The most barren faiths are faith in a belief system, followed by Christian derived faith in which we think God tolerates us more than He likes or loves us. The first is faith in an abstraction and the second faith in a lie.
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The Pharisees and Jewish leaders hated Jesus because He offered people life without the paraphernalia that they considered entitled them to honour and acceptance with God. The institutionalism of the day was totally sidelined by the simplicity of Jesus among the people: God with us. Religion is sidelined today by Christ in you and the living out of Christ in us all – not as religion but as ourselves as the manifestation of the trinity within.
Don’t give the non-believer the impression that big screens, flashing lights and worship bands are essential Kingdom life. They are not. Christ our life is our life: The trinity is incarnated in you where you are whether this be in the laundry or the footy change room.
People can get upset when it is stated that many of our religious routines are not ‘Godliness.’ It’s all some of them have. But if we are living our inheritance of union with God all we touch, including our modes of celebrating Jesus will be ignited with His spirit and life.
Kingdom life is not adherence to beliefs – well not very much. It’s being part of God’s life. It’s sharing Jesus relationship with Father. It’s knowing God in the mode of knowing one’s spouse in a good marriage.
FAITH AS A STATE OF BEING
You can live in externalities and call this your faith. Then again you can be a person who has moved from mere belief or belonging systems to an actual inner experience of God.
OLD COVENANT CONTRACT
Faith that lacks spirit and life does so because it is information based – a combination of ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ that forms the bargain we think we have made with God. This is the transactional view based on a sense of ‘entitlement.’
This kind of ‘knowing and doing’ can be the ‘skeletal remains’ what we call fundamentalism or the pile of old clothes and trusted underwear that is our intellectual religion. We can spend our entire lives absorbed in and pedalling this kind of ‘godliness’ and to be sure, it is imbued with a tincture of God – but not nearly as much as we would like to think.
You probably guessed that it is a version of the knowledge of good and evil with a ‘Jesus gloss.’ It certainly cannot hold a candle to a life lived in the reality of the trinity incarnated in oneself and in us all; a life that really is in the Spirit rather than an old covenant existence with a Holy Spirit garnish. Richard Rohr observes,
“What set us on the wrong path was making the object of religious faith “ideas” or doctrines instead of a person. Our faith is not a faith that dogmas or moral opinions are true, but a faith that Ultimate Reality/God/Jesus is accessible to us — and even on our side. Jesus was able to touch and heal people who trusted him as an emissary of God’s love, not people who assessed intellectual statements and decided whether they were true or false.” (1)
When Paul talks of ‘Christ your life’ he means Jesus by the Spirit manifesting as you. I write ‘as you’ rather than in you to avoid slipping into the temptation of implying that God is in us so that we can manifest religion. Not so. Christ is in us to manifest Himself. You give Him not only hands and feet. You give Him a human face. You give Jesus ‘being’ with your identity and personality.
The relationship with have with Jesus is direct. The relationship Jesus gives us with our Father and Holy Spirit is direct and real. He doesn’t relate to us through sacraments and Sabbaths. He relates to us through Himself – by interweaving His ‘Threedom’ into our being. Which is why Jesus encouraged us: ‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14.20 NIV. This realisation, this mindset and this state of being is our spirit and life in the moment and the future. It is infinite and eternal life.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (p. 117). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.