We can believe what we like about God. He will not force us to believe the truth about Himself. He invites us to know Him, however. Love desires that who we are as our real selves becomes known. The general and intense desire of the majority of people to be accepted and loved – celebrated as who they are comes from our Father who desires that I AM be known as I AM is.
God could have just let the lie of Satan slip. ‘Just another gospel’ He might have said or ‘Just a perspective.’
Yet there is more to it than this. There is life and death as well as mystery, paradox and ambiguity. Life ignites us by its truth and lies bite like a viper.
YOU’RE NOT A THING
A young boy once said to his primary school teacher who had complimented him on his work, ‘I’m a lot more than that!’ We all are. The converse of knowing God as God is, is to love others and know their real selves.
Richard Rohr talks of the false self and the real self. The false self is what we make of ourselves in the principles of the world. It’s who we are in Adam. The real self is who we are becoming in union with Jesus and the trinity.
YOU IN GOD
Jesus Christ revealed who God is. He also revealed who you are. The real you will be formed and matured as an expression of Jesus. Never as a version of the knowledge of good and evil. We will do better as our real self if we are completely detached from the law. You were made to be the expression of persons – not abstractions. We will shine as our true self when Christ is our life, when we are hidden in Him and revealed as daughters and son in encounter and relationship with the Holy Family.
The chief manifestation of Holy Spirit is you.
Godliness – beings sons of God is a state of being. Not an effort to copy. You will have no more success in being like Jesus as the Jews did in keeping the law. Sadly our ideas of ‘being like Jesus’ are our new testament variety of law-keeping.
We get to be like God because God lives in us and shares His person into our being. Your child is a literal expression of you and your wife. You are a literal expression of Christ who is your life. You are birthed in the Spirit and you live and grow in the Spirit. Or not. Because you are dying in the law or shrinking in religion. Your woveness into God is the spirit of sonship. Often called ‘growing up into Christ’ this is not an advance into religion. It’s the increasing manifestation of Christ come in your flesh.
ISSUE OF SUBSTANCE
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV. This is not a statement about demons. It’s a declaration of the core of the gospel: incarnation.
SONS OF GOD
Knowing ourselves and what it means to be a human and Bill or Cynthia comes from knowing God exactly as God is. The starting line for this ongoing revelation is agreeing with Jesus that we have been received into His life. The worst examples of God are what we call heathen Gods: Monstrous distortions of the real God. Christian versions can be somewhat less monstrous – the ugliness disguised in fundamentalisms and law-mongering. The most subtly deadening versions of Jesus are the many and varied representation of a ‘religious christ’. All of them false christs. Thomas Torrance writes,
“The open range off faith was stressed by Athanasius and Hilary, as well as by other leading exponents of Nicene theology. Athanasius claimed that the more he pressed forward in seeking to apprehend God, the more he found knowledge of him outreaching his apprehension. He was unable to express in writing what he seemed to understand, and what he wrote fell far short even of the fleeting shadow of the truth in his mind.
[God is bigger than us and bigger than His book. You will not define him or yourself in definitions and positions, although if born of the law you may think you can]
CHRIST IS GOD’S LIFE AND YOURS
The one fixed point, the object of faith, the scope of Holy Scripture, or of the truth in which we believe, is Jesus Christ himself. It is in and through God’s unique self-revelation in him, that faith becomes firmly grounded in the truth of God’s own being and provided with the normative control it needs in its correlation with what transcends the capacity of human comprehension. It is faith of this kind that precedes and guides all theological inquiry and explanation, for it constitutes the sound cognitive base which gives force to all right argument.” (1)
THE MEEK INHERIT THE EARTH
Living to pump up our received ideas is the way to shrink. The point is that if we are humble and willing and not hiding in our preconceived notions with a view to propping up an identity we think we have in that social cocoon – we will know God and Jesus Christ whom God has sent.
A willingness to follow Jesus relentlessly allows Him to reveal Himself to our hearts as He is – rather than what personal fear and bad teaching has conceived Him to be. It’s not just eternal life that is to be had in ‘knowing God.’ It an infinity of spirit and life that surrounds us like a halo and bubbles up within as a spring of living water.
‘Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ John 17.3 NIV.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 25). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.