Jesus said that unless we are born again we cannot see the Kingdom of God. But being born again is not something we can do to ourselves. The laying down of the false self and the taking up of the real self – the self that is ours in Christ and which develops in union with the trinity - is something that ‘happens.’ It is ‘done’ to us. We don’t do it ourselves.
But life can do it to us.
Richard Rohr says that the new birth – the transition from our life in Adam/Moses to our life in Jesus is the result of the enlightenment that comes to us in the encounter of great love or great suffering.
This is suffering of the kind that is the demolition of the soul.
Enveloped in real love or and now open to possibility as a, we are able to see that much of what we supposed was valuable is worthless and all that is real life is Jesus.
If we have not developed further than ‘Christianity’ chances are we have not been born again. We are born again when Christ becomes us. Naked to everything that is not Christ and clothed with Christ we will never be naked again.
Until this happens we may espouse new birth as a principle. When it does occur in real time, Christ will be our life and we will be alive and sighted.
UN ADULTERATED LIFE
Ever since Jesus arrival as the Messiah, the offer of life without strings attached has been regarded with suspicion. Jesus was harassed and eventually crucified for it – for doing life without the encumbrance of Judaism and for presenting Himself as life itself.
Disciples of His who represent what Jesus gave us – life without limit and companionship with God without earning it are often regarded with suspicion.
I see it in the eyes of some. They think you are undoing their christianity (Which you are. It’s theirs not God’s) and undermining the foundation of their religious life – their implicit contract. A bundle of do’s and don’ts they have adopted and maintained as their part of the contract, the on-going bargain they have established with God: The attempt to ‘measure up’ by doing.
TREE OF KNOWLEDGE
They would rather you leave off your gospel of John and stop bleating about Paul and get back to where ‘real’ religion is: The old testament and if not the law then a regime of behaviours that Christians should do or not do to establish their bonafide’s. That’s the knowledge of good and evil version of the Kingdom which is no kingdom at all. It’s not what Jesus gave us: Union with God.
WHERE IT’S AT
But this is a booby trap and a diversion. It’s the delusion of the Green With in Lewis’s Silver Chair.
Jesus’ gift to us is not about measuring up. It’s about ‘being.’ It’s about being who we are: Sons and daughters of God. Jesus has drawn us into His life making us one with Himself, Holy Spirit and our Father.
THE WAY OF BEING
Righteousness is a function of life. Life itself is union with God. Life and its effect, Sonship is realised in union with God. Thus when people say the gospel is relationship they are partly right. It’s more than that. It’s incarnation and union. We become part of God in the way our kids are part of us – though the union is closer. We are interwoven with the trinity and the trinity is interwoven into our being.
DON’T MAKE YOUR OWN CLOTHES
Because Jesus is everything you would like to be in your relating to God, you can enjoy face to face companionship with God without shyness or guilt. Jesus knows who and what we are and never holds our relapses and feeble attempts at righteousness against us. To Jesus we are who we are in Him and not who we have become as a result of the realm of the Father of Lies.
We are now coming to the point of this post which is to release people from their routine of contract/transaction Jesus came to set us free from working to appear worthy by appeasing a ‘god’ whom we suspect might see us as a pain and a failure. Jeff Turner writes,
“Because of the knowledge of good and evil, the inherent goodness of Adam and Eve’s design now appeared evil to them, causing them to feel the need to improve upon it by adding to it their own accomplishments. This is birthplace of the ubiquitous religious impulse resident within all human beings, to sacrifice and work in order to please and satisfy their “gods”. Every system of religious appeasement finds its genesis here, in the polluted pool of human misunderstanding.” (1)
HIS LIFE IS YOUR LIFE
Jesus is our life. He is the stand-in for our life and He is the life of God woven into our being. Yet Believers can imagine themselves naked. Naked because they have adopted some ‘other gospel’ and naked because they have been seduced back into the assumptions of the fall. So they add something of their own – some rite, some observance some routine. But this always leaves us naked, ashamed and captured in a try harder routine. Have none of it. Jesus is your divine rest for human restlessness, the clothing of your being and the reason that you are a son/daughter of God in spirit and in truth.
(1) Turner, Jeff. Saints in the Arms of a Happy God: Recovering the Image of God and Man (pp. 20-21). Jeff Turner. Kindle Edition.