There are gospels that specialized in guilt and fear. Many model a try harder view of being a godly person. There are gospels that are pretty much centered about us and our destiny. Some emphasize obedience which, I must say, we have little capacity to give. Genuine obedience is found in living from the view that Christ is our life and that we have been given union with Father entirely on account of Jesus and His accomplishments. Here we live in His grace and His transformation. The genuine obedience, the obedience of the kind that produces the most fruit, is to agree with God that the bottom line is not our performance. It is Christ’s.
We have life and this life is in His Son.
If Christ is my life, and He is, then Christ’s relationship with Father is my relationship. A prophetic person told me once, ‘Father wants you to know that nothing you can ever do can separate you from His presence and love.’ We need to know that. It is the only way we can be Godly. Since hearing this message I have also seen it taught by several contemporary authors. I believe it is what He wants His people to know and rejoice in.
‘Be Holy because I am holy’ has been achieved for us. Our part is to believe and live in the reality He has created. I know of no scripture that asserts that we can live sinlessly this side of heaven. I do know that ‘If we say we have no sin, we lie.’ Father in His Son is both our grace and our life. We are graced primarily because we are loved. Transformation is the fruit of this love and of Christ in us. Of ourselves we have no power to be consistently holy – unless we redefine this downwards to suit our performance. I have seen that sins that caused me shame as a young person can suddenly reveal their presence in me unexpectedly when I am old. This is why we need to rejoice in Christ our life and not fret about performing our way into Godliness. There is an atmosphere of peace and grace about us when we live in Him, even if we do stumble.
‘Working out our salvation’ is not about adding something to Christ or subtracting from Him and retreating into law. It is a discipline. It means resolutely grasping the gift that is so generous and extravagant that it can offend our sense of religiosity. Our work is to believe in our Father and His Son whom He has sent to be our life.
‘Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.23 NIV.
We have been made the dwelling of God. Any improvement in our deportment by way of increased patience, love and purity comes about more because God is in us sharing Himself into our being than it does by reading scripture and attempting to apply these precepts by acts of the will. This is what Paul meant by Christ ‘being formed in us.’
We are not a project to Father. Wives who might ‘projectize’ their husbands or family diminish and alienate them. We are deeply loved daughters and sons. The holiness of God has more to do with His inclusionary nature than holding sinless perfection over our heads. It is His unlimited grace and unconditional love that secures us in His presence where we can ‘know Him as He is’ and become ‘changed.’ Yet the comfort that is our inheritance comes not from our changing but from His heart embrace of our person. We belong in His heart.
In Father we will be sons/daughters in spirit and in truth. In Him we acquire our real identity and are propelled into our true destiny to minister His Kingdom as the person we were designed to be. In the new creation, ministry flows from our person and being rather than from some role or designation. This is what life in the Spirit is: Christ manifest in the flesh in day to day living.
Shepherd Mbate writes, ‘The paramount factor which leads to repentance is not the possibility of being accepted or loved by God. Rather it is the knowledge of how much you are already loved . . . Repentance is all about realizing God’s mind about us and coming to agree with what the Father believes about us. This is the total opposite of remorse which is usually influenced by guilt-consciousness and fear. It does nothing to help a person live a life of their authentic design, rather it keeps them caged in the ‘I am not good enough lie.’
‘And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son’ 1 John 5.11 NIV.