat Jesus will live because of Him. By eating His flesh and drinking His blood in the Spirit, His life becomes our life. A life in the Spirit is the only way to make a difference in the flesh and in the world. Many of us could leave off harping about the cross and live in the resurrection. This was the point of the cross. Your Adamic life put to death and your Jesus life as you.
‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ Gal 2.20 NIV.
Much of the Christian world lives in a Christianised version of the knowledge of good and evil. But The Plan put in place before the world began is Christ your life, the trinity incarnated in you. This life is the Spirit of Sonship and the triumph of the Sons and daughters of God. As Kerry Hopkins writes in the introduction to Stephen Crosby’s book, The New Testament Prophet.
“Be warned: this book will not only revolutionize your understanding of New Testament prophets and prophecy, it will also revolutionize your understanding of Christianity.”