WHO IS RECEIVING WHO
As some wit wisely observed, ‘In Christ all belong. But some have less belonging than others.’ Others have more, just like some have richer marriages than others, because they have put a lot of work into them. We do well to ferret out the fullness of our relationship in Christ, dig the treasure out of the field, eat the Bread of Life and drink the Living Wine.
The truth of this age is that Christ becomes us.
GET HIS REST
But this is not about hard work in religion. It’s resting and flourishing in the incarnation. Christ Himself is our life. He aims to manifest in our being; to express Himself as us. Nothing complex here and nothing that is religious. In many cases religion become a layer that insulates us from the naked presence of God. Let’s be clear. In Jesus we are one with the trinity.
THE MORE AND THE LESS
As the story of Mary and Martha shows we can love Jesus. But we can have more of Him or less of Him. Both ladies were in Jesus presence. One had more of Jesus’ presence than the other. This is not only a parable of life. It’s a picture of the kind of union one can have with Jesus.
MARRIAGE AND MARRIAGE
My mother and her first husband, Ted were soulmates. Ted died at the early age of 29 with cancer. Mum married again to an entirely different kind of person – a very good man. But they were not soul mates and much of their interaction showed it. Nevertheless they had a decent marriage even if segments of it were rocky and its overall story was less than what we might call ‘a paragon of oneness.’
It could be said that these marriages were a parable of the difference between a relationship with God and a religion that involves God. The essence of life is relationship. This is seen in the trinity, in marriage, in family and in church. It is being seen in these challenging times of Covid-19 a people express their inner togetherness.
With the trinity we see that God is community. In marriage we see that God replicates His community in marriage. So we are talking about that which is basic spirituality and fundamental humanity.
Saying that all real life with God is relationship does not negate accurate ideas about God. Sound doctrine (theology) equates to new covenant living, our interwoveness with the trinity and the anointing of Holy Spirit. In oneness with God we are infused with His nature which is itself the law of the spirit of life, as Paul calls it.
This is ours in fullness when Christ is adopted as our life – which is our response to the spirit of adoption to which we already belong. We have pressed into what already is - the truth of our RELATIONSHIP.
TRUTH IS RELATIONSHIP.
A relationship with religion is not a relationship with God any more than your relationship with your barbeque is a relationship with God. Let’s be clear. One can have a passion for Jesus and live in spiritual abundance and one can live in religion and live from spiritual scarcity.
But here’s the thing. Should we live in what is ours – by saying ‘Yes’ to union with God the elements of our communal life in God will be incarnated with His life. To live Christ our life is to ignite every externality of ours with the spirit and life of God.
The knowledge of good and evil is neither spiritual or the Kingdom of God. Arguably it is the substitution of religion for spirituality, where the latter is defined as an interwoveness with God. The flesh means nothing for the Kingdom. What counts is union with God which joins us to spirit and life.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV. This is the effect of oneness with Father. It’s ours simply by believing it and living it. It’s ‘Give us this day our daily bread’.
There are marriages that are rich with communion and that are marriages in name only. They are better described as two people in the one house, which because of the grating relationship is usually a house and never a home.
Such marriages are marriages in ‘the letter’. They don’t make it in the spirit. They may not be hostile. They just have never ‘known’ each other in a real manner and have never become ‘one flesh’ other than to have children together.
There is belonging in the body of Christ that is belonging in name only because it is a belonging of the letter. Like a marriage without substance it occupies a position but denies the reality. With Christ as our life we are of the Body in spirit and in truth.
CHRIST COME IN YOU
Significantly the difference between demonically vitiated religion and life in the Kingdom of God is ‘Christ come in our flesh.’ This passage is not really about spirits who peep and mutter. It’s about the spirit of religion versus the incarnation of Christ in us. There is nothing more relational than this. It is good theology as well as the gospel of Jesus, John and Paul.
PADDOCKS OF SONS
Father invites us to be the Bride of Christ. Married to one husband. This is the union that produces not tares but sons and daughters of God.
We need not be immoral, dissolute or reprobate to be fit the description of ‘tare.’ All we need to do is be wedded to our own christ and our cherished ‘other gospel.’ ‘As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse!’ Gal 1.9 NIV.
This is not a mean spell cast by God. It’s the effect of diluting and truncating the Gospel of Jesus and the apostles. The same effect as planning our tomatoes but never watering them.