Joe had served as a pastor for many years in a law-based church. In retirement his wife was found to have cancer and thus began the long fight and decline. Pastor Joe in semi-depression confided that he was disappointed that God has allowed this to happen given that he had served Him all his life. ‘Serving God’ to Joe was keeping the Ten Commandments.
Primitive religion has us in bargaining mode. “I’ll do this for you so that you will do this for me.” This is the basis of all religious sacrifice and even human sacrifice. It’s the basis of life in the mode of the knowledge of good and evil – the earning of acceptability. It undergirds legalistic religion and political correctness, the latter of which is reinforced by fashion, control and manipulation.
THE BARGAIN CONTRACT
The notion of ‘bargain’ or quid pro quo is seen in the old covenant because this covenant was expressed within the frame of the Knowledge of good and evil and it’s straining ‘to be as gods.’ The Bible records it as ‘Obey and live.’
But this was not the a priori nature of primitive Godliness before the fall. Despite what legalistic communities might think, there was never any law that was external to Father and Adam and Eve. By believing God and living in relationship with God, Adam and Eve lived in a similar relationship to what the trinity lived with each other. This relationship is more than order. It is the communion of love and life – quite distinct from bizarre theologies of the law.
Unbelief in God separates us from life, wholeness and holiness. Sin is the effect of this separation. God as three in one is relationship. We are whole, holy and fully alive when we live in the relationship in which we have been included. Paul called it the law of the Spirit of life. It is not the law of Moses which is ‘the letter that kills.’
Fellowship with God is in Christ and so in relationship – in relationship with the trinity and with each other. This relationship is innately inclusionary. Attempted relationship through the law, religion or ‘our perspective’ is exclusionary and innately judgmental. It claims impartiality yet is driven to subtly exclude anything that challenges the identity we think we have in a community of belief. Thus the incumbent of these ideas gets by by producing fictions that keep out the truth.
The Key to walking in the light is REALZING truth when it comes to you. The sign of genuine Godliness is an unconditional commitment to life without limit.
Thus Jesus urges us, ‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. Why realize? Because the nature of the new covenant is that we have been included in the fellowship of the trinity by the enterprise of God. This is why Jesus lives to draw all people and all things together into Himself (Eph 1.10). Our task as ministers of the new covenant is to empower people to live in the belonging in which they already belong.
Since the cross you are part of God. Well we always were. But now we are one with God courtesy of atonement and incarnation. One with God notionally and one with God in spirit and in truth when we are living from the teaching of Jesus and the apostles.
Genuine union with God is a state of being. Never the citing of a proof text.
So as common a practice as proof texting may be, moralism and earning merit as religion may well be as common as dirt. But it is not the kingdom of God. What is the Kingdom of God? It is Christ in you. It is Christ expressed as your person. Christ manifest as the church He builds without human hands. It is the trinity living in you expressing the life of each person of the Godhead as you. There’s no earning points, transactional behavior, ticking the boxes of right belief and right motive. But there is incarnation which is Jesus as you.
Being part of the being of God we live in His theology. We don’t make it up.
Incarnated people are interwoven with the trinity and are known as sons and daughters of God. As Richard Rohr observes, “All real living is meeting,” as Martin Buber says. You cannot be present or meet new reality — and let it be truly new or itself — with the judging, dualistic mind.” (1) You must be born again.
NEW PERSON IN JESUS
‘I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Gal 2.21 NIV. Believers who live from the law belong. It’s just that they have a smidgeon of their inheritance instead of rivers of life. The flesh accomplishes nothing. What counts is spirit and life that is ours in spades when Jesus Himself is our life. We are talking incarnation again: Christ in you, Christ for you, Christ as you.
HOW TO SEE
The mind of THE FALSE SELF is not the mind of Christ. On the contrary it is the mind of Adam and the thinking of those contained in Moses laws and the culture of religion. This is why to ‘see’ the Kingdom we must be born again. Unless we are we will continue to hatch up law impregnated outlooks and ‘fall’ burdened, versions of the gospel - which are really no gospel at all.
‘Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’ John 3,3 NIV.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (p. 118). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.