A STATE OF BEING
According to Jesus in John 1.1-9 ‘Light’ is something we participate in. The true light that enlightens every person is the Christ of God. Enlightenment like sonship is a state of being – not assent to propositions or knowledge. It’s participation in God.
Many seek enlightenment and that is a good thing. They sense that it is linked to ultimate reality, whether or not they know that enlightenment is Christ.
This is the truth that is truth and the light that is not false light – that latter kind of un-light which Jesus warns is the confusion that occurs when our ‘light’ is actually darkness.
In union with Christ, His light us our light. It’s a state of being. Not box-ticking. Life and light are one in the person of Jesus Christ. By agreeing with Him that we are accepted into His life we learn to see light and we become light. Light is a property of the trinity and therefore a state of being. It is not perceived in the letter that kills and that also blinds. The light of life is not “Entirely propositional in content, [that] God communicates in order to convey truths in the form of propositional sentences.” (1)
Light that is a property of union with God and not an effect of the knowledge of good and evil is a state of being that we participate in as a result of the incarnation; as a result of Christ our life.
‘Light’ according to Thomas Torrance is a state of being. If Christ is our life we become the light. This is Christian enlightenment - the ability to see beyond shadow and disguise. Others have called this light the ‘Jesus lens’ through which we ‘know’ light. Unless this lens is ours we distort everything we see. Some Christians live in a distorted life in the impression that this is the gospel. Should we be unfortunate enough to view Jesus through the law and make Him a function of the law we will be sadly misguided Christians. It’s no coincidence that Christians in this mode are ‘discernment challenged’ and almost impervious to truth. If our seeing is not right we will distort the most sublime truths, subverting them to something less than they are and reducing them to an inferior gospel. The most mistaken light is the lens of the law and the most dulling effect on enlightenment is the culture of the old covenant projected into the post cross era.
The true self arrives after we have been born again. The REAL US comes into being on our entrance to new covenant living. The real self is the real us that has discarded the Adamic life to come absorbed and resurrected into the Jesus life.
The new self is you as an expression of Christ. It is you who are a manifestation of our Father as a son. The real self is you out of the tomb of the knowledge of good and evil and into the sunlight of the Spirit of sonship. Richard Rohr observes,
“I promise you that the discovery of your True Self will feel like a thousand pounds of weight have fallen from your back. You will no longer have to build, protect, or promote any idealised self-image. Living in the True Self is quite simply a much happier existence, even though we never live there a full twenty-four hours a day. But you henceforth have it as a place to always go back to. You have finally discovered the alternative to your False Self. You are like Jacob awakening from sleep and joining the chorus of mystics in every age. “You were here all along, and I never knew it!”” (1)
REAL LIFE IS REAL REBIRTH
Many Believers do not live in enlightenment. They have never been born again although they think they have. They think the new birth is the start of a new moral life. It’s not that. Not at the start. The new birth is the start of Christ as you. Jesus as the expression of Bill and George is the fruits of the Spirit. The fruits are the result of Christ as you. Not something you do to be accepted by God. You are already accepted and already belong.
Born again you will become who you truly are. You will be fully human and fully alive because the Resurrection will be in you in person and you will see as Jesus sees. Not as Adam sees. But more than bring forensically righteous you will be authentically you. Increasingly so.
(1) Myk Habets, Beyond Henry’s nominalism and evangelical foundationalism: Thomas Torrance’s theological realism. p 206
(2) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self. SPCK. Kindle Edition.