I laughed when I read it. I sensed it would make the religious choke. Particularly the ‘covering crowd.’ Those who have made so many dependents and consumers from institutionalism while the glory of same sons of God has withered. ‘I am not a Christian’ says Jesus in ‘The Shack.’ How could He be?
First God is I AM. He can never be defined as anything less than Himself. Secondly, the Kingdom of God is not a religion but a Person. Thirdly third Jesus is entirely Himself, full alive in spirit and in truth and encumbered by nothing. Fourth, Godliness is not a collection of doings. It’s a state of being – the state of being a son/daughter of God. Fifth, Jesus is son of God.
Sonship is defined by union with our Father – not from any externality. Jesus was not religious and did not serve religion. From religion, He came to set us free. If the knowledge of good and evil is the root of separation, religion is the tree and lifeless things are the fruit. But in Christ there is life to the full. He is life. He is Spirit and life. To say Jesus is a Christian is to relegate Him to less than He is. Should we live from Christianity we are living from less than we are. This is why sons live from Christ alone. They are one with our Father. This is a church of contented and authoritative sons whose identity is in God rather than some encrustation they have made sacred.
The reign of the knowledge of good and evil ended when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’ The new creation Kingdom of God began when Jesus rose from the dead. From now on people could live from the person of God manifest in them and from the trinity alive in their spirit, soul and body. No intermediary here. No need for mediation by institutional structures, a class of priests or self-appointed apostles. No need to sell salvation, market the holy Spirit or manufacture hoops for people to jump through. You have this life within that is no lie. Christ in you, your personal glory and the glory of the church built without human hands.
The gift of God is eternal life and gift of the Spirit is the Spirit of Sonship. Now as sons in spirit and in truth we belong to the family of God. First we are the children of the Heavenly Family and secondly part of the family of heaven, of the ascended saints and all who have entered into the life of our Father in the past the present.
Jesus is not the marketer of an abstraction called ‘Christianity’ because He lives in the completeness of Himself as son of God. He has brought us into the life of the trinity. One with our Father we are not members of a religion. We are one with spirit and life. Anything less than Christ is a shadow. The reality is always Christ. It is this reality that joins us to our Father, regenerates human beings and recreates the earth.
Keeping the law and being a Christian can never equal the person of Jesus manifest as you. A series of behaviours or a bunch of positions is a poor substitute for Christ being your life. A religion, a philosophy, a set of values and charitable exploits are nothing in comparison to being a son of God. I am not saying they are of no benefit. I am saying that life is in being and not in doing. The person of Jesus manifest in your body, the trinity at large in your soul and the Spirit in your persona is infinitely more than any attachment to a formulation of the knowledge of good and evil – even when it has a Christian slant.
William Paul Young in his essay, ‘Lie 5. God is a Christian,’ uses this quote, Robert F. Capon writes:
‘Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is the proclamation of the end of religion, not of a new religion, or even of the best of all religions. If the cross is the sign of anything, it’s the sign that God has gone out of the religion business and solved all of the world’s problems without requiring a single human being to do a single religious thing. What the cross is actually a sign of is the fact that religion can’t do a thing about the world’s problems —that it never did work and it never will.’
When Christ is our life we have fellowship with God to offer the world. In Jesus we can offer a risen humanity. We are not offering the husk religion. We are presenting life to the full.